Do People With Larger Bodies Burn More Calories?

Having overweight or obesity is linked with an increased risk of developing certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and certain cancers. But take heart from the silver lining in this cloud: The heavier you weigh, 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.

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Fat vs. Muscle

Although larger people do burn more calories than smaller 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 -- every pound of muscle contributes actively to the calorie burn.

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