The Complete Guide to Fat Oxidation

Burning fat is big business. One need only look at the gross revenue of the weight loss industry, which just so happens to be a $66 billion dollar a year industry [1,2], for proof that there’s of money to be made helping people lose unwanted body fat.

Over the decades, all sorts of pills, potions, and powders have been released with the single goal of helping the individual who struggles to maintain an ideal body composition. And, for a time, people do experience some success with their individual weight loss ventures – in the short, that is.

You see, as much money as the fat loss industry generates each year, it hasn’t translated to long-lasting results for the consumer. Roughly 70% of the United States population is overweight or obese, with the percentage of 12-17-year-olds who are overweight doubling since 1980.

Additionally, about 95% of people who are overweight or obese that do try a diet end up regaining the lost weight (and sometimes more) back within one year of their attempt at dieting.

Suffice it to say, that the current weight loss system isn’t very effective, regardless of how profitable it is.

And before you blame the industry, you need to realize that both sides are at fault. The consumer can’t stick to his or her diet, and the industry pushes diets that aren’t sustainable and supplements that are quasi-effective at best.

So, since the current system isn’t working particularly well, what can we do to improve fat loss for the consumer and help them drop the fat once and for all?

Educate them.

Like most things in life, the better you understand a subject, the more likely you are to be able to apply its principles and experience success.

So, with that in mind, let’s discuss the ins and outs of how your body burns fat.

Fat Burning = Fat Oxidation

First off, let’s get some terminology taken care of.

When discussing fat burning, what we’re actually talking about from a physiological standpoint is the oxidation of fat.

What does that mean?

As you probably know, fat cells (adipose tissue) are the primary storage site of body fat, and they are in a constant state of turnover, meaning that fat is continuously entering or exiting the cell-based of several factors including hormones, nutrition, and metabolism.[3] The net effect of these factors determines the number of fatty acids that are circulating in your bloodstream as well as how much body fat is stored.

Fat is stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides. These triglycerides are released into the bloodstream via the actions of the enzyme Hormone-Sensitive Lipase (HSL) [3,4] where they can then be burned (“oxidized”) for energy.

This process of stored fatty acids being released into the bloodstream to be used for energy production is known as lipolysis.

What Happens during Fat Oxidation?

Fat oxidation can essentially be broken down into three phases:

  • Lipolysis
  • Mobilization
  • Oxidation

Lipolysis = Releasing Stored Fat

Triglycerides are composed of a glycerol “backbone” and three fatty acids. In order for your body to burn the fatty acids, they must first be separated from the glycerol molecule. For this to happen, an enzyme called lipase cleaves the fatty acids from the glycerol via hydrolysis. [3,4]

Mobilization = Transporting Fat for Oxidation

The second phase of fat burning comes in the form of fatty acid mobilization.

After separation and release from the fat cell, the fatty acids then enter the bloodstream where they circulate bound to a protein called serum albumin.

Serum albumin acts as a “taxi” of sorts that helps shuttle the fatty acids to the target cell requiring energy. and enter muscles to be “burned.”

The reason fatty acids require the shuttling actions of albumin is due to the fact that blood is composed mostly of water. As you’ve seen first-hand if you’ve ever whipped up your own salad dressing, water and oil don’t mix together all that well. This is due to the fact that fat is not water-soluble, meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water. [5]

As such, albumin serves as the protein carrier that taxis fatty acids through the bloodstream to the muscle cell when they are needed. Each albumin protein can carry with it several fatty acids. [5]

Upon arrival at the target cell, we enter the final phase of the fat burning process…

Oxidation = Burning Fat for Fuel

As the fatty acids enter the cell, they are stored in the cytoplasm of the cell, which is the thick solution that fills the inner regions of the cell. But, we don’t want the fatty acids to remain in the cytoplasm.

In order for them to be converted into ATP (i.e. burned for energy), they must enter the mitochondria of the cell, which can be thought of as each individual cell’s mini-nuclear reactor that generates the energy required to power the cell.

Now, the actual process of converting the fatty acids to ATP is called beta-oxidation. It’s a multistep process that in and of itself requires a lengthy discussion and deep dive into biochemistry that would put most of you to sleep.

For the purposes of this article, just know that the beta-oxidation is the process by which your body obtains energy from fatty acids.

Fatty acids are shuttled from the cytoplasm into the mitochondria via the actions of a substance called carnitine, which many of you have probably seen in your favorite fat burning supplements, such as Steel Sweat.

Once converted into ATP, the energy can then be used by the cell to power it to perform whatever sort of activity you might be performing (weight lifting, cardio, walking, laying on the sofa, etc.)

But, what happens if there’s no immediate need?

In certain cases (i.e. starvation, fasting, etc.) high amounts of fatty acids are broken down and subsequently flood the mitochondria. Since there’s not a high demand for energy from the muscles, the fatty acids are converted into ketones, where they can then be used by the brain and muscles as a source of energy.

These ketone bodies are rich in energy and the preferred source of energy for people following low-carb, ketogenic, and zero carb diets.

