Energy expenditure isn’t isolated to exercise. In fact, the process of eating and digesting food actually burns calories. There’s even a measurement for this phenomenon. The energy used to metabolically process the nutrients contained in food is known as the thermic effect, and a new study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport suggests that consuming protein before a workout harnesses the effect’s full potential.
Researchers had 10 recreationally active female college students with normal body weight consume a high protein or low protein meal, or no food at all, before running the treadmill. Protein helped these study subjects continue to burn calories after exercise to a greater degree than fasted cardio.
True Strength Moment: Another interesting finding of this study was the effect of a high-protein diet without exercise. This increases the metabolism and can contribute to weight loss, but with a sacrifice of muscle tissue. Protein with exercise can help you realize weight loss without muscle loss.