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What is Thermogenesis: A Complete Guide on How to Burn More Calories

Thermogenesis is a fancy way to describe our body warming up, but how it can aid in burning more calories. Read more to find the benefits of thermogenesis for weight loss.

Nicole Taylor
What is Thermogenesis: A Complete Guide on How to Burn More Calories
Table Of Contents

Taglines like "increase your metabolism," "thermogenesis," and "thermogenic" are commonplace if you've ever shopped online for workout supplements, especially fat burners.

You may be bombarded with these buzzwords without a clear explanation, leading you to believe they must have positive connotations. That isn't always the case, though.

Gaining familiarity with these concepts will help you better understand the product and how your body works, allowing you to exercise with greater influence on your metabolism and aiding you in reducing fat and weight more quickly and easily. 

In this article, we'll examine the mechanics of thermogenesis and explain why it's important for supplements, particularly fat burners, to boost it if you want to lose weight quickly.

What is Thermogenesis?

“The utilization of calories to produce heat is referred to as thermogenesis, and it is a metabolic process that occurs in all living organisms.” 

To put it another way, thermogenesis can be understood as the body's process of generating heat. This is accomplished via the "burning" of calories. It occurs during thermoregulation of the body or as a direct result of the energy consumed when digesting food. 

The higher your body's thermogenic impact, the more calories you burn. As thermogenesis can be controlled using food, in theory, introducing supplements and foods that increase your metabolic rate, MBR can boost weight loss.

Factors Affecting Natural Thermogenesis

The following are the primary elements that have an impact on the rate of thermogenesis in the body:

Diet and Nutrition

Consuming foods with a thermogenic effect might hasten the burning of fat. According to research, consuming thermogenic meals might result in a 5% increase in metabolic rate. This results in a 15% increase in the amount of fat burned. 

Activity Levels 

Activating your muscles through exercise is the first step in getting your muscles to move. Energy is expended while muscles contract and relax. The generated power is then changed into motion and heat. Increased exercise frequency and intensity increase caloric expenditure, leading to greater heat dissipation and weight reduction.

External Environment 

Thermogenesis is how the body reacts to and adapts to temperature changes in the external environment. Temperature changes trigger a chain reaction in the brain, where messages are sent from receptor cells. 

Shivering is an example of the brain sending signals to the skeletal muscles to contract and twitch rapidly. The body's internal temperature rises due to the increased heat production by the contracting muscles.

Types of Thermogenesis

The process of thermogenesis appears simple at first glance. However, it turns out that thermogenesis comes in a variety of forms. Scientific study has allowed us to classify them into three (or four, depending on the definitions used) distinct groups.

In light of this, let's compare and contrast the various types and see how they vary.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns each day at rest, and the term is sometimes used interchangeably with resting metabolic rate. The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the energy expended while at rest in a neutral environment after the digestive system has been at rest for about 12 hours.

It refers to a person's metabolism when they get up in the morning after "fasting" while asleep. The energy your body needs to maintain its most fundamental activities at rest is known as your resting metabolic rate RBR. Some of these vital functions include 

  • Basic Brain Activities 
  • Blood Circulation 
  • Sleep 
  • Nutrient Absorption 
  • Digestion 
  • Temperature Regulation
  • Breathing 

The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the minimum energy necessary for your body to function normally. BMR makes up around 60% of one's daily energy expenditure.

Exercise - Activity Thermogenesis (EAT)

Physical Activity and Exercise Thermogenesis, as you've probably realized by now, refers to the number of calories that are burned by your body during physical activity of any kind. This includes lifting weights, performing cardio at a steady state (like walking or jogging), performing high-intensity interval training, CrossFit, and other similar activities. 

This category includes, in the broadest sense, any kind of organized physical exercise that is more strenuous than merely strolling from one location to another.

There are two types of Exercise-associated thermogenesis:

  • Aerobic metabolism - requires oxygen and uses either lipids or carbohydrates to produce energy, which is essential for low-intensity activity. 
  • Anaerobic metabolism - transforms carbohydrates to ATP when energy is required more rapidly.

