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Can the thermic effect of food help to burn fat?
December 09, 2006

Issue #010, December 10, 2006 Newsletter

The "Diet Free ... At Last!" Health & Lifestyle e-Newsletter is dedicated to keeping you updated on important health and weight-loss related issues...

So what exactly is the Diet Free ... At Last! Weight Loss Program?

As the name suggests, this is a Weight Loss Program ... but with a BIG difference!  Unlike those other unhealthy weight loss diet plans, this program is dedicated to teaching you how to lose weight in a safe and healthy way. 

So What Makes the Diet Free ... At Last! Weight Loss Plan Different From Others?

Good question ...

The Diet Free ... At Last! Weight Loss plan is not like those other unhealthy diets -- it's not a diet, it's based on healthy eating and balanced nutrition that will help you to lose weight and fat and keep it off ... forever!

  1. The Diet Free ... At Last! program does not promise you will lose the weight FAST.  Why not?  Because the faster you lose the weight, the higher your chances are of gaining it all back just as FAST!  (Not only that, but many of these diets, by not focusing on healthy eating practices, actually trigger different health conditions like gallbladder disease, fatty liver, cellulite, candida, leaky gut syndrome, essential fatty acid deficiency and more!  Click on the links below to see what symptoms these conditions have.)

  2. This program is focused on helping you to lose weight in a healthy, slow steady way.  I am more interested in helping you to, not only lose weight, but to improve your health in the process ... and you CAN do that if you choose to lose weight by eating a healthy, balanced diet. 

  3. When you lose weight too quickly on these unhealthy diets, you will be left with loose, sagging skin that is prone to wrinkling.  On this program, you will lose weight in a slow steady way, which will decrease the amount of loose, sagging skin you will have.  Also, there are many foods on this program that are specifically targeted towards improving your skin tone and reducing loose, sagging skin and wrinkles.

  4. These "lose-weight-fast" programs are too restrictive and are famous for triggering yo-yo dieting and intense food cravings.  Click here for important information on why you shouldn't "count calories" restrictively.  The Diet Free ... At Last! program helps you to stop food cravings by teaching you what causes food cravings, and then teaching you how to eat a healthy diet that will stop food cravings.  (As a matter of fact, this program will teach you the "7 Miracle Foods + 1" that make all the difference in controlling food cravings.)

  5. When you follow these other unhealthy weight loss programs, you are always hungry.  With the Diet Free ... At Last! Weight Loss plan, you're encouraged to eat lots of healthy snacks ... which are natural appetite suppressants. (And yes, you can even eat fat!  Imagine snacking -- guilt-free!)

  6. Following an unhealthy diet that is too restrictive causes your metabolism to slow down.  This program focuses on losing fat and conserving muscle mass at the same time.  This speeds up your metabolism ... and your fat burning machine, making it much easier to lose weight and fat and maintain your ideal weight forever.   

  7. This program is specifically targeted to anyone who is diabetic or insulin resistant and will decrease and stabilise blood sugar levels in a safe and natural way. 

  8. This weight loss plan stops yo-yo dieting ... changing your lifestyle to incorporate healthy eating means you never have to follow unhealthy diets again ... leaving you truly, Diet Free ... At Last!

But there is one more difference the Diet Free ... At Last! Weight Loss Program has over other diets ... and it is the most important one of all...

What a lot of people do not realise is that in many cases, their weight problems are not just caused by overeating ... Did you know that in many cases there is a physiological, biological, medical condition that is causing the weight gain ... and triggering yo-yo dieting? Many people look at obesity and weight issues as being a condition in and of itself ... whereas in many cases, the obesity is actually a symptom of a medical condition.

Yes, that's right ... there could well be a medical condition that is causing you to gain weight and making it very hard to lose weight.  And if that's the case, imagine being able to manage this problem, lose the excess weight and improve your health in the process!

Here is just a short list of the possible health conditions that could be causing you to gain weight and trapping you in a vicious cycle of weight gain ... (you can click on the links to check out these conditions)...

The Diet Free At Last! program teaches you the 7 Strategies that help you to manage these conditions and improve your health ... and lose weight, fat and inches in the process!  For more information on this program, click here


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Table of Contents:

Article:  Can the Thermic Effect of Food Help to Burn Fat?

"Miracle Food" of the month:  Cranberries

Recipe of the month:  Cranberry Sauce

Article:  Can the Thermic Effect of Food Help to Burn Fat?

