BRAIN BUSTERS CAN BURN ENERGY
Thinking burns more calories than you’d expect, says science, but don’t ditch those dumbbells just yet.
One expert says the brain runs solely on glucose, and difficult cognitive activities require more glucose than simple ones.
“You will in fact burn more energy during an intense cognitive task than you would vegging out watching Oprah or whatever,” says Ewan McNay, an assistant professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at the University of Albany. And tackling a crossword burns more calories than mainlining episodes of Fixer Upper, no matter how complicated Joanna Gaines’s shiplap decisions seem to be.
But compared to the average person’s overall energy expenditure, the caloric difference between difficult tasks and simple ones is negligible, says McNay — only about a five per cent change against the backdrop of all brain activity.
Tough thinking uses up calories.