Low Carb

How Many Carbs do you Burn Walking?

Max Carmody, MSc

If a 150 pound person goes walking at a moderate pace of 3 miles per hour, after an hour they would burn 224 calories total, or roughly 112 calories from carbs. This is assuming that at a moderate walking base the body burns 50% fat, and 50% protein.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates (carbs) are a type of macronutrient. The other two macronutrients are fat and protein. Your body needs macronutrients in large amounts to function, compared to micronutrients, vitamins and minerals you need in very small amounts. Carbs are starches, sugars, and fibers. They are found in things like grains, milk, and fruits. Your body turns carbs into glucose, to give you the energy to function. The digestive system breaks down carbs into glucose or blood sugar, and your bloodstream absorbs it. There are different types of carbs. The two main types are simple, and complex carbs. Simple carbs provide short bursts of energy, and complex carbs take longer to break down, and are a longer lasting energy source. Simple carbs are things like table sugar, fruit, and milk, Complex carbs are things like whole grains and non-starchy vegetables.

What are Calories?

Calories are the units of energy, that food and drink provide. A calorie is a unit of measurement, it determines the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. Calories are a way to keep track of the total energy budget of the body. When we eat as many calories as we burn, we maintain our weight. When we eat more than we burn, we gain weight. When we burn more than we eat, we lose weight. Our body uses calories in three ways. We use calories for digestion, calories for physical activity, and the biggest %, around 60% supports our organs and tissues. The 60% is our resting metabolic rate, this is how many calories we use when we’re not eating or moving. The recommended daily calorie consumption rate is 2000 for women, and 2500 for men, but each individual person’s is a bit different depending on weight, age, physical activity, and muscle mass.

Carbohydrates vs. Calories

Carbs and calories are different things, although they’re related. We hear about both of them in relation to weight loss and exercise. So what are the differences, exactly? Calories are a unit of measurement, they measure the calories that your body can get from a food or drink. Every macronutrient, fat, protein, and carbohydrates, contains a specific amount of calories. There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates. When you eat, almost everything contains calories. However, some foods do not contain carbs, or contain only extremely small trace amounts. Carbs always contain calories, but calories do not necessarily contain carbs.

Burning Carbs vs. Burning Fat

Both carbs and fat can be a source of energy, and they are both preferred as a form of fuel over protein. Carbs and fat both serve as sources of fuel for tissues and cells. Your “body burns carbs and fat slightly differently – especially during exercise, with carbs burned more during high intensity work. But it’s the total calories you burn that matters the most for weight control, not whether these calories come from carbs or fat”. You can burn both fat and carbs during a workout, and you’ll usually end up burning both. Blood glucose from carbs, will offer “fast” energy, and convert to fuel quickly. Then, because the carbs only have 4 calories each, as the workout continues you’ll start to burn carbs. It takes longer to convert fat into usable energy than carbs, but at 9 calories per gram, it is a more concentrated source of energy.

How Many Calories do you Burn Walking?

Your weight, and your walking speed, are both going to contribute to how many calories that you burn an hour, walking. But for a 150 pound person walking at 3 miles per hour, which is pretty standard, you can expect to burn about 224 calories. There is a table at Healthline.com where you can check out calories burned for your own weight, and walking speed. But in general, the more you weigh, and the faster you walk, the more calories you are going to burn. Walking for 1 hour daily at a moderate pace can help you to lose weight, and can help to preserve lean muscle mass, which often gets lost when you’re in the weight loss process.

How Many Carbs do you Burn Walking?

Lower intensity activities will rely on more fats to supply, energy, while higher intensity activities will take more carbs. The intensity of the exercise is the primary factor that determines how many carbs your body uses. At very high intensities, carbs become the primary source of energy to the body, because you burn them quickly. The respiratory quotient is the ratio of carbon dioxide produced by the body compared to oxygen consumed when braking down carbohydrates. An RQ of 1.0 would mean the body using 100% carbs for energy. The RQ of walking is .85, at .85 you are burning 50% fat and 50% carbs. So if you walked for half an hour, you would burn 127 calories total, or 63.5 from carbs. In contrast, the RQ from running is .89, and 64% of energy comes from carbs, and 36% comes from fat.

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