Does Thinking Hard Burn More Calories?

Does Thinking Hard Burn More Calories?

Does Thinking Hard Burn More Calories

A common myth which was recently proven to be true says that thinking hard can cause you to burn more calories and thus, lose weight. 

This is a pretty unusual thought since, well, your brain can't be exercised physically which is how we think we lose calories. 

Constant physical strain and work help you lose weight, in combination with a proper healthy diet. The (recent) misconception was that since thinking hard doesn't physically work your brain, you can't be losing calories.

However, researchers have recently proven that there is a correlation between brainwork and fat burning. The only problem is that the calorie loss is incredibly small. 

It's so small, in fact, that you're better off exercising and just not thinking about anything.

If you want to lose weight, you should work hard and eat healthily. But, since science has proven brainwork fat burning to be true, let's talk about that more in depth. Here's some clarification on this subject.

Does thinking constantly cause one to be thinner or have a high metabolism?

Yes, science has proven that constant strain on your mind causes you to become thinner (in theory).

This is due to the fact that thinking about complex tasks and trying to solve them causes you to burn a bit more extra calories, although this number is somewhere between 10-50 for an entire day of hard thinking!

So, in the end, it doesn't add up to much. And no, your metabolism doesn't increase, since the extra energy used by the brain is minimal.

Relaxing causes your brain to use fewer unhealthy calories

Calories Burned by Brain Activity

The brain does actually use slightly fewer unhealthy calories when you're relaxed. The reason for this is because it doesn't need to work nearly as hard.

However, this is still not 100% true. There haven't been enough case studies to confirm or deny this rumour effectively. As it stands, however, the consensus is that the first sentence we mentioned is true.

(Also read:  How Much Exercise Should A Teenager Do Per Week?)

Generally, the brain uses a constant amount of calories all the time

This is true as well. The brain doesn't necessarily use more or less of some calories, depending on the task. This is a fairly confusing topic since there's a constant rift on it between scientists.

Some believe that resting causes your brain to use fewer calories, whilst others don't. Some active research parties are trying to figure out how exactly all of this works but the whole thing is at a standstill.

We still can't agree on a single theory which is why both or none of these are true.

How do we know this?

Does Thinking Hard Burn More Calories

Well, the way researchers are going on about this is that they're testing two groups of people. One group is assigned complex tasks to solve while the other is given simple tasks.

Both groups start solving at the same time and then the researchers compare the number of calories burned by each from each party.

This is a good direction in terms of research, but we need a bigger sample size with consistent results to figure it out for good.

Since all of this is relatively new and unknown, it might take quite some time to find out what is true and what is false.

The research is positive; it has shown that when you relax and are dealing with simple tasks, your brain uses fewer calories.

However, the other group also achieved success. Their side managed to burn more calories, which in turn means that they've managed to burn more fat.

So, by looking at these results, what is true? Well, when the body uses fewer calories, it needs fewer calories. And when you burn more calories, you burn fat.

What this means is that both groups managed to lose a tiny amount of fat. Confusing, isn't it?

Breathing rates

Breathing plays a vital part in this type of research since it also helps us understand how the whole thing works. When we physically work out, we burn more energy which increases our breathing rate.

This is the second way that scientists have managed to check which group burns more fat. Higher breathing rate = more calorie burn.


It certainly seems that using your brain for some difficult tasks results in fat loss, but we can't say that this is a fact.

Scientists need more time to figure everything out, and once we understand everything about the brain and calorie burning, we'll be able to make lifestyle changes that will result in more calorie loss.

Reading a book while running on the treadmill can cause you to lose 40 extra calories each day, so there's that! Also, Nootropics will make your brain go into overdrive, plus give you a boost of energy – it's all up to you!

Enrepreneur. I build websites all around the world an I run everyday. I just can't live without my daily running. Follow me on Twitter for more informations.

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