Get Active or Active Calories?
In yesterday's newspaper, the health and fitness section had a a story with tips from The Active Calorie Diet. The concept isn't new that all calories are not created equal. The concept that 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories is, after all, just a statistical average. Some calorie sources will yield more calories, some less. The premise of this book is consuming those foods that yield fewer calories. That is, they require more energy to digest.
The first two tips taken from the book that the article author submits are: (1) Eat plenty of low-fat protein (lean meats, eggs, and low-fat dairy and (2) Focus on fiber. However, if you're going after low-fat animal based sources of protein, then you're definitely not focusing on fiber. There's a simpler way! Whole, plant foods provide plenty of protein and fiber too!
Another tip from the book suggests adding spices with capsaicin (like hot pepper) to foods will burn "an extra 10 to 20 calories per day." What's the point in obsessing over details like that? My advice has always been to get the bulk of your diet right; that is, eat plants, the more of them better. Small details like adding spice matter, but they don't make a big difference. Start by getting your diet mostly right (you know you are when people are shocked at how much vegetable matter you're putting down), then worry about the details.