Are protein calories lower than we think?


Adrien Materne

Let's speak about the thermal effect of food.

Are protein calories lower than we think?

As you know, proteins are important for the body, they help in muscle production, DNA replication, metabolic reactions, transport of molecules, etc.

Generally speaking, protein produces 4 kcal per gram*. If we take the example of our“DAILY LIFE Gonuts “,we can see that A croissant contains 181 kcal and 5.5g of protein. Of these 181 kcal, +/- 22 kcal (5.5 X 4) come from protein.

So, if I eat the 5.5g of protein (+/- 22 kcal) that this croissant contains, will I directly absorb the 22 kcal?

Not really, it's called “the thermal effect of food**”. Our body uses energy to metabolize what we eat.

For protein, no matter how much we consume, our body will automatically uses 20-30% of the calories it releases just to metabolize.

Proteins are obviously not alone in this case, this effect also concerns carbohydrates and fats, but to a lesser extent (5-10% for carbohydrates, 0-3% for fats).

In the case of our protein croissant, out of the 22 kcal you will have eaten, only 16 kcal will be absorbed by your body. It doesn't seem like much on the scale of our little croissant, which is already very low in calories, but on larger meals it's very significant.

All calories are the same, but their sources are unequal. This is an important parameter to take into account if you accurately calculate your “energy balance”, a subject that we will cover shortly on our site.

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