How to Increase Fat Oxidation

Since most people entering the fitness space are wanting to lose fat, it would make sense to discuss what things we can do to enhance fat oxidation and accelerate fat loss.

Reduce Calories

One of these ways is by reducing caloric expenditure, i.e. creating a calorie deficit. When you reduce the number of calories you’re consuming, your body has to make up for the lack of energy (food) you’re ingesting to suffice its energy requirements from pulling from your fat stores.

This is why in order to lose fat, cutting calories is one of the main things you have to do. Weight loss ultimately boils down to energy balance in the body, i.e. calories in vs calories out. To create a negative energy balance, you can decrease the number of calories your intake, and increase the number of calories you “outtake”, which is accomplished through exercise.

Regulate Insulin Levels

Earlier in this article, we discussed the importance of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liberating of stored fatty acids from adipose tissue. There exists another hormone, which you’re probably very familiar with, that opposes the actions of hormone-sensitive lipase called insulin.

Insulin is the hormone in your body that is responsible for driving nutrients into your cells, including muscle and fat cells, which can then be used for energy production.

The main macronutrient that causes insulin levels to rise is carbohydrates and seeing that insulin effectively shuts off the fat burning process, maintaining low levels of insulin is essential to maximizing fat burning.

This is why so many ketogenic, low carb, no carb diets restrict carbohydrate intake. They’re trying to limit the amount of insulin that is released, so that you’re burning more and more fat, rather than glucose.

But, just because we’re trying to burn fat doesn’t mean that we have to avoid any and all carbohydrates.

You can still have your carbs and burn body fat, but it requires some proper nutritional selections on your part.

Simple sugars create larger insulin spikes in the body than complex carbohydrates or protein. If you’re trying to maximize fat burning, you want to opt for things like green vegetables, berries, avocados, as well as proteins, which create lower insulin spikes and promote fat burning.

But, let’s say that a few times per week you still want to have a sweet treat, and still lose fat.

Is there anything you can do?

YES!

And it comes in the form of…

Exercise

As we stated above, increasing your calories out is one of the ways you can tip energy balance in favor of fat loss. This, of course, is accomplished through exercise, and we can maximize fat burning by performing the right types of exercise.

Science has pretty clearly shown that during exercise, your muscles can use both dietary carbohydrate and fat operate as substrates used for energy. [7,8,9] However, there are a few factors that affect which macronutrient your body uses for energy. Factors affect substrate utilization include [10]:

  • Diet

    If you’re consuming a low carbohydrate diet and/or going into your workout fasted, you will burn fat for fuel.

  • Muscle glycogen content

    Your body has a finite amount of glycogen stored in the muscle. Once these stores are exhausted, the body will start pulling from your fat stores for energy.

  • Exercise intensity

    Low to moderate intensity forms of exercise primarily use fat as their source of energy. The higher you go with exercise intensity, the more you shift to burning glycogen and glucose.

    Research notes that maximal rates of fat oxidation are achieved when training at intensities of 59-64% of maximum oxygen consumption in trained individuals and between 47-52% of maximum oxygen consumption in the general population. [6]

  • Duration of training

    The longer you train, the more you deplete glycogen and once those stores are depleted, you will switch to burning fat for fuel.

  • Training status

    The more “fit” you are, the harder you can exercise before shifting from fat burning to glucose burning. Additionally, the more fit you are, the lower your resting insulin levels will be, thus allowing you to burn more fat outside of your eating windows.

Due to these factors, you can begin to understand why most fasted cardio sessions are performed at a relatively low intensity — it maximizes fat burning in the body.

Does that mean you should only perform steady-state cardio when trying to lose body fat?

No, not at all.

There’s something known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is science speak for the “afterburn” effect created by a high-intensity exercise where your body continues to burn calories even after your training session is over.

Steady-state cardio, while it burns more fat during the actual time you’re exercising compared to interval-based cardio, has virtually no effect on EPOC, which means that once you stop performing your steady-state cardio, the calorie burns stop.

This is why you’re still able to lose fat even without performing any steady-state cardio whatsoever. The oxygen deficit created by high-intensity forms of training such as weight lifting or interval training leads to greater overall calorie burning as your body works to restore homeostasis.

Your body uses oxygen to:

  • Regenerate ATP that was burned during the workout
  • Resynthesize of muscle glycogen depleted during training
  • Restore oxygen levels in the blood
  • Repair muscle tissue damaged during the workout
  • Restore core temperature to resting (homeostasis) levels

Each of these actions requires a certain amount of energy to be carried out, and if you’re in a caloric deficit, that energy comes from your fat stores.

This is why high-intensity interval training can aid fat loss even though you’re technically not using fat as a fuel during the actual workout.

The point of this is to say that both steady-state and high-intensity interval training can be used to lose body fat. The mechanisms by which they work are different, but the end result is the same. [11]

Takeaway

Fat burning is a billion-dollar industry, yet very few people actually understand the theory and science of what it takes to burn fat, and even fewer know how to apply it to daily life.

