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You Ask, I Answer: 1 Pound of Muscle Burns 50 Calories?

Posted May 06 2010 5:19pm

HTEUD00ZI have come across a lot of articles and books which state that a pound of muscle burns 50 calories per day just to support itself.

That seems extremely high to me.

– Luis (Last name withheld)
Washington, DC

I, too, often see that figure repeated ad-nauseum and can’t help but shake my head.

It is true that the more muscle mass we have, the more calories our bodies intrinsically burn (AKA, the more effective and faster our metabolism).

However, the “50 burned calories per pound of muscle” figure is grossly inaccurate.

A multitude of studies over the past decade all in respectable metabolism and exercise physiology journals have clearly demonstrated that one pound of lean muscle burns anywhere from five to eight calories per day for self-sustaining purposes.

Mind you, this is certainly better than fat tissue, which burns a mere two calories per day.

Weight-bearing exercises are still extremely important, though (they are beneficial in slowing down osteoporosis, strengthening the heart, and even improving the immune system).

Keep in mind that between the ages of 50 and 80, humans can lose up to 40 percent of their muscle mass. That significant loss carries significant metabolic and health repercussions!

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