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Thinking more = Eating more?

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    I've found on days where I do a lot of thinking I get really hungry rather often throughout the day like if I've been working out or something. This seems to make sense since the brain is like a supercomputer it must take a lot of energy to power it, but how much? The amount of calories required to operate a brain at "wide open throttle" for 1 hour can't be as much required operate a body that is sprinting/running for 1 hour can it?
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  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2
    The brain burns roughly 500 kilo-calories a day. Studies haven't found any strong correlation between actively thinking and it burning more.

    I think that when you are worried about things and such then your body begins a lot of other processes readying itself for things which should burn a lot or it might be trying to stock up on reserves to brace for the coming danger thus making you hungry.
  4. Jan 7, 2010 #3


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    Although I can't say that studying or reading makes me more hungry, I find it's easier to lose track of how much I've been eating. I'll be so focused on what I'm doing that I won't notice how long I've been methodically putting away chip after chip. Chips and salsa, hot salsa, together make one of my favorite snack combinations.

    Are you talking about actual hunger pains? Does it happen every time? Could it be a routine you've built?
  5. Jan 7, 2010 #4
    Well, there's also the correlation that thinking, particularly in high-stakes situations (e.g. studying for a test), may be a stressor, whereas eating may counteract this by releasing endorphins. See emotional eating.
  6. Jan 9, 2010 #5
    Not sure but when I began reading again(+school work) more often during my free time I noticed I gained a lot of weight... In high school this wasn't a problem and it was easier to maintain a lower bodyweight.
  7. Jan 9, 2010 #6


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    Well, everyone had an easier time maintaining a lower body weight in high school. There's a lot of growing and energy burning associated with adolescence. As we get older, it does get harder to maintain a lower weight. But, of course spending more of your free time reading means you're spending more of your free time sedentary (unless you've switched from something like knitting to reading), so that will contribute to weight gain.

    Thinking more has nothing to do with an increased need for calories. But, when you're just sitting rather than being active, you have more time to think about being hungry, as well as more access to food than if you were out somewhere doing more active things.
  8. Jan 10, 2010 #7
    If there is no significant increase in burning calories when it comes to thinking then it must just be psychological. I figure it may also have something to do with stress as well. Next week I'll finally be able to get back on my exercise routine again after a 3 month hiatus.
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