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on manageable ways to burn more fat in your daily routine, so that you can achieve the body you’ve always wanted.

And, if you need some help burning extra calories and shifting your body towards a greater fat burning environment, check out Steel Sweat.

Steel Sweat is the ideal pre-workout for fasted training. Not only does it include ingredients such as caffeine which help release fatty acids to be burned for energy it also includes several pro-fat burning compounds, such as L-Carnitine L-Tartrate and Paradoxine, which take those liberated fatty acids and burn them for energy.

Steel Sweat can help you burn fat like never before and achieve the results you’ve always wanted and more!

References

  1. https://www.marketresearch.com/Marketdata-Enterprises-Inc-v416/Weight-Loss-Diet-Control-10825677/
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-weight-loss-market-worth-66-billion-300573968.html
  3. Arner, P. (2005). Human fat cell lipolysis: biochemistry, regulation and clinical role. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 19(4), 471–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beem.2005.07.004
  4. Lass A, Zimmermann R, Oberer M, Zechner R. Lipolysis – A highly regulated multi-enzyme complex mediates the catabolism of cellular fat stores. Progress in Lipid Research. 2011;50(1-4):14-27. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2010.10.004.
  5. Holloway, G.P., Luiken, J.J.F.P., Glatz, J.F.C., Spriet, L.L., & Bonen, A. (2008). Contribution of FAT/CD36 to the regulation of skeletal muscle Fatty acid oxidation: an overview. Acta Physiologica, 192, 293-309.
  6. Achten, J., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2004). Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 20(7–8), 716–727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.005
  7. FRAWLEY K, GREENWALD G, ROGERS RR, PETRELLA JK, MARSHALL MR. Effects of Prior Fasting on Fat Oxidation during Resistance Exercise. International Journal of Exercise Science. 2018;11(2):827-833.
  8. Achten J, Gleeson M, Jeukendrup AE. Determination of the exercise intensity that elicits maximal fat oxidation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34(1):92–97.
  9. Achten J, Jeukendrup A. Maximal fat oxidation during exercise in trained men. Int J Sports Med. 2003;24(08):603–608.
  10. Venables, M. C., Achten, J., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2005). Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise in healthy men and women: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(1), 160–167. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00662.2003
  11. Zhang H, Tong TK, Qiu W, et al. Comparable Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Prolonged Continuous Exercise Training on Abdominal Visceral Fat Reduction in Obese Young Women. Journal of Diabetes Research. 2017;2017:5071740. doi:10.1155/2017/5071740.
  12. Foureaux, G., Pinto, K. M. de C., & Dmaso, A. (2006). Effects of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in energetic cost. Revista Brasileira de Medicina Do Esporte, 12(6), 393–398. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922006000600018

Paradoxine® – The Ultimate Stimulant Free Fat Loss Agent

Burning fat and losing unwanted weight usually involves two things — lots of exercising or eating an insanely restrictive, low-calorie diet. Neither of these sounds appealing to most people, which is part of the reason so many people struggle to lose weight in the first place.

There’s always the option of trying out a fat burner or two, but you run the risk of either wasting your money on a completely useless product, or having it make you feel anxious, jittery, and on edge due to the cocktail of stimulants commonly found in OTC weight loss supplements.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could burn some extra fat without having to take a bunch of potentially hazardous stimulants or spend hours and hours on the treadmill?!

Your prayers might have been answered with Paradoxine®, a patented, standardized extract of Grains of Paradise that provides body re-composition benefits, without impacting your cardiovascular system.

What is Grains of Paradise?

Native to West Africa, Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) is a spice belonging to the Zingiberaceae family of plants that are similar to ginger. The pods of the plant contain reddish-brown seeds that are ground to give the spicy, peppery spice commonly used in cooking today.

Grains of Paradise can be found other several other names, including:

  • Melegueta Pepper
  • Fom Wisa
  • Alligator Pepper
  • Guinea Grains
  • Ossame

Within the seeds of Grains of Paradise, researchers have identified several compounds inside the seeds of the pungent spice that impart a powerful flavor and aroma to foods, but they’re also responsible for the fat-fighting abilities of the spice. Those compounds in particular are:

  • 6-paradol
  • 6-gingerdione
  • 6-gingerol
  • 6-shogaol

There’s a slew of other components present in the seed, but the two you really should be concerned with are 6-paradol and 6-gingerol. Interestingly enough, 6-gingerol is also found in ginger.

How does it work?

To understand how Paradoxine works in the body requires a discussion of the different types of adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat) in your body. There are two types of fat in the body:

  • Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT)
  • White Adipose Tissue (WAT)

White Fat is your body’s energy storage cells. Whatever extra calories aren’t immediately needed by the body are stored as “white” fat and are used when food intake is reduced. [1] White fat cells are large, round cells comprised of one big lipid droplet with a thin rim containing the nucleus and cytoplasm

Brown Fat, on the other hand, is the fat used for diet and cold-induced thermogenesis, maintaining your body’s normal temperature when exposed to cold. [1] The technical term for this is “non-shivering thermogenesis.” Brown fat cells aren’t only different in function than white fat cells, they’re structure is also different. Brown fat cells are comprised of smaller diameter cells, containing several smaller fat droplets compared to the one massive droplet that’s found in white fat.

