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FIREFLYBRIDE SparkPoints: (14,685)
Fitness Minutes: (4,293)
Posts: 613
12/16/09 12:39 P

I am hungry all the time during the spring and falls semesters, but hardly hungry at all during the summer and Christmas break. My brain has to work really hard during school and yes, it does burn more calories. Unfortunately, the brain does not build muscle or burn fat while it is burning calories, so we won't see a weight loss from using our brains. When you get hungry during school, eating healthy sugars like apples, oranges, celery, carrots, etc. and forget the chocolate and chips. ;)

VHALKYRIE Posts: 2,214
12/15/09 9:23 P

If this were true, then I wouldn't have a weight problem. I do nothing but heavy thinking all day. If it burns extra calories, I'm not seeing the difference.

Sounds like wishful thinking to me. No pun intended. :)

Edited by: VHALKYRIE at: 12/15/2009 (21:24)
12/15/09 8:38 P

well, I thought really, really hard about this. For a very long time. I don't have an answer for you, sweetheart, but thanks for the workout xxx

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
12/15/09 8:34 P


The brain can only function on glucose, which is why those individuals who follow a low carb diet will often complain of moodiness and headaches. Carbs are not the evil food many believed it to be.

Below is a link to Coach Jen's blog on this very subject.


MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
12/15/09 5:43 P

Actually, the brain is one of the biggest calorie burners in the body, consuming 400-500 calories per day.

Given there is so much going on subconsciously all the time in the brain (even when sleeping), I'm not sure that 'thinking hard' or studying burns any additional calories.

However, the brain can only use carbs for fuel, not converted fats, so it can trigger the hunger signals to ensure that you keep your blood sugar levels up.


JKCHAV790 Posts: 2
12/15/09 5:35 P

i wish it was possible to lose weight and burn calories while thinking, but its not if it was i would be sickly skinny instead of overweight.

ALYSSAGB SparkPoints: (5,377)
Fitness Minutes: (12,634)
Posts: 177
12/15/09 5:34 P

I've heard that you do in fact burn more calories when you're studying and thinking hard. But, I think it's more likely that it's the stress of finals that's making you eat more than the kind of increase of appetite you'd get from starting an exercise program. And studying definitely can't take the place of exercising; you might be burning more calories than you would while just lounging around, but you aren't using your muscles or your heart. Your body isn't receiving the same benefit as you would get from exercise.

ICEPRINCESS0966 Posts: 29
12/15/09 5:27 P

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the brain is not a muscle. Brain cells are nerve cells, not muscle cells. Perhaps you're thinking of the heart?

This doesn't mean you don't burn more calories when thinking. It seems like it would be a measurable difference and research should be available somewhere.

MYUTMOST4HIM Posts: 11,453
12/15/09 5:24 P

Not necessarily but it does give new meaning to my brain doing summersaults LOL

PIXIEDUST22 Posts: 1,240
12/15/09 5:22 P

I'm a grad student in the middle of finals, and my friends and I have been commenting that we think we get way more hungry and eat more during finals and were wondering if when you're really exerting your brain, you burn extra calories. Well, my friend just sent me this link that says when you're doing a crossword puzzle or similarly taxing your brain, you burn an extra 1.5 calories per minute!
I also then found this article that says that thinking uses up a lot of blood glucose as opposed to just lounging, which makes you THINK you need extra food, but in reality you've only burned marginally more calories.

On the other hand, your brain is a muscle and if you're working it extra hard it sort of makes sense that your body would burn extra calories to fuel it.

What do you guys think? Do you notice that you're more hungry if you're using your studying/doing something extra taxing at work?

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