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When you eat, your metabolic rate increases slightly as your body works to process the food. This thermic effect of feeding (TEF) accounts for only about 10 percent of the calories you expend in a day, but it is possible to maximize the TEF through changes in diet and eating patterns. Proteins and complex carbohydrates have the greatest thermic effect; that is, perhaps as much as 25 percent of the energy in these foods is expended digesting them. Fats, on the other hand, have negligible thermic effect; almost all the energy in fat is used either for energy or, more likely, layered around the midsection or thighs.
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