Do calories make you fat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Do calories make you fat?” and provide information on whether metabolism and calories are related to one another, how to burn calories as well as whether dietary supplements can help to lose weight.

Do calories make you fat?

Calories make you fat only when you consume them more than required. If you burn fewer calories than you eat, you will likely become fat. Apart from this, depending on one’s genes and metabolism, some people might end up gaining more pounds than others.

Sometimes, apart from consuming excess calories, a combination of other factors can cause weight gain. 

This can include genes, lifestyle, sleep, stress, and physical activity. In rare cases, certain diseases like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can contribute to weight gain.

Are metabolism and caloric burning associated with each other?

You can burn your calories easily if you indulge in exercise or any other physical activity. Individuals who exercise develop a faster metabolism which can aid in burning calories. 

Some factors that affect metabolism are as follows:

  • Individuals who have more muscles tend to have a faster metabolism compared to those who do not. This is because muscles at rest would use up six calories while a pound of fat uses only 2 calories. 

This means that men have a higher metabolism than women as they have higher muscles in their bodies. Besides, testosterone can also aid in boosting metabolism. As a result, men tend to lose weight faster than women.

  • Women going through menopause tend to have a much slower metabolism because of lower estrogen levels. This can further accelerate the deposition of fat in the abdomen causing them to develop abdominal obesity.
  • Certain health conditions and medications can affect metabolism. For instance, antidepressants and steroids are associated with weight gain and a slower metabolism.
  • Reduced levels of vitamin D can also contribute to slower metabolism and result in weight gain.
  • Age can be another factor that determines metabolism. As individuals age, they tend to have a slower metabolism and increased fat deposition. This can cause weight gain.

How can you burn calories?

  • Indulging in physical activity can help you to burn calories. Make sure to work out for at least 30 minutes each day. 

However, if you indulge in HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) you can work out for 20 minutes as it is a combination of light and high-intensity exercises.

Strength training exercises like weight-lifting can help in developing muscles. Make sure to indulge in them twice a week. 

If you do not like to go to the gym, simple exercises like brisk walking for 15 minutes, skipping, or running can help. Other exercises that you can indulge in would include swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.

Household activities like gardening, washing the car, or other housework can also help in losing calories.

  • Consuming protein can boost metabolism too. Many individuals tend to have high amounts of fat in their daily diet but fewer amounts of protein. This can result in weight gain.

Protein can aid in developing muscles and increase caloric burning. Some of the protein-rich food include seafood, pulses, lean meat, eggs, dairy products, soy, nuts, and peas.

  • Fiber can aid in losing weight. This is because fiber can promote satiety which can prevent you from eating more. 

When you eat lesser calories, your body starts using up fat for energy to make up for the caloric deficit. This can indeed work coupled with exercise. Fiber is present in whole grains, whole pulses, fruits, leafy veggies, and nuts.

  • Reduce consumption of sugar. Sugar can be commonly found in baked foods, chocolates, candies, desserts, and canned foods.

According to American Heart Association, men should not consume more than 9 tsp (45 gms) of sugar. On the other hand, women should not consume more than 6 tsp (25 gms) of sugar.

Apart from this, beware of added or hidden sugar present in processed foods. Check the ingredient list for labels like brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS).

  • Control consumption of foods containing saturated and polyunsaturated fats. Consume foods and oils containing monounsaturated fats.

Can dietary supplements burn calories?

Dietary or herbal supplements cannot burn calories. Many of these dietary or herbal supplements are not properly regulated by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This makes them unsafe to consume.

If you are consuming some pre-existing medications, it is important to inform your doctor before taking such kinds of supplements.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Do calories make you fat?” and provided information on whether metabolism and calories are related to one another, how to burn calories as well as whether dietary supplements can help to lose weight.


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