Let's say I drink a cup of coffee which has strong effect on me my heart rate increases noticeably. Does that mean I would be burning fat even I'm just sitting? Does faster heart rate always equal to more calorie burn?

Seems weird to me because that would mean drinking coffee every day would make you burn many more calories than when you don't especially when you're sensitive to it.

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    Your heart is always beating and you are always burning calories, could you clarify the question? May 7, 2019 at 13:07
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    @JustSnilloc - He is asking that if he is burning 20 calories an hour at a heart rate of 60, and he drinks coffee that raises his HR to 120, is he now burning 40 calories an hour? The answer is no, the question shows a total lack of basic research.
    – JohnP
    May 8, 2019 at 3:51
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    I think this is a perfectly answerable question of someone who read about people claiming all sorts of fitness bs and found a crack in their logic. Not knowing any biochemical basics imo isn't lack of research but lack of education and you are not seriously blaming the op for that?
    – Raditz_35
    May 8, 2019 at 6:22
  • @Raditz_35 - I'm not blaming the OP for anything other than presenting a question poorly. If there was research done, what was it? Where did the claim come from that higher HR = higher calorie burn, i.e. what led them to believe that? Show us why you have confusion around a basic concept. As a community manager says "We aren't trying to replicate google".
    – JohnP
    May 8, 2019 at 9:38
  • @JohnP I absolutely see your point and I don't disagree, but I also see the other questions asked on stack exchange and I don't see how this is worse. I've heard that before, heart rate = calories burned. Maybe that's not so common a statement after all, but I don't think the OP has to reference common myths or obvious misunderstandings. I like quality criteria, I really do, but I 100% get the question and don't think there needs to be any improvement to be answerable. We had the discussion on other se sites, never with the conclusion that simple questions don't deserve an answer
    – Raditz_35
    May 8, 2019 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


You burn calories when any organ in your body works and breaks down macronutrients (glucose, fat or protein) into energy.

You can significantly increase burning calories (in terms of weight loss) only by increasing the use of the skeletal muscles.

Coffee (or anxiety) can increase your heart rate, so your heart muscle will burn few more calories, but your skeletal muscles will not if you are just sitting, so drinking coffee will not really result in any body fat loss (PubMed, 1992).


  • A 155 lbs (70 kg) person running 7 mph (11.2 km/h) can burn 809 Calories per hour (Wisconsin.gov).
  • An average adult heart muscle at rest, let's say beating at 60/min, burns 6 Calories per hour (estimated from this PubMed article). I can't calculate how much calories the heart would burn when beating at 120/min, but it would be on a similar low level.

Thinking the other way around: Can you estimate the calories burnt by knowing your heart rate during physical exercise? Well, there are calculators for that, but they are very unreliable, because the heart rate at the same physical effort can differ greatly from person to person.

Anyway, I hope it's now clear there is a big difference in the amount of calories burnt due to physical exercise and due to heart being excited from coffee or anxiety.

  • Thank you that makes sense. Just to clear up confusions as to why I ask such a question. Like I commented on my question I just wondered of how true the formula of (220-(your age))*(between 60% and 70%) = fat burn, and no muscle burn state. So I assume it only works when enhanced by exercise, if it does at all. May 9, 2019 at 8:31
  • Can you explain the formula (what every number means)? I'll update the answer in a while, anyway.
    – Jan
    May 9, 2019 at 8:38
  • So I'm 26 years old. That means 220-26=194. According to the formula the perfect heart rate to burn only fat is between 60% and 70% of this so between 116 and 136 bpm May 9, 2019 at 8:48
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    Oh, you mean to burn only fat and not muscles? So, you are asking what is the ideal heart rate to burn only fat and not muscles? I doubt this has any realistic use - I can search about it, but this is a separate question then.
    – Jan
    May 9, 2019 at 8:50
  • Yes indeed. That made me think what if I increase my bpm with for example coffee instead of with exercise. (Don't get me wrong it isn't a way for me to get out of exercise I was just curious) But is this real then? If so, does it matter whether I am doing light cardio or heavy cardio? Like walking or running? May 9, 2019 at 8:56

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