The magic of Paradoxine® lies in its ability to brown your fat. That is, it transforms your white fat cells into brown fat cells, increasing energy expenditure and boosting weight loss. An added benefit to brown fat is that it can use blood sugar (glucose) and fats, leading to improved lipid levels and glucose metabolism, independent of weight loss! [8]

Paradoxine® Benefits

There have been quite a few purported stimulant-free fat burning supplements over the years, but when you dig down into the research, you see that they’re not actually all they’re cracked up to be.

That’s not the case with Paradoxine®. It actually has human trials demonstrating its effectiveness.

Increased Energy Expenditure

A 2013 study involving 19 healthy men, age 20-32, gave them either placebo or 40mg per day of Grains of Paradise extract. During the course of the four-week trial, researchers then placed the men in an air-conditioned room at 19°C (66.2°F) for two hours only wearing “light clothing” (a T-shirt with underwear). As if that wasn’t enough, they also had the men place their feet onto an ice block wrapped in cloth on and off (4 minutes on, 5 minutes off).

Following this two-hour cold fest, subjects underwent testing which included having their whole-body energy expenditure measured following a 6-12 hour fasting period. Researchers observed that the men consuming Grains of Paradise extract had a significantly greater increase in energy expenditure, seemingly due to the increased brown fat activity, than the group not receiving placebo. [2]

Increased Fat Loss

The other notable human trial on Paradoxine® involved women and measuredthe effects of the extracts on energy expenditure as well as body fat. 19 non-obese women (ages 20-22) were divided into two groups. The treatment group received one 10mg capsule of Grains of Paradise extract 30 minutes prior to each of their three daily meals, for a total of 30mg Grains of Paradise Extract per day. While the other group received a placebo.

At the end of the four-week trial, women again had their body fat and energy expenditure measured, and again the group receiving the Grains of Paradise extract has significantly greater results. Women receiving the extract experienced reduced visceral fat in the lower abdomen and greater energy expenditure while the placebo group saw a modest increase in visceral fat in the same area. [3]

The important thing to note here is that these results were obtained without any extra diet or exercise modifications!

Additional Benefits

Several animal studies have also been carried out using Grains of Paradise extracts and noted it lowered blood pressure, improved lipid profiles, and reduced chemical-induced liver damage (hepatotoxicity). [6,7]

Why Paradoxine®?

You’re probably wondering why we’re suggesting you use Paradoxine® as the preferred choice for a Grains of Paradise extract. The reason, is that it’s the only Grains of Paradise extract backed by any actual human research. It’s standardized to 15% Aframols® & 12.5% 6-paradol, the same grade of extract used in the human trials, and it’s backed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) tests.

Who is Paradoxine® for?

Paradoxine® is ideal for anyone looking for improved body composition and enhanced fat loss from their supplements. It’s perfect to use in a thermogenic pre-workout, or as part of a more comprehensive fat burning formula. Paradoxine® is especially ideal for those stim-sensitive individuals who still want to get some extra fat burning, but don’t want the stims contained in most fat burners on the market.

Paradoxine® Dosage

Typically, Paradoxine® is dosed anywhere from 25-50mg per day, and with the “sweet spot” being in the 40-50mg range. This is where you’ll start to notice the enhanced thermogenic effect of the supplements, in the form of feeling significantly warmer than usual. And expect to be sweating buckets during your workout if your pre-workout contains a sizeable dose of this potent thermogenic. SteelFit® uses 40mg/serving of Paradoxine® in its stimulant free fat burner Steel Core® and 50mg/serving in its cardio enhancing pre-workout Steel Sweat™.