The thermic effect of food relates to the amount of energy that is needed to be expended by the body in order to digest a particular food.  Some foods don't require very much energy at all to digest, which means that we can theoretically store as fat almost all the calories in the food if we do not burn it off.  The most common foods that fall into this category are highly processed foods and unhealthy fatty foods.  The body has to expend very few calories to convert these foods into calories, therefore almost the entire food is stored by the body as fat and very little is burnt off.

In contrast, foods that have had very little processing or are as close to their natural state as possible burn off a lot more calories during the digestion process, which decreases the amount of calories the body stores as fat.  Fruits, vegetables, natural grains like rice, wheat, barley, rye and beans, peas, lentils and high fibre foods all burn off a lot of calories during digestion, meaning there is less that can be converted to fat and stored. 

Some foods even burn off more calories during digestion then the food itself ... these foods are known as having a negative caloric balance.  This is particularly true when you have a food that is high in fibre.  Digestion has to work much harder to digest foods with a high level of fibre, which increases the amount of calories burnt and decreases the amount of calories stored as fat. 

This is the reason why eating whole, natural foods has such a dramatic effect on weight loss ... and ultimately, your health.  You can never go wrong by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole, natural foods and reducing the amount of highly processed junk food.  Not only will you benefit from the "thermic effect" of food and automatically burn more calories, but you will also get the benefit of the vitamins, minerals and polyphenols these foods have naturally.

Of course, we have to keep in mind that the process of metabolising our food is more complicated than just balancing energy in to energy out.  That is why I don't believe that calorie counting is an effective way of dieting.  The reason is because there are many foods that have similar calorie contents, yet their metabolic effect on the body is extremely different.

For instance, some foods actually speed up the metabolism which increases the body's fat burning capabilities, whereas other foods actually slow down your metabolism and make your system very sluggish, gearing it towards fat storage not fat-burning.  And these different foods can have the exact same calorie count!

4 Reasons Why Counting Calories Is Not Effective...

Calorie counting and calculating the optimal number of daily calories is not an exact science because every person is unique and has a different metabolism. There are many different Food Calorie Charts, calorie calculators and formulas on the market for calculating our optimal daily caloric intake, and they usually produce very different results. There are a few reasons why a food calorie chart or calorie formula may not produce the results you are hoping for:

  1. There are so many different calorie calculators and formulas out there and depending on which one you use, your results could be very different. (For example, I used a couple of different calorie calculators and formulas and the results ranged from 1200 to 2700 calories per day! That is a huge difference ... and the worst thing is, how do you know which one is right, or if either one is right!)

  2. There are so many different factors that come into play that would affect the number of calories that you burn each day, including things like illness. But one of the biggest determinants would be your metabolism. Two different people that have the exact weight and even the same body fat % could still have very different metabolisms, which would greatly affect the optimum daily caloric intake.

  3. Exercising burns calories, so you would have to be constantly adjusting your calorie intake by the amount of calories you burned during exercise. You can use a calorie calculator that can calculate an approximate number of calories burned through exercise, but again, this is not an exact science and factors like your weight and metabolism should be taken into account. Also, more importantly, exercise changes your internal physiology to increase the fat-releasing and fat-burning enzymes and improves the way your body uses insulin. This has a very positive effect on weight loss and has nothing at all to do with the amount of calories you eat each day.

  4. But the most important reason why I don't think it is possible to calculate an optimum number of daily calories you should eat with a food calorie chart is because of your body's metabolic processes when you have conditions like Insulin Resistance & Diabetes, Estrogen Dominance and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Your hormonal responses, especially insulin, have a huge effect on whether fat will be stored or released, so even if you eat the "proper" amount of calories that a food calorie chart or calorie calculator calculates for you to eat, your insulin levels could still mean that you will not lose any fat. All calories are not created equal! This is especially true if you are eating high GI carbohydrates that trigger a higher insulin response, rather than low GI carbohydrates. In other words, if you ate 1500 calories per day that were made up of low GI carbohydrates, versus 1500 calories that were made up of high GI (highly processed) carbohydrates, the low GI carbohydrates would help you to lose weight and fat, whereas the high GI carbohydrates would help you to store fat. It is very important for anyone with these metabolically challenging conditions to work with their hormones and eat in such a way as to support these hormones. (The "Diet Free ... At Last!" Weight Loss Program goes into greater detail on the effects of Insulin Resistance, Estrogen Dominance and PCOS on weight gain and obesity.)

"So If I Shouldn't Count Calories, How Do I Know How Much I Should Eat?"

