Thermic Effect of Food Calculator

Use this calculator to easily calculate the thermic effect of food (TEF), a.k.a. thermic effect of feeding, a.k.a. dietary induced thermogenesis (DIT) for diets with different amounts of calories and a different macronutrient mix. Calculates TEF in kCal and as percentage of TDEE/TEE based on a specified mix of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Share calculator:

Embed this tool!
get code

How to use the Thermic Effect of Food calculator?

Using the calculator to calculate the thermic effect of food in kiloCalories and kiloJoules as well as a percentage of energy intake or total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is fairly straightforward. Start by choosing how you want to enter the macronutrient balance information: as percentages (e.g. 25%), proportions (e.g. 0.25) or in terms of number of kCal or kJ (e.g. 1,000 kCal, 4,184 kJ). Then enter the macro information for proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

If you press "calculate" at this point the tool will only output thermic effect of food as a percentage of total energy intake. You can choose to enter the total energy intake in kCal or kJ in which the calculator will also output the thermic effect of food in kCal and kJ. If you also input the total daily energy expenditure it will output TEF as a percentage of TDEE as well.

What is Thermic Effect of Food?

Feeding induces a rise of metabolic rate due to the processes of digestion, absorption, and short-term storage of macronutrients. In other words, it takes energy to process and store energy. This is what is called the thermic effect of food, a.k.a. the thermic effect of feeding or dietary induced thermogenesis. The terms "thermic effect of food" and "thermic effect of feeding" are equivalent and both conveniently abbreviate to TEF. The other term, "dietary induced thermogenesis, is abbreviated as DIT.

Contrary to some statements, there appears to be no significant difference in the thermic effect of food bewteen lean and obese people consuming the same amount of calories with the same macronutrient composition. In fact, the effect increases linearly with caloric intake and is independent of leanness and obesity [2].

On the other hand, the TEF/DIT effect can be broken down by nutrient type as the energy required to process and store different macronutrients varies depending on the type of macronutrient being consumed. Proteins require multiple times more energy to process and store than do both fat and carbs. Fat has the least contribution to thermic effect of food. Due to this, the overall thermic effect of feeding varies depending on the macronutrient mix of the person's diet.

While it is commonly assumed that the thermic effect is about 10% of energy intake, that is a poor approximation in many cases. For example, it is approximately true only for a balanced diet of 50% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, and 25% fats (10.63% of energy intake), but varies between 6% and 13% in some dietary mixes, as illustrated below:

Effect of Macronutrient Balance on Dietary Induced Thermogenesis

The table below presents values for thermic effect of feeding (TEF) as energy value and as percentage of total intake for a few common dietary choices. All tabulated values were calculated using this thermic effect of food calculator.

Thermic effect of food for different macro proportions
DietMacro Mix (C/P/F)TEF (kCal / day)TEF as % of Intake
High Carb 60% / 25% / 15% 278 11.13%
DASH Diet 55% / 27% / 18% 283 11.33%
Moderate Diet 50% / 25% / 25% 265 10.63%
Zone Diet 40% / 30% / 30% 281 11.25%
Low Carb 30% / 40% / 30% 325 13.00%
Keto Diet 10% / 15% / 75% 159 6.38%

In the above table the thermic effect of food is calculated based on an intake of 2,500 kCal per day.

Thermic Effect of Food Equation

The formula used in this thermic effect of food calculator is from Hall 2009 [1] who cites it from a work by Blaxter K.: "Energy Metabolism in Animals and Man" and it is:

thermic effect of feeding

Where the three alphas (αF, αP, αC are the short-term thermic effect coefficients for fat, protein, and carbohydrates, respectively, and FI, PI, and CI denote the intake quantities or proportions of the three macronutrient types.


[1] Hall K.D. (2009) "Predicting Metabolic Adaption, Body Weight Change, and Energy Intake in Humans", American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism 298(3):E449-66; DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00559.2009

[2] D'Alessio D.A. (1988) "Thermic effect of food in lean and obese men", Journal of Clinical Investigation 81(6): 1781–1789; DOI: 10.1172/JCI113520

Cite this calculator & page

If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Thermic Effect of Food Calculator", [online] Available at: URL [Accessed Date: 26 Mar, 2019].