Thinking uses more calories than doing nothing?

Thinking uses more calories?

Thinking uses more calories?

Why is it that we feel so exhausted at the end of a day sitting down at the computer thinking?
Surely it means our brain is using up all those calories to do mental acrobatics and we can justify the extra sugar because we need the energy?

Unfortunately this is not true. A recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine shows that mental work uses only 3 more calories than sitting around doing nothing (per 45 minute stint).
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2008/09/being-smart-wil.html

The people in the study were then given access to an eat all you like buffet. After doing “mental work”, people ate over 200 calories more than when they sat doing nothing.

So we must perceive we are using more energy and therefore feel the need to eat more.

Or, we feel we have done some work, so we need to reward ourselves for being good.
Both of these would ring true for me during the working day.

The main author of the study noted “Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact that we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialized countries”.

Translated this means that office work and little exercise is making us fat!
Not a surprise to most of us.

Here’s some tips on trying to stay slim at work: http://joannapenn.com/2008/06/19/losing-weight-if-you-are-at-a-desk-all-day/
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