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What Affects My Daily Caloric Expenditure?

Let’s talk about Total daily Energy expenditure. The amount of energy (Kcal) you burn in a day is known that your Total Energy Expenditure and it is made up of 3 main parts:

*Resting Energy Expenditure
How much energy your resting body uses to run it’s daily functions and to survive

*Dietary Induced Thermogenesis (thermic effect of food)
This is the energy used by the body to process, digest and absorb the food you eat- all of physiological functions produce heat, which is known as the thermic effect of food.

*Physical Activity (Activity Thermogenesis)
The energy (Kcal) burnt while you exercise. This too is presented as the heat you produce during physical activity.

Total Energy Expenditure = Resting Energy Expenditure + Dietary Induced Thermogenesis + Physical Activity (activity thermogenesis)

Each of these factors respectively make up the amount of energy (calories) burnt in a day, with each of them contributing a different amount.

*Resting Energy Expenditure contributes 60-75% to your total daily calorie expenditure
*Physical Activity (the heat produced by your body furing exercise) contributes 30% to your total daily caloric expenditure.
*Dietary Induced Thermogenesis (the heat produced by your body during the ingestion and digestion of your food) contributes 10% tp your total daily caloric expenditure.

While there are many factors that affect the amount of calories we burn in a day some we can control and change, and others which we can’t- such as genetics.

Resting Energy Expenditure

Your resting energy expenditure (REE) is the amount of energy your body uses to run its daily functions. This can make up about 60%-70% of your total daily energy expenditure.

REE is affected by:

  • Genetics
  • Age: the younger you are the higher your REE
  • Body composition: the higher your fat free mass (muscle mass) the higher the REE. In other words-don’t be afraid of heavy weight training to build up your muscle mass.
  • Hormones: your hormonal profile has a large impact on your REE. A good example would be your thyroid hormone. Those suffering from an underactive thyroid will a lower REE.  Pregnant and pre-menstrual women usually have a higher REE.
  • Gender: Sorry ladies, but men naturally have a higher REE as usually their fat mass is lower than ours.

Dietary Factors that affect your resting energy expenditure:

  • Caffeine: Increases your REE. It is important to remember that not everyone breaks down caffeine well AND you don’t need to overload your system either.
  • Severe calorie restriction: Listen up all you ravenous bunnies, ‘starvation’ decreases your resting energy expenditure. What does this mean? Severe calorie restriction does not always result in your body ‘body burning’ more calories.


Total Energy Expenditure and Exercise

Physical activity, and the amount of heat that is produced by the body during exercise, can contribute up to 30% of your total energy expenditure- this makes it one of the factors that the most likely to vary

There are many things that affect the amount of calories burnt (heat produced) during exercise:

  1. Your body composition
  2. Your genes (Yes. Sadly, you could have genes that make it more difficulty for you to expend energy during exercise)
  3. Gender (once again males win with this one)
  4. Age
  5. The type if exercise you do

The good thing is, you can play a role in ensuring you try to maximize the ‘physical activity’ portion of your total daily calorie expenditure.

One great tip when it comes to increasing the thermic effect of physical acitivyt is to exercise in heat. Research shows, that exercising in temperatures higher than 30C increases your caloric expenditure – bikrim yoga anyone?


The thermic effect of food

One of the factors that affects your total daily energy expenditure (calorie usage) is the heat produced by you during ingestion and digestion of food.

So how does the food we eat and digest affect the amount of calories we burn in a day?

Let’s not forget all the processes involved in chewing, digesting and absorbing the food we eat. All of these processes produce heat (energy). This can make up to 10% of our total energy expenditure

So, here are some  interesting facts about the food you eat and how it changes the thermic effect of food:

1 Protein > Starch > Fats
The amount of heat produced by the body when eating is influenced mostly by the macronutrient protein. Research shows that protein will increase the thermic effect of food (metabolic rate), as appose to a high carbohydrate meal.

2 Add spices to your food.
Spices can increase the thermic effect of food by up to 1/3 for approximately 3 hours after a meal- chilis anyone.

3 Meal combinations are an important factor.
A meal that combines all 3 food groups of protein, fat and carbs can increase your basal energy expenditure – just another reason to always have a balanced meal.

In summary, some variables that affect our total daily energy expenditure are sadly out of our control. However, there are many other factors which we can control such as changing our body compisition to one with a higher muscle mass (weight training) and choosing  our dialy macronutrient intake carefully.

Every bit of movement that you do, and well-thought out dietary decisions that you make, can optimize yout total energy exependiture.

Nourish yourself to the sunrise.

Written with love ,
Sunrise by HM

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