I recently watched a science video in which the presenter argues that having more lean mass aids burning more calories.

The below is the summary of what she said:

Having more lean mass means more calories are burned. I have increased my lean mass by 7 pounds and therefore the basic metabolic rate in me can burn 1600 calories instead of 1200.

She also associates this with sarcopenia.

The body's muscle mass degenerates as we age (Sarcopenia). This is the reason why we are not able to eat more food as grow older.

Is this claim true? Does increasing the lean mass increase the over all metabolism rate?


Any tissue, being alive, needs energy to sustain intracellular processes. So, having any additional tissue will increase your resting metabolic requirements.

In this study, they looked at the differences in resting energy expenditure (REE) in non-obese adults as measured by indirect calorimetry, and correlated this with whole body lean muscle mass LBM). [1]

REE showed positive relationships with whole body LBM (LBMb; r=0.89) as well as with regional LBM (LBMtrunk = LBMt, r = 0.88, and LBMarms+legs = LBMe for LBMextremities, r = 0.89)

[1] Muller MJ, Illner K, Bosy-Westphal A, [..], Heller M. Regional lean body mass and resting energy expenditure in non-obese adults. Eur J Nutr. 2001 Jun;40(3):93-7. PubMed PMID: 11697446.

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