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Unshed Tears? Does Crying Burn Calories: Exploring the Facts

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  • Post last modified:31 August 2023

Have you ever wondered if crying can help you lose weight? It’s a common question that many people have asked, but the answer may not be as straightforward as you think. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind tears and weight loss to provide you with a well-rounded view of the topic.

Key Takeaways:

  • Crying is a natural bodily response that can occur for a variety of reasons.
  • Many people believe that crying can help burn calories and contribute to weight loss.
  • Scientific research has investigated the relationship between tears and calorie burn, but the evidence is inconclusive.
  • Emotional health and weight management may be interrelated, and crying can be a form of emotional release.

The Relationship Between Tears and Calorie Burn

Have you ever wondered if crying can actually burn calories? Let’s explore the science behind the relationship between tears and metabolism.

When we cry, tears are produced by the lacrimal glands located above our eyes. These tears contain water, salt, and enzymes that serve to clean and protect the eyes. However, emotional crying – such as when we are sad or overwhelmed – can lead to an increase in heart rate and respiratory rate. This physiological response can cause the body to burn calories.

According to some estimates, emotional crying can result in an expenditure of 1.3 calories per minute. While this may not seem like much, it can add up over time. In fact, one study found that crying for an hour could burn up to 78 calories.

It’s important to note, however, that the calorie burn associated with crying is relatively small compared to other forms of exercise. For example, moderate cardio exercise for an hour can burn anywhere from 350-500 calories. Additionally, the act of crying itself does not directly lead to weight loss. Rather, the potential impact on metabolism is a secondary effect.

Overall, the relationship between tears and calorie burn is complex and still not completely understood. While crying may lead to a small increase in calorie expenditure, it should not be relied upon as a weight loss tool. Instead, incorporating regular physical activity and a balanced diet are the most effective ways to achieve weight management goals.

Examining the Research: Do Tears Really Burn Calories?

While crying is often associated with strong emotions, such as sadness or joy, many people also wonder if tears can contribute to burning calories. To answer this question, we looked at existing scientific research on the topic.

One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that tears do, in fact, contain trace amounts of proteins and electrolytes that can contribute to the body’s calorie burn. However, the study also noted that the amount of calories burned through tears is minimal, and not enough to make a significant impact on weight loss.

Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that crying can increase the body’s metabolic rate, leading to a slight increase in calorie burn. However, this increase was also relatively small and not likely to have a significant impact on weight loss.

Overall, while there is some evidence that tears may contribute to calorie burn, it is not enough to make a significant difference in weight loss. It is important to note that there are many other factors, such as diet and exercise, that have a much greater impact on weight management.

Calorie Burn and Emotional Health: The Connection

While the idea of burning calories through crying may be intriguing, the benefits of emotional release extend far beyond weight loss. In fact, there is growing evidence to support the notion that allowing oneself to express emotions can have a positive impact on mental health and overall well-being.

Research suggests that emotional crying can help to reduce stress and promote feelings of relaxation. This is due to the release of endorphins and other feel-good hormones that occur during crying. In turn, this may lead to improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and a more positive outlook on life.

Furthermore, suppressing emotions can have negative consequences for both mental and physical health. Studies have linked emotional suppression to problems such as depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. By allowing oneself to cry and express emotions, individuals may be able to improve their emotional health and reduce their risk of developing these issues.

While the precise relationship between emotional health and weight loss is not yet fully understood, it is clear that the two are closely intertwined. By prioritizing emotional health and allowing oneself to experience and express emotions, individuals may be able to improve their overall well-being and achieve their weight loss goals in a healthier and more sustainable way.


After exploring the facts, research, and potential connections between crying and calorie burn, we have come to a conclusion.

Firstly, while tears are produced during emotional crying, the relationship between tears and calorie burn is not yet fully understood. Some studies suggest that there may be a small increase in metabolic rate during crying, but the evidence is not conclusive.

Secondly, even if crying were to burn some calories, it would likely only be a negligible amount. Therefore, crying should not be considered a viable strategy for weight loss or management.

However, we do recognize the broader benefits of allowing oneself to express emotions through crying. It can be a form of emotional release and may contribute to overall mental health and well-being. In this sense, crying may indirectly support weight management goals by promoting better emotional health.

In conclusion, crying may not be the magic solution for calorie burn, but it can be a healthy way to cope with emotions and improve overall well-being.


Q: Does crying burn calories?

A: While crying may cause some physiological changes in the body, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that crying alone burns a significant number of calories.

Q: Can emotional crying contribute to weight loss?

A: Emotional crying may provide a temporary release of emotions and help with emotional well-being, but it is unlikely to directly contribute to weight loss.

Q: Are there any health benefits to crying?

A: Crying can have various psychological and emotional benefits, such as stress relief and emotional catharsis. However, it is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and proper weight management practices.

Q: What determines the number of calories burned during crying?

A: The number of calories burned during any activity is influenced by factors such as the intensity and duration of the activity, individual metabolism, and body composition. Crying, on its own, is not considered a significant physical activity that would result in substantial calorie burn.

Q: Is there any research on the relationship between crying and calorie burn?

A: While there have been some studies examining the physiological changes during crying, there is limited scientific research specifically focused on the calorie burning effects of crying. More research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.