In the health industry you’ll find various ads plastered all over the place, be it outside in malls and establishments, or at the internet. Some of these health ads tell you to eat this particular kind of food to boost your metabolism, which is often targeted for people that are aiming to lose weight.

What some people don’t know is that Metabolism and Thermic Effect on food are two different things. Some gym trainers or nutritionist wannabes overlook this fact and just directly advice you to munch on these or that food to give your metabolism its much-needed boost up.

Differentiating Metabolism and Thermic Effect on Food

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
  • Resting Metabolic Rate is the calories (or energies) your body burns when you are idle. Which means that these are the calories that are burned by your body while you’re asleep or just doing nothing throughout the day. RMR plays a vital role in your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) to help your metabolism to work as it should. Metabolism is the process of converting food into fuel for you to do basic day-to-day functions such as breathing, moving, and more complex ones such as exercising, running, etc.
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
  • On the other hand, the Thermic Effect of Food is the calories your body needs for it to be able to digest food by energy conversion. Whenever we eat, our bodies burn calories to digest whatever food comes inside our mouth. And for us to utilize the calories from the foods we eat, it needs to undergo a digestion process to absorb its nutrients.
  • Additionally, our bodies need to be at a stable temperature for it to produce heat, since different macronutrients in food also have different levels of thermic effect. For example, protein has the highest thermic effect of them all with a total of 15 to 25 percent of the calories that came from such. Carbs, on the other hand, has a lower number that ranges from 5 to 10 percent. And then we have fats which has a total of 5 percent only.

There’s No Such Thing as Special Foods that Causes Thermic Effect

People are often misled to believe that you can get a thermic effect by eating that particular food. When in reality, all foods have a thermic effect. Whatever food you eat, it will always create a thermic effect with no exceptions. Making the phrase ‘eat this *insert food here* to boost your metabolism’ a falsity that needs to be buried.


Therefore, metabolism and thermic effect are two different things that people need to know about. You cannot simple give your metabolism a random boost up by eating a pack of protein bars, assuming that it will help you conquer the day. So whenever you see products with a special label in it such as ‘gives your metabolism the boost it needs,’ know that these are just quick cash grabs in the form of a healthy snack.