References

  1. Rosenwald M, Wolfrum C; “The origin and definition of brite versus white and classical brown adipocytes”; Adipocyte; 2014;3(1):4-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917931/
  2. Sugita, J., Yoneshiro, T., et al; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men”; British Journal of Nutrition; (2013) 110(4), pp. 733–738; https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/grains-of-paradise-aframomum-melegueta-extract-activates-brown-adipose-tissue-and-increases-whole-body-energy-expenditure-in-men/517F8F0D73864C919E42D502537BA01D/core-reader
  3. Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, et al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans”; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014, 60(1): 22-27; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/60/1/60_22/_pdf
  4. Momoe Iwami, Fatma A. Mahmoud, et al; “Extract of grains of paradise and its active principle 6-paradol trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue in rats”; Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical; 161 (2011); 63–67; https://www.docdroid.net/Iog80CU/momoe-iwami-paradise-study.pdf.html
  5. Ilic N, Schmidt BM, Poulev A, Raskin I; “Toxicological evaluation of Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) [Roscoe] K. Schum”; Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2010;127(2); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3815460/
  6. Adefegha, Stephen A. et al; “Alligator pepper/Grain of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) modulates Angiotensin-I converting enzyme activity, lipid profile and oxidative imbalances in a rat model of hypercholesterolemia”; Pathophysiology; Volume 23, Issue 3, 191 – 202; http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(16)30026-8/fulltext
  7. Semwal R, Semwal D, Combrinck S, Viljoen A; “Gingerols and shogaols: Important nutraceutical principles from ginger”; Phytochemistry; https://www.docdroid.net/TZ53eaP/gingerols-and-shogaols-important-nutraceutical-principles-from-ginger.pdf.html
  8. Kim SH, Plutzky J; “Brown Fat and Browning for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders”; Diabetes & Metabolism Journal. 2016;40(1):12-21; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768046/
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Food and Drug Administration; “Guidance for Industry: Estimating the Maximum Safe Starting Dose in Initial Clinical Trials for Therapeutics in Adult Healthy Volunteers”; July 2005; http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm078932.pdf
  10. Wikipedia contributors; “List of Good Eats episodes.”; Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; July 21 2016; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Good_Eats_episodes#cite_note-33
  11. Saito, A; “Acute oral toxicity of capsaicin in mice and rats.”; The Journal of Toxicological Sciences; 1996 Aug; 21(3):195-200; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8887888

The Complete Guide to Thermogenesis

When it comes to weight loss supplements and fat burners, the words “thermogenesis” and “thermogenic” are used extremely frequently. Based on the way these two words are splashed across advertisements, you’re led to believe it’s a good thing to boost, increase, or enhance.

But have you ever wondered what thermogenesis means, or why you would want to increase it?

That’s what this guide is for.

We’re here to explain all the ins and outs of thermogenesis and why you want your fat burner to increase it, especially if you want to drop the fat fast.

What is Thermogenesis?

Thermogenesis is the metabolic process by which organisms burn calories in order to generate heat.

A simpler way to say that is thermogenesis is the body’s way of producing heat. It does this by “burning” calories.

Thermogenics are ingredients or supplements that help increase the production of heat in the body, and as a result, increase the number of calories you expend. This translates to greater calorie burn throughout the day, which in theory, should help you lose weight faster.

There are a number of ingredients commonly touted as thermogenics, which we’ll get to a little later in this article, but first, let’s take a moment to review the different types of thermogenesis that occur in the body.

Types of Thermogenesis

On the surface, thermogenesis seems fairly straightforward — it’s how your body produces heat. But, as it turns out, there’s not just one type of thermogenesis. Science has broken it down into three (or four, depending on the classification scheme) types.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a second to review each of the different forms and discuss what separates them from one another.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) consists of the calories your body burns to carry out essential functions for survival. This includes such things as circulating blood throughout the body, breathing, etc.

Essentially, BMR accounts for the energy to perform vital body processes while you’re at rest. It’s the number of calories your body burns if you did nothing but lay in bed all day long.

Basal metabolic rate is the largest contributor to energy expenditure during the day, [1] accounting for 60-75% of total calories burned.

Diet-Induced Thermogenesis

The second type of thermogenesis is diet-induced thermogenesis. Scientists have defined diet-induced thermogenesis as:

“the increase in energy expenditure above basal fasting level divided by the energy content of the food ingested and is commonly expressed as a percentage” [2]

A simpler explanation of diet-induced thermogenesis would be — the number of calories you burn eating, digesting, absorbing, and transporting nutrients from the food you ate.

Now, here’s where things get interesting with diet-induced thermogenesis. Each macronutrient has a different thermic effect of food, meaning that your body burns different amounts of calories depending on what type of food you’re eating.

So, let’s take a look at that now:

  • Protein – The most metabolically demanding macronutrient for your body to digest and absorb. [3] Its thermic effect of food is about 20-35%, which means that if you eat a piece of protein that contains 100 calories, depending on what type of protein it is, your body will burn 20-35 calories simply trying to break down that food.
  • Carbohydrate – After protein, carbohydrate is the next most metabolically demanding macronutrient to digest and absorb. Its thermic effect of food is 5-10% of calories consumed. [4]
  • Fat – The least calorie-intensive macronutrient to digest and absorb is fat. It has a thermic effect of food of about 5%.

In total, the thermic effect of food, or diet-induced thermogenesis, accounts for about 10% of your total daily energy expenditure.

Now, most of you reading this don’t eat one single type of macronutrient at a time. Even a whey protein shake, which is mostly protein, still has trace amounts of carbohydrates and fat. So, how do you figure out the diet-induced thermogenesis of a mixed meal?

Let’s use whey protein as an example:

Let’s say your scoop of whey protein contains 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat.

How do you figure out the thermic effect of food with this?

Simple!

Just use the percentages we listed above for each of the macronutrients, and you’ll have an estimate of how many calories your body expends digesting your whey protein shake.