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the sum of the energy we use in a day, from basic actions like standing and fidgeting to moving about, that does not go toward sleeping, eating, or exercising.

To shed pounds, scientists have now turned their attention to the other 110–115 hours we spend awake each week instead of the few hours we spend trying to exercise.

The outcomes are mind-blowing. They offer a variety of ways to lose weight effectively and maintain that reduction without having to alter our daily routines, make more time for exercise, do things we may not enjoy, or push ourselves beyond our limits.

Performing office work in a seated position burns about 102 calories per hour for a 145-pound person (1.7 kcal/minute) while doing the same work in a standing position burns about 174 calories per hour.

Though it doesn't seem like much, 174 calories every week adds up to 18,000 calories, or just over 5 pounds, over a year. The same calorie burn might be achieved by squeezing in 60 30-minute runs at 5 mph.

So, by making small lifestyle changes, you can use your body’s built-in thermogenesis system to burn more calories and ultimately help you lose more weight.

Diet-Induced Thermogenesis

Your body uses some of the food you eat to perform essential functions like digestion, absorption, metabolism, and storage, but it also uses some of the calories you consume to produce heat. Many terms describe this phenomenon, including "Diet-Induced Thermogenesis," "Specific Dynamic Action," and "Thermic Effect of Food."

The thermic effect of food refers to the amount of "cost" energy needed to metabolize and use the food you eat. The thermic effect of meals may have a negligible impact on overall daily expenditure, but it does help you burn more calories and move closer to your weight reduction goals.

The thermic effect of food is estimated to be roughly 10% of total daily calorie intake, though this number fluctuates greatly depending on the type of food consumed.  This means that the thermic effect of digesting a meal containing 500 kcal is roughly 50 kcal.

The Total Energy Expenditure for Digestion measures how much energy is needed to digest a macronutrient.

  • Fats consume 9 calories per gram [TEF of 0–3%].
  • Carbohydrates consume  4 calories per gram [TEF of 5–10%].
  • Proteins consume 4 calories per gram [TEF of 20–30%].

Eating well will help you burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate. Another argument for consuming a balanced diet of lean proteins, good carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Incorporating All Thermogenesis for Weight Loss

Now that you’re familiar with the different types, you can incorporate all of these to bring the maximum out of your weight loss journey. How?

It’s simple, really; the first step should be to add non-exercise activity thermogenesis to your daily routine by changing your work desk from a sitting table to a standing one. Setting a reminder to stretch after 20 minutes and using weighted fidgeting toys that will help give you a boost in energy spent.

After this, start incorporating exercise activity thermogenesis EAT, whether a 30-minute walk to the station or to and from the office. Paired with NEAT, you will start seeing results in no time. 

Lastly, just introduce a healthy diet that will boost your metabolism and require more energy to metabolize.

You can implement these techniques at your own pace, and you will start seeing significant differences in the scale and overall health. You will start to feel more active, alive, and present.

Can Supplements Boost Thermogenesis?

Dietary supplements, known as thermogenic, are products developed employing components that stimulate the body's metabolism. The vast majority of these dietary supplements are created from natural components; as a result, they can be purchased without a prescription from various retailers.

In most cases, the breakdown of adipose tissue is facilitated by an increase in the body's core temperature, which thermogenic supplements do. The primary function of the specialized connective tissue known as adipose tissue is to act as a reservoir for energy in the form of lipids (fat).

The increased metabolic rate caused by consuming thermogenic supplements prompts the body to draw upon its fat stores for fuel. Having said that, the ultimate operating method will be dependent on the particular supplement that is being discussed as well as the kind of chemicals that are contained within it.

Following are some ingredients you should look for in a thermogenic:

  • Caffeine
  • Green Tea / EGCG
  • Capsaicin
  • Garcinia Cambogia
  • Yohimbine
  • Bitter Orange / Synephrine.

