Do Overweight People Burn More Calories? may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
The heavier you are, the more calories you burn.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing such diseases as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and certain cancers. But take heart from the silver lining in this cloud: The heavier you are, the faster you burn calories.

Estimating Calorie Burn

The American Council on Exercise lists a number of activities according to how many calories they burn per minute, depending on your body weight. A 20-lb. weight difference can translate to a more than 10-percent increase in calories burned for some activities. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., you'll burn about 10.3 calories per minute swimming the crawl at a moderate pace. However, if you weigh 180 lbs., you'll burn about 11.6 calories per minute.

Fat vs. Muscle

Although heavy people do burn more calories than light-weight people, muscle still burns more calories than fat. If a 200-lb. man with high body fat and a lean, muscular 200-lb. man work out together at the same intensity, the muscular man will burn more calories than the fat man -- every pound of muscle contributes actively to the calorie burn, whereas body fat is just dead weight.


If you're envious of a heavy friend's calorie-burning ability, wear a weight vest during low-impact, weight-bearing cardio activities like walking. Carrying the extra weight will increase your workout intensity, which means you burn more calories per minute, too.

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