So, it would look something like this:

  • Protein = 25 grams * 4 calories/gram = 100 calories
  • Carbohydrate = 3 grams * 4 calories/gram = 12 calories
  • Fat = 2 grams * 9 calories/gram = 18 calories

This gives us a total of 130 calories from our scoop of protein.

To figure out how many calories you’re actually getting from this whey protein shake, we’ll apply the percentages we listed above:

  • Protein = 25% * 100 calories = 25 calories burned
  • Carbohydrate = 10% * 12 calories = 1.2 calories burned
  • Fat = 5% * 18 calories = 0.9 calories burned

Thermic effect of food = 25 + 1.2 + 0.9 = 27.1 calories burned

Net calorie yield from whey protein shake = 130 – 27.1 = 102.9 calories

As you can see, due to the thermic effect of food, that 130 calorie protein shake may only deliver 102.9 calories of actual energy.

Based on this simple example, you can see how your food selections can have a significant impact on energy balance (calories in vs calories out). Diets with a higher proportion of protein will inherently require more energy to digest than diets with lower proportions of protein. This is why many coaches and trainers advocate high protein diets, especially during times of weight loss.

Not only do high protein diets lead to a greater calorie burn, protein also is more satiating than either carbohydrates or fats. Eating more protein can help you feel fuller for longer, which is a very good thing if you’re dieting and reducing overall calorie intake each day.

Now, let’s discuss the final factor impacting thermogenesis.

Energy Cost of Physical Activity

The final form of thermogenesis comes from your daily activity. Exercise scientists have further divided this category into two “subcategories”, which is why we said there were four types of thermogenesis at the top.

Those two subcategories are:

  • Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, as you probably guessed, is the calories your body expends during any type of exercise you perform. This includes weight lifting, steady-state cardio (walking or jogging), high-intensity interval training, CrossFit, etc. Basically, any type of structured physical activity that’s more intense than just walking from point A to point B falls under this subcategory.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis describes the number of calories you expend in all other physical activity that isn’t specifically “exercise”. This includes standing, walking from room to room, tapping your finger or foot, fidgeting, etc. This number is highly variable depending on how much you move around during the day. For example, someone who works a physically demanding, manual labor job will burn far more calories during the day than a sedentary office worker who spends 8 hours each day sitting at a desk.

Combining both exercise activity thermogenesis and non-exercise activity thermogenesis gives us our total energy cost of physical activity each day. This number can vary between 15-30% of your total daily energy expenditure [5], depending on how active you are on a given day.

This constitutes all the major contributors to daily thermogenesis. Add each of these three major categories up, and you have your total daily energy expenditure.

Now, let’s look at a few outside factors that could potentially increase thermogenesis.

Thermal Stress

Thermal stress refers to the impact the temperature of the environment has on your body temperature. You see, while we can survive in any number of climates, your core temperature has a very limited range that is considered safe. Go any higher or lower than this range, and things start going very bad, very quickly for you.

The body can only tolerate a drop-in body temperature of approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and a rise in temperature of 5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the average temperature of a person is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, this gives you a “safe range” of about 88.6-103.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that this is the range your body can survive. It’s certainly not optimal to be at the extremes of this range though.

So, what happens if you do start to drift too far away from the typical 98.6-degree core temperature?

Fortunately for you, the hypothalamus has that handled.

When it gets too hot and your core temperature starts to rise, your body will use one of four processes to cool you off:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation
  • Evaporation

Heat leaves the body via evaporation when you sweat and respirate (breathe). Additionally, your body will also move warm blood to superficial blood vessels (ones closer to the skin). Note that this can lead to a reddish or flushed appearance.

When it’s too cold outside (blizzard in the middle of winter), your body tries to keep warm. It does this by pulling blood away from your hands, feet, face, and directing it towards your core, which keeps your better insulated.

Your body can also increase thermogenesis by shivering, which keeps you warm and significantly boosts metabolism!

In both of these scenarios, your daily thermogenesis (and total daily energy expenditure) is ramped up considerably.

Now, a lot of people will take this thermal stress effect and attempt to train in very hot or very cold environments. While it may seem like a good idea to train in adverse climates, in the effort to create an even greater calorie burn, the truth is, it wouldn’t be all that effective.

You see, when you train in extreme climate conditions, your performance suffers substantially, so while your body might be burning more calories trying to maintain its temperature, your actually not having as effective of a workout as you would be if you were training in a more “normal” training environment.

We’ve just about covered everything that can impact thermogenesis on a day in, day out basis, except supplements.

As we stated at the beginning thermogenic supplements make up a huge portion of the weight loss supplement market, but…

Can Supplements Actually Increase Thermogenesis?

YOU BET they do!

Sports nutrition scientists have discovered several supplements that do increase thermogenesis, and research confirms as much. These thermogenic supplements increase energy expenditure, helping you burn more calories each day (even while you rest!) and lose fat faster.

Let’s take a look at some of the best thermogenic supplements on the market.