Many researchers have backed these ingredients as thermogenic blends and great for boosting metabolisms.

Thermogenic Fat Burners

In addition to the consumption of foods, certain extracts of plants can also be taken in the form of thermogenic supplements because they speed up the process of burning fat. 

The following are some of the most effective thermogenic fat burners:

Garcinia Cambogia

A powerful thermogenic food, Garcinia Cambogia comes from a tropical fruit of the same name. Its extract contains a component known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which inhibits the action of the enzyme called ATP citrate lyase. The enzyme is to blame for the accumulation of fat throughout the body.


The bark of the Yohimbe tree, native to Africa, is an excellent source of a chemical utilized in the production of thermogenic supplements. It is thought to raise the levels of certain hormones in the body, specifically dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. There is a direct correlation between increasing levels of these hormones and enhanced rates of fat metabolism.

Bitter Orange 

The citrus fruit known as bitter orange is loaded with synephrine, a component that has been studied for its potential role as a natural stimulant. The consumption of synephrine is associated with an increase in metabolic rate. According to studies, it is one of the most effective thermogenic fat burners and can cause an additional burning of 65 calories per day.

Ginger Root

Ginger is yet another spicy spice filled with chemicals that stimulate the metabolism. It is commonly used in Asian cooking. Gingerols are the collective name for these substances; 6-gingerol is the most well-known thermogenic among them.

Increasing thermogenesis and "browning" white fat are what 6-gingerol does since it activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). Because of this, you will burn more calories throughout the day, which will ultimately lead to faster fat loss.


Evodiamine is another powerful substance that is very similar to capsaicin. It is obtained from the Evodiae Fructus plant, which is a member of the Tetradium genus of plants. As such, evodiamine is a powerful thermogenic, and in addition to that, it has also been demonstrated to restrict the body's ability to take in fat. 

This indicates that not only can evodiamine assist you in burning more calories throughout the day, but it may also assist you in preventing the absorption of some of the fat calories that are included in the meals you eat!


1. What are the benefits of thermogenesis?

A few potential benefits of thermogenesis include weight loss and increased cellular activity. Some research suggests that thermogenesis may help boost metabolism and reduce inflammation. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

2. Are there any risks associated with thermogenesis?

As with anything, there are always some risks associated with thermogenesis. The most common side effect is nausea; others may include dizziness, headache, and dehydration. It's important to speak with your doctor before trying any new weight loss strategy, including one that involves thermogenesis.

3. What is the difference between spontaneous and induced thermogenesis?

Spontaneous thermogenesis is when internal mechanisms, such as hormone levels, regulate your body temperature. Induced thermogenesis is when your body produces heat in response to an external stimulus, such as cold weather or eating spicy food.

4. How can I include thermogenesis in my workout routine? 

One way to include thermogenesis in your workout routine is to drink green tea or pre-workout before exercising. These products contain caffeine and other compounds that can stimulate the release of heat-producing chemicals in the body. Drinking green tea before working out may help you burn more calories and fat during exercise. 

Another way to increase thermogenesis is to add capsaicin-containing foods, such as chili peppers, to your diet. Capsaicin is a compound that triggers the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that helps to boost metabolism.

Take Away

Put simply, by boosting thermogenesis; you are actually boosting your metabolism and its rate, which will aid your body's ability to burn more calories.

Increasing the energy you expend daily is essential if you want to keep your weight stable, reduce your body fat percentage, or shed a few pounds. Inducing a greater thermic response and helping you burn more calories can be accomplished by increasing your lean protein intake, taking a proven thermogenic supplement, and lifting weights. 

While dieting and exercising is the tried and true method for reaching your health and fitness goals, these three strategies will help you achieve your objectives more quickly.

Reading List

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Nicole Taylor

Nicole is a professional freelance writer specialized in sports nutrition and home based exercises. She publishes a website dedicated to home exercise and has contributed articles to magazines as well.

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