Can We Alter Our Resting Metabolic Rate?

Can We Alter Our Resting Metabolic Rate?

Resting metabolic rate is the rate at which our body burns energy when it is at complete rest. It is the energy used to perform basic body functions like breathing and circulation.1 It also accounts for the largest component (60-70%) of total daily energy or calories used. Because of that, you may be familiar with the notion that resting metabolic rate can influence the rate of calories burned daily and consequently the body weight of an individual. A low resting metabolic rate in women compared to men, for example, is proposed to be the cause of more weight gain in women than men of the same age.2

 Interestingly, eating as a basic body function can also affect the metabolic rate. Each time we consume food, part of the calories is spent on digesting and processing the macronutrients. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and it causes an increase in metabolic rate. For example, after an intake of 200 calories worth of protein, your body will use between 40 and 70 body calories to digest them.3 Therefore, as a result of the thermic effect of food on metabolism, by consuming calories you actually increase the rate at which your body burns calories.

Since the thermic effect of food helps boost the body’s metabolic rate, this in return, will also help the body recover from fatigue faster as the rate of conversion of food to energy increases. Different foods have variable thermic effect with protein is reported to show the highest thermic response. Chicken essence, which is protein rich, is believed to help recovery from physical and mental fatigue and this may be due to its thermic effect that helps boost the body’s metabolic rate.

To elicit this presumption, a study published in The Nutrition Reports International assigned two groups that were each given Essence of Chicken and a placebo or water for comparison of their thermic effect. By assessing the results over 2 hours at 15-minute intervals, it was discovered that chicken essence causes a higher thermic response in humans compared to placebo or water. 4

This stimulatory response to chicken essence is seen to be increasing as the concentration of the essence increases. Although protein is known to stimulate the metabolic rate more than carbohydrate or fat, the stimulatory effect was still higher than what the researchers expected.

Another study on the intake of chicken essence tablets has also observed a significantly higher increase in resting metabolic rate compared to the intake of skim milk protein tablets, although both are supposed to be loaded with protein. This may partially be explained with the fact that amino acids, the constituent of protein, each have an individually variable thermic effect. While distinctive smell associated with food can also play a role in its thermic effect, hence, protein content in chicken essence may not be the sole measure of its thermic effect. Regardless of the mechanism, the high stimulatory effect of the chicken essence to metabolic rate makes it an ideal anti-fatigue food. 5



1 Metabolism vs Resting Metabolism: What’s the Difference?. Verywell Fit. Published 2018. Accessed December 14, 2018.

Arciero P, Goran M, Poehlman E. Resting metabolic rate is lower in women than in men. J Appl  Physiol. 1993;75(6):2514-2520. doi:10.1152/jappl.1993.75.6.2514

3 Ask The Macro Manager: What Is The Thermic Effect Of Food? Published 2018. Accessed December 14, 2018.

4 Geissler C, Boroumand-Naini M, Tomassen C. Large acute thermic response to chicken essence in humans. Nutr Rep Int. 1989;39(3):547-56.

5 Ikeda T, Nishijima Y, Kiso Y, Shibata H, Ono H, Moritani T. Effects of chicken essence tablets on resting metabolic rate. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Sep;65(9):2083-6.