Fat-burning Smoothie

smouthieMaximising intake of thermogenic foods while on a weight loss program can have as much if not more impact than calorie counting.

Disadvantages of calorie counting

Counting calories does result in weight loss if the calories eaten are less than the calories used to keep the body alive and doing all the activities you want it to do. However, calorie counting becomes less effective over time because of the way our bodies have evolved.

We have evolved through long ages of feast and famine. Our distant ancestors faced periods when constantly changing weather conditions meant food could be short, because hunting was bad and edible plants were sparse. Gradually, as supplies grew low, they were forced to eat less and less, going down to the bare minimum to keep alive. These famines were followed by periods when everything was plentiful and once supplies had been built up again, people could eat to their heart’s content for a short time at least.

So our bodies learned to adapt to make the best of bad situations. When we cut the calories eaten, our bodies shift into ‘starvation mode’. Basically, this means that metabolism slows and the body becomes super-efficient at getting the most out of whatever we do eat. So despite depriving ourselves, the rate of weight loss becomes slower and slower.

Thermogenic foods

The concept of metabolic cooking using thermogenic foods is a completely different approach. Instead of calorie counting and large-scale deprivation, the focus is on combining food in ways to boost the rate of metabolism and so increase fat burning.

Protein is a marvellous thermogenic food, when eaten with only minimal carbohydrate. Normally, the body uses the protein we eat as a source of the building blocks (amino acids) to make its own proteins, and uses carbohydrates for energy. This is because it takes less energy to break down carbohydrates than protein. When it needs to use proteins for energy, about 20% of the energy it obtains from the calories in protein have already been used to break down the protein. This means that for every 100 calories protein consumed, the body only gets 80 calories.

To cope with processing lots of protein, the body turns up its metabolic rate, which means that energy continues to be burned at a higher level, thus helping weight loss.

The other feature of a high protein diet is that the body is more likely to turn to its own fat stores for energy, because it costs less in energy to break down fat than protein, which is a further plus for weight loss.

Metabolic cooking using thermogenic foods makes use of the fat-burning powers of proteins, but also uses other foods that have thermogenic properties.

Coffee, like some other substances, acts to speed up the metabolism as well as making you feel more alert and energetic and thus more likely to do physical exercise, which will burn more fat and keep metabolism ticking over at a higher rate.

Cinnamon has been shown to help weight loss, possibly due to the fact it decreases insulin resistance.

A further way to keep the metabolic fires stoked up is to eat small meals frequently. Smoothies with carefully selected ingredients are an excellent and delicious way to do this.

Thermoccino Smoothie

This fat-burning smoothie is a great example of the delicious ways in which foods can be combined using recipes for metabolic cooking. It uses the ingredients mentioned above and is an ideal snack for a thermogenic diet. Each serving contains about 170 calories, but packs in a whopping 35 grams of protein, with only 3 grams carbohydrate and 1 gram fat.

Making it couldn’t be simpler. For one serving, simply blend together:

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, ideally one containing mixed proteins (and no sugar!)

1 shot of espresso coffee (or make up a small quantity of strong instant coffee if espresso is not possible)

Quarter-cup Greek yoghurt.

5 ice cubes

Pinch of stevia (not available in all countries, so you may have to resort to artificial sweetener although this is not such a good solution)

Pinch of cinnamon.

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