How many calories does the brain consume?

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
An adult brain uses approximately 110 calories per pound, per day. The average adult brain weighs about 3 pounds and burns roughly 330 calories daily. By comparison, skeletal muscle in your arms, legs, chest, etc., burns approximately 6 calories per pound per day at rest, but can burn significantly more during physical activity. The greater the intensity of the activity, the more calories burned, whereas the brain’s calorie burn potential remains fairly constant.
A study performed in 1986 by Siebert, Gessner, and Klasser showed that the brain consumes roughly 230-247 calories based on 17 calories per gram in brain sizes of 1350-1450 grams. As the brain works harder, more calories are consumed.
Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
The human brain is responsible for roughly 20% of our total calories burned each day, which is pretty amazing when you think about it! To put this in perspective, if your total calorie burn for the day is 2000, then approximately 400 of those calories burned will be from brain activity. Research however, shows that this number can change, increase actually, when we challenge our brains to work harder. Believe it or not, two activities that will increase your brain’s calorie burning capacity and help you achieve the lean and toned body you’re working so hard for are imagining, visualizing attainment of your weight loss goal, for example, and exercise! Studies suggest complex exercises that challenge your ability to balance, move in different directions, and at faster speeds force your mind to work harder by engaging multiple parts of the brain. To tone your mind and your muscles try this total body move: Side lunge, curl, to overhead press with 2-arms.
Wendy Batts

Studies show that the brain is very metabolically active and will actually burn about 109 calories per pound of its mass per day. So an average adult brain being about 3 pounds burns 327 calories per day! In general, vital organs make up only about 5-6% of our total mass but 60% of our total resting energy expenditure (REE). REE is the amount of calories we basically burn to stay alive and functioning, not counting the calories we burn through movement.

Your brain consumes about 20% of our daily intake of calories. That’s about 400-500 calories for a man and 350-400 for a woman.
The brain consumes approximately 20% of our daily calorie intake.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The brain consumes 20 to 25 percent of our calories when we're at rest.

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YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

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Continue Learning about Calories


Every time we talk about food it seems we also talk about calories. Calories, those numbers found on nutrition fact labels and what diets tell us to watch. Calories are really the measure of how much energy is available to our bod...

ies from what we eat. Every calorie is the same, whether it comes from legumes or lard. We burn calories from food when we perform any activity. When we eat more calories than we burn, then our bodies happily store the remaining calories as fat. Each pound of fat stores about 3,500 calories. How many calories you should have each day depends on many things, from your level of activity to your age and desired body weight.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.