Rather than counting calories, the "Diet Free ... At Last!" Weight Loss Program teaches you how to plan meals that will be directly targeted to supporting your specific hormonal situation. As you correct your hormonal imbalances, you will notice that your body will start to re-balance itself, and part of the re-balancing process includes losing weight and losing fat.

So obviously the process of burning off calories and fat and increasing your metabolism is a very complicated process.  There are many factors that affect it and these factors are very important in your overall success rate in not only losing weight healthily, but being able to keep the weight off forever.

"Miracle Food":  Cranberries

As a tribute to the Christmas season, I have focused on cranberries as this month's miracle food.

Everyday we hear about "new" research studies proving the "miraculous" healing powers of many different foods.  Most of these foods are really just normal everyday foods that everybody used to eat as part of a normal diet.  Of course, in the last 50 to 80 years highly processed convenience foods have taken the place of these healthy whole foods to the detriment of our health.

More and more people are replacing healthy, nutritious whole foods with nutritionally empty processed foods full of chemicals, preservatives and additives.  Food forms the building blocks of every cell and tissue in our body.  If the food we eat is nutritionally deficient, it obviously is not going to do a very good job of rejuvenating our health and preventing the development of disease.

If, on the other hand, we go back to basics and eat healthy, nutritious food, our bodies have the chance to use the vitamins and minerals in these foods to improve all areas of our health. 

Now, cranberries have been in the media a lot recently due to its highly effective benefit of promoting a healthy urinary tract.  This is because cranberries are very high in antioxidants called proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins and these antioxidants are very powerful and have a unique effect of preventing bacteria from "sticking" to the urinary tract wall, which then decreases the incidence of urinary tract infections.

This is not the only health benefit you can expect from cranberries ... check these out...

  • The ability of cranberries to prevent bacteria from sticking is called "anti-adhesion".  This is thought to also be of benefit in stomach ulcers that are known to be caused by bacteria, especially Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

  • This "anti-adhesion" is also thought to help to decrease the incidence of periodontal gum disease by stopping the bacteria from sticking to the teeth and gums.

  • The fact that cranberries reduce the damaging effects of bacteria mean that we will have less need for antibiotics, which is a very positive health benefit.

  • Cranberries are very high in antioxidants, which of course is very important in fighting free radical damage.

  • Studies have shown that cranberries improve good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol, which of course decreases the risk of heart disease by reducing the amount of plaque deposited on the arterial walls.  This is due to the high level of flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds found in cranberries.

  • Studies have also found that the high levels of antioxidants in cranberries have also helped cranberries to have a decided anti-cancer effect.

  • Preliminary research on lab animals have found evidence that cranberries may reduce the damage caused by strokes in the brain.  The consensus was that although it may not prevent a stroke, it may help to reduce the damaging effects of a mild stroke.  Click here for more information from The Cranberry Institute.

  • Cranberries have almost 50% more antioxidant power than many other fruits including apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon and bananas.

  • Research is also being conducted to explore the possibility of cranberries preventing the development of yeast infections.

  • Cranberry is also touted as having a strong anti-inflammatory effect.

Now, the best thing about using Superfoods to improve your health is that you can eat these foods in delicious dishes instead of having to pop a pill!  You can check out the internet for many delicious recipes using cranberries ... I have included here 2 of my favourite recipes for Christmas...

Recipe of the month:   Cranberry Sauce for Turkey

2 cups whole cranberries           1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water 

  1. Put all ingredients in a pot and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft.
  2. Remove from heat and mash lightly with a potato masher or an electric stick blender, making sure you do not puree mixture.
  3. Add a bit more sugar to taste if you would like the sauce to be less tart.


Recipe of the month:   Cranberry Stuffing for Turkey

1/2 cup wild rice                   1 cup brown rice

1/2 cup cranberries               1/2 cup walnuts chopped

1/2 cup apples chopped         1/2 cup celery

2 cups chopped mushrooms     1/2 chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic             6 cooked chicken sausages chopped

1/2 cup sultanas                    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 teaspoon each poultry seasoning or sage, salt & pepper, and cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

  1. Cook rice until almost tender.
  2. Saute celery, mushrooms, garlic and onions.
  3. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl and lightly stuff turkey just before roasting.


Well, that's it for now.  Hope you've enjoyed this e-Newsletter as much as I've enjoyed writing it!  If you have any fun recipes using cranberries (or any recipes at all) that you'd like to share with others, please feel free to send them to and I will include them in future issues.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season!

All the best,

Geri Richard

P.S. If you'd like to check out our previous newsletter issues, just click on this link ...

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Health Dimensions / "Diet Free ... At Last!" Weight Loss Program
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