Can You Burn Calories by Thinking?

the-thinkerWhen it comes to the question of “does thinking hard burn calories”, the supporters often take Einstein as an example to illustrate the feasibility of staying lean by mental workouts. However, recent evidence has found that mentally draining activities alone might not be sufficient to help you lose weight. Your brain burns more calories while thinking hard, that’s for sure. But the bad news is that what the brain consumes is not fat but glucose. For that reason, this is an unrealistic expectation of burning fat by simply sitting your big butt down and reading a mathematics book.

As you know, brain is a highly complex organ that controls all your actions, feelings and bodily functions. You may not know that behind it so many neurons have to work around the clock to make your bodies normally function. Not only that, they run automatically and precisely and apparently there is no room for error in this job. In this sense, each day you have lived or will live is a miracle. The human brain works just like a computer. It manipulates every move to the beat. And you certainly know what would happen when your brain and body are not synchronized. Laborious as the brain can be, it burns minimal calories.

In a study conducted by a university in Canada, 14 students were told to participate in 45 minutes of reading and summarizing activities. This study is designed to test the calorie consumption in lunch. And it turned out that they experienced soared glucose levels, high blood pressure, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, and other body changes. In addition, the researchers also found that extra mental effort also led to a high level of cortisol in the blood. By the way, cortisol is a stress-induced hormone. That’s to say, stressful events are more easily to cause over-eating in the participants because body enters into a state of tension rather than the brain needs more energy.

By the statistics, working on Sudoku, crosswords puzzle, or other logic games can burn about 90 calories per hour. Interestingly, this figure will increase as the game is more mentally challenging. However, it is still a controversial topic when it comes to shed some pounds by using your brain. Once again, the brain requires no fat molecules but glucose to produce energy.

The adult human brain weighs about 1.3 to 1.4 kg on average. And this is about 2% of the total body weight. In order to complete the task it needs 20% of the resting metabolic rate (RMR) to provide sufficient fuel. It is worth mentioning that RMR depends on a few factors, such as sex, size, age, general health status, and so on. Although it varies from person to person, brain usually consume 0.18 calories per minute, equivalent to 10.8 calories per hour.

A psychologist from Cornell University argues that thinking is not at all helping get rid of unwanted fat. Even though the mental activity is able to increase the body’s metabolism rate, the daily consumption of calories is very low. And what’s worse, extra snack or meal is usually needed for sustained energy when it burns calories.

Your brain needs energy when neurons generate neurotransmitters. If there is a lack of energy, you will feel listless and tired. Although firing neurons summon extra blood, 20 percent of oxygen, 75 percent of glucose from the blood, and about 300 calories. As a result, you consume more calories as you play intellectual game and think hard. But unfortunately it must be said that you just can’t lose weight through simply mental activity no matter how hard you think.

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