Best Thermogenic Supplements

Paradoxine®

Paradoxine® is a patented extract of Grains of Paradise, a pungent West African spice that belongs to the ginger family. Paradoxine® stimulates the brown fat on your body, increasing thermogenesis and energy expenditure that help support weight loss. [6,7]

Ginger Root

Commonly seen in Asian cooking, ginger is another pungent spice loaded with metabolism-boosting compounds. These compounds are called gingerols, with 6-gingerol being the one most well known as a “thermogenic”.

6-gingerol activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ), which increases thermogenesis by “browning” white fat, similar to how Paradoxine works. [8,9,10] This leads to greater calorie burn during the day, and ultimately faster fat loss.

CapsiAtra®

One of the newest thermogenics to burst onto the scene is CapsiAtra®, a patented extract of sweet peppers standardized for dihydrocapsiate, a close relative of capsaicin. As you might know, capsaicin is the pungent alkaloid naturally present in chile peppers that gives them the tongue-numbing bite.

The difference between CapsiAtra® and capsaicin is that CapsiAtra® doesn’t come with the unpleasant GI upset and off-putting “burning” sensation that capsaicin does.

As far as effectiveness, human studies using the novel thermogenic supplement note it can help you burn an extra 50 calories per day via increasing fat oxidation and energy expenditure. [11]

Evodiamine

Extracted from Evodiae Fructus, a member of the Tetradium genus of plants, Evodiamine is another potent that is similar to capsaicin. As such, evodiamine is itself a strong thermogenic, and on top of that, it’s also been shown to inhibit fat uptake. [12,13]

This means that not only can evodiamine help you burn more calories during the day, but it may also help prevent you from absorbing some of the fat calories from your meals too!

Now, you could try to source all of these ingredients yourself and formulate your own potent thermogenic fat burning supplement, but that tends to involve a lot of time, effort, and expense.

We’ve already done the research and development for you and created the perfect thermogenic for your fat loss needs in Steel Sweat!

Steel Sweat — The Ultimate Thermogenic Supplement

If you’re looking to enhance thermogenesis, increase calorie burn, and accelerate fat loss, there’s no better place to look than Steel Sweat.

Steel Sweat™ contains a powerful matrix of proven thermogenic agents including Paradoxine®, Ginger root, Evodiamine, and CapsiAtra®, along with several other performance-enhancing, fat-melting ingredients such as caffeine and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.

Each serving of Steel Sweat™ will help boost performance during your cardio sessions, spiking your metabolism and burning calories like never before. Steel Sweat also works well as a lower stim fat-burning pre-workout on your resistance training days as well. The lipolytic agents present in Steel Sweat help burn fat for fuel, thereby sparing your glycogen stores for the really intense lifts during your workout.

Steel Sweat™ is ideal for any training scenario and can help you lose fat faste, while achieving your performance goals. Just be ready for the heat wave that ensues. No other supplement creates the burn

References

  1. Sabounchi NS, Rahmandad H, Ammerman A. Best Fitting Prediction Equations for Basal Metabolic Rate: Informing Obesity Interventions in Diverse Populations. International journal of obesity (2005). 2013;37(10):1364-1370. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.218.
  2. Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2004;1:5. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-5.
  3. Halton, T., Hu, F. 2004. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23(5): 373-85
  4. Nair, K., Halliday, D., Garrow, J. 1982. Thermic response to isoenergetic protein, carbohydrate or fat meals in lean and obese subjects. Clinical Science 65: 307-312
  5. Berardi, J., Andrews, R. 2013. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition 2nd ed. Precision Nutrition, Inc. pp 101-102
  6. Sugita, J., Yoneshiro, T., et al; “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men”; British Journal of Nutrition; (2013) 110(4), pp. 733–738;
  7. Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, et al; “Daily ingestion of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract increases whole-body energy expenditure and decreases visceral fat in humans”; Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology; 2014, 60(1): 22-27;
  8. Wang, S., Zhang, C., Yang, G., & Yang, Y. (2014). Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review. Natural Product Communications, 9(7), 1027–1030.
  9. Misawa, K., Hashizume, K., Yamamoto, M., Minegishi, Y., Hase, T., & Shimotoyodome, A. (2015). Ginger extract prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice via activation of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta pathway. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26(10), 1058–1067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.04.014
  10. Saravanan, G., Ponmurugan, P., Deepa, M. A., & Senthilkumar, B. (2014). Anti-obesity action of gingerol: effect on lipid profile, insulin, leptin, amylase and lipase in male obese rats induced by a high-fat diet. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 94(14), 2972–2977. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.6642
  11. Galgani JE, Ravussin E. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;92(5):1089-1093. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.30036.
  12. Wang T, et al. Evodiamine improves diet-induced obesity in a uncoupling protein-1-independent manner: involvement of antiadipogenic mechanism and extracellularly regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Endocrinology. (2008)
  13. Zhang LL, et al. Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 channel prevents adipogenesis and obesity. Circ Res. (2007)

How to Kick-Start Your Diet and Workout Plan After a Holiday

It’s inevitable – It happens every year, to everyone; and no, we’re not talking about taxes.

