When someone claims that a certain food "goes straight to your thighs," don't take them literally because no food is shown to specifically promote thigh fat. Your thighs grow larger when you gain weight, causing your body to store fat throughout your frame. Depending on your physique, you may tend to store more fat in the thighs than other regions.
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It's All About Calories
Your body uses calories -- or energy -- to fuel functions such as respiration and blood circulation as well as muscle activity. When you consume more calories than you "burn" for fuel, your body stores the excess in fat cells, causing them to expand. So ultimately any food will increase thigh fat if you consume too much. For every 3,500-calorie surplus, you gain about 1 pound of fat. This typically occurs over weeks or months when you continually eat more calories than you need.
At 9 calories per gram, fat contains more than double the energy of protein or carbohydrates, which each contain just 4 calories per gram. Therefore, high-fat foods are by default high in calories, contributing to weight gain if you consume too much. Vegetable oil, for example, contains 120 calories per tablespoon, while butter contains 100 calories per tablespoon. Fried foods are also far fattier -- and thus more fattening -- than fresh, boiled or steamed versions. A medium potato, which is virtually fat-free, contains just 145 calories, while a medium serving of fast-food french fries may contain 380 calories. That's a significant portion of a 2,000-calorie diet, especially for a side dish.
Refined carbohydrates such as sugar, white rice or breads and pasta made with white flour are digested quickly, creating a rapid spike in blood sugar. Your body responds by pumping out more of the hormone insulin, causing blood sugar to quickly drop. This leaves you feeling hungry shortly after eating and possibly craving more refined carbohydrates to provide another quick boost of energy. Thus, refined carbohydrates may spur overeating, leading to weight gain and larger thighs.
To help keep your thighs and the rest of your body trim, base your diet around lean, unprocessed fare. Get your carbs from whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and breads and pasta made from whole-wheat flour. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are typically very low in calories, and choose low-fat proteins such as beans, tofu, water-packed tuna and egg whites. With this plan, you'll enjoy proper nutrition as well as a healthy weight.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- USDA National Nutrient Database: USDA Commodity Food, Oil, Vegetable
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Butter, Salted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Potatoes, White
- USDA National Nutrient Database: McDonald's, French Fries
- College of the Canyons: What’s Complex About Carbohydrate