How Many Calories Does Throwing Up Burn 2024? Surprising Facts

It’s an uncomfortable topic, but vomiting’s physical exertion has some curious calorie-burning implications. “How Many Calories Does Throwing Up Burn? Surprising Facts” examines the energy your body expends during this involuntary action.

How Many Calories Does Throwing Up Burn?

Physiological Process of Vomiting

Vomiting is your body’s reflex to remove the stomach’s contents through the mouth. It is a complex physiological response that can be triggered by various factors, including illness, digestion problems, and ingestion of toxins.

Your body’s muscles contract and expel the contents forcefully, which does require energy. The brain regulates this process, and several systems in your body are activated to manage this expulsion.

Here’s what happens during vomiting:

  1. Nausea signals the need to vomit.
  2. The diaphragm contracts and the abdominal muscles tighten, helping to propel stomach contents upward.
  3. The lower esophageal sphincter opens allowing the contents to be expelled.
  4. Energy is used in these muscle movements and contractions.

Calories Burned During Vomiting

When you vomit, your body burns a small amount of calories due to the physical exertion. The act itself is quite energetic, and your muscles do the heavy lifting. The calorie burn during vomiting is relatively minor compared with other physical activities or your body’s resting metabolic rate.

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): This is the rate at which your body burns energy while at rest.
  • Calorie Burn: The act of vomiting expends energy over your RMR but significantly less than what is burned during exercise or other daily activities.

The actual calorie burn could range between 100 and 500 calories, depending on body size and composition factors. But this is not a healthy or sustainable way to manage weight.

Vomiting can have serious health implications and does not provide significant caloric loss when compared to the potential harm to your metabolism and overall health.

Implications for Weight and Health

A person's hand holding a nutrition label with the words "Implications for Weight and Health" while a question "how many calories does throwing up burn" is written on a piece of paper next to it

Vomiting and Weight Loss

Throwing up occasionally due to illness is unlikely to impact your weight significantly as it doesn’t lead to a substantial calorie deficit. However, if you’re considering purging as a weight loss method, you should know that it’s a dangerous practice with minimal and temporary effects on weight.

While you might see some initial decrease in body weight, this change is often due to a loss of water weight and stomach contents rather than fat. To achieve sustainable weight loss, a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and regular exercise is the healthful way to go.

Health Risks and Nutrition

Purging can cause a cascade of serious health issues, far beyond the scope of weight loss. Your digestive system, including the esophagus, can suffer from repeated exposure to stomach acids, leading to conditions like esophagitis.

Nutritional deficiencies arise as your body loses essential nutrients and compounds like electrolytes, disrupting your heartbeat and overall electrolyte balance. Moreover, frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration and potential complications with diabetes due to erratic absorption of sugars.

Avoiding purging and seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is the best strategy for healthy weight management. They can help you with a calorie calculator to understand your dietary requirements and monitor your mental health throughout the weight loss journey. Remember, true excitement in weight loss comes when you’re feeling your best, both physically and mentally—and that comes with nutrition, not deprivation!

Contextualizing Caloric Expenditure

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Calories and Exercise

When you engage in physical activity, your body exerts energy, measured in calories. The Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) value is handy here; it represents the energy cost of activities. A MET of 1 epitomizes the calories burned at rest, while higher MET values indicate more strenuous activities.

For example, running may have a MET of 8 or higher, suggesting a substantial calorie burn. Physical activity of various intensities—from a light walk to an intense spin class—increases your calorie expenditure significantly beyond your body’s resting rate.

ActivityMET ValueApproximate Calories Burned per Hour^
Walking (3mph)3.3297*
Running (5mph)8.3747*

^ *Based on a person weighing 150 pounds (approx. 68 kg).

Understanding Resting Metabolic Rate

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), is the minimum energy—measured in calories—your body requires at rest for essential functions such as breathing and maintaining body temperature. Factors like age, genetics, and body composition play a role in your RMR, with muscle tissue burning more calories than fat at rest.

You can estimate your daily calorie needs with the Harris-Benedict or Mifflin-St Jeor equations, which consider your activity level, fitness level, and body composition. While RMR accounts for the majority of your daily calorie expenditure, remember that additional calories are burned through physical activity, the thermic effect of food (TEF), and even activities you don’t consider exercise, known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) such as walking to your car or fidgeting.


Do the calories count if I throw up?

If you throw up after eating, your body has already absorbed some calories, so not all calories are negated.

Does throwing up help burn calories?

Throwing up does not effectively burn calories and is harmful to your health.

Does feeling sick burn calories?

Feeling sick can increase metabolic rate slightly, but it is not a significant calorie-burning state.

Does throwing up alcohol lose the calories?

Throwing up alcohol may reduce calorie absorption slightly, but your body retains calories from the initial intake.

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