You’re exercising regularly, adhering to your diet, and steadily losing weight. Then the holidays come, and everything goes off the rails. You told yourself you’d only have “a bite” of dessert, and next thing you know, you’re three cookies and a piece of cake deep. The feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse consume you, and you’re ultimately left feeling angry, frustrated, and downtrodden.

But, here’s the truth — EVERYONE BINGES!

It’s human nature. We love to celebrate the joyous occasions in life with family, friends, and food. It’s ingrained in our beings since the days of the cavemen (and women). The simple truth of the matter is that binges will occur from time to time.

Does that mean the previous weeks, months, and years of dieting are all for naught?

NO WAY!

Not even close.

A minor blip here and there on your diet and exercise plan is nothing to worry about, it’s only concerning if that minor slip up turns into multiple days of binging on calorie-laden foods while completely brushing aside exercise. That’s when it’s time to have a reality check and get back on track with your diet and fitness goals!

If you’ve fallen off track recently, fear not. We’ve got the steps you need to take to get back on track and kick-start your diet and workout plan after the holiday hits!

Your 5-Step Guide to Getting Back on Track

1. Forgive Yourself

With binging comes inevitable guilt, shame, and disgust with yourself. Far too often, people are consumed by this overwhelming sense of grief, leaving them feeling helpless and hopeless. But you don’t have to feel this way…at least not for too long.

Yes, you screwed up and botched your diet. But you know what?!

THAT’S OK!

Accept your mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Most importantly, FORGIVE yourself. Everyone is human and bound to mess up from time to time. We’re not perfect, though we always strive for it.

The path to getting back on track begins with acceptance and forgiveness. Once you can accept the fact you messed up and forgiven yourself for it, use that mistake to catapult you into action and get going again with your diet and exercise plan!

2. Plan Out Your Diet

So, you crushed a large pepperoni pizza and a few chicken wings…and a cinnamon roll. What are you to do now? Well, after you get past the carb coma, it’s time to get back to your diet.

Sit down with a pad and pen (or smartphone) and write down exactly what you’re going to do to get your diet back on track. Calculate your macros, plan your meals for the week, make a grocery list, and then head to the store to buy the food you need for those daily meals.

By having healthy options around the house, you’ll force yourself to select those foods instead of being tempted to order takeout and hit the drive-thru. Focus on nutrient dense foods that are high in fiber. This helps fill you up without filling your waistline out. Ideal options are fruits, non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Most important of all when coming off a binge, DO NOT go on some ridiculous crash diet that has you only eating grapefruits or cabbage soup three times per day. Crash dieting does nothing other than leave you feeling hungry and on the path to another binge.

3. Start Exercising

This might seem too simple to actually work, but the way to get back on track with your diet and exercise plan is to actually DO IT!

Not a week from now, not even three days from now. The very next day after your binge, you’re back in the gym slinging the iron, sprinting on the bike, and sipping your post workout shake.

This tip is non-negotiable. If you’re truly serious about recommitting to your health and fitness goals, it’s paramount that you get back in the gym and start exercising ASAP. Doing so will help burn off the goo from your binge and clear your mind of all the guilt from falling off track.

4. Pace Yourself

When coming off a binge and getting back into the swing of things, you might be tempted to go full throttle with your workout. But remember to pace yourself, especially if your binge wasn’t just one day. You’ll certainly be tempted to go all out during your workouts those first few times getting back into the groove, but that sets you up for some major soreness, which inevitably leads you to skip the next day’s work out.

Getting back on track with exercise is about taking it slowly at first. If it’s been a particularly long layoff from training, start off by maybe going 50% of your max capacity, just until you get used to regular training again. Then after a couple of days, you can ramp up the intensity and start working your way back to maxing out regularly when hitting the gym.

5. Have a Plan for Next Time

Though we’d all aspire to never binge again, it’s going to happen. It might not happen for a while, but it will most certainly happen to you (and more than once) down the road. The best way to prepare for the eventual binge is to have a plan of action.

If you know that you’re going to be with family and friends for a holiday get together, make a plan to allow yourself to indulge a bit (i.e. one dessert). But also make sure that you still exercise that day, ideally before going to the party, so that way your workout is taken care of and you’re doing a bit of damage control.

Also, if you know that you’re going to be eating where there’s not a ton of healthy options, offer to bring a side dish of veggies or save most of your calories for the day for that special occasion. Both of these helps prevent you from completely blowing your diet, thereby lessening the feelings of guilt you typically have post-binge.

Down but NEVER Out!

Remember, fitness is a lifelong journey, it’s not a quick road trip. The “trick” to getting healthier and losing weight is to do more of the “right” things a majority of the time. Those “right things” include adhering to your diet and exercising regularly. Slip-ups and indulgences are OK every now and then, so long as they are not making up the majority of your diet.

Pace yourself, stay the course, and you’ll get the body you’ve always wanted! If you have experienced a Holiday Binge, or plan on one (the 4th of July is tomorrow!), SteelFit® has products to help you get back on track!