The More You Sweat, the More Weight You Lose?

Some people still believe that sweating is related to the amount of calories you burn, but it's not true. We'll explain why not.
The More You Sweat, the More Weight You Lose?

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Many people believe that the more you sweat, the more weight you lose but this is a myth. The truth is burning calories has little to do with perspiration. If that was the case, those who don’t perspire would never lose pounds.

Let’s look for a moment at what happens in a gym. Many people end up pretty sweaty after a class or routine. Some of them sweat so much they have to keep a towel around and even change all their clothes.

Others are completely dry, as if they haven’t lifted a finger. Thus, will the former slim down more than the latter? No, they won’t. It’s just a popular belief that isn’t true.

Let’s take a look at what happens in the body when you exercise. Today’s article will explain a few points to show you that “the more you sweat, the more you lose weight” is just a tall tale.

Exercise and perspiration

In order to cool you down when your body temperature gets too high, your body has a mechanism we call sweating. Basically, you excrete water through the sweat glands located in your skin. This lowers your body temperature. This is evident in a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science.

The quantity of sweat glands you have is determined by your genes. The average is between 2 and 4 million over your whole body. Studies have revealed that the more you sweat, the more sweat glands you have. But, everyone is different.

A woman drinking.
During exercise, the body loses fluids and electrolytes through sweat. It is therefore essential to rehydrate.

Who sweats the most?

Women usually have more sweat glands than men; although, men’s sweat glands are more active (up to 50 percent more). Likewise, our bodies are different: men have more water in the body and the sweat is more acidic. Get into hormonal differences and women come on top.

Female athletes, for example, start to sweat at a higher temperature and from deeper tissues. At the same effort and temperature, men sweat more. Women, on the other hand, have more mechanisms for cooling their body (especially circulatory mechanisms).

That’s why if you look around the gym, you’re likely to see men sweating and women with reddened skin (especially the face). This happens because the capillaries at the surface of their skin are dilating and giving off heat.

The amount of perspiration also depends on other factors. There are many, but we can highlight:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol or coffee consumption
  • Exercise intensity
  • Weight or amount of fat accumulated
  • Hot and humid weather causes increased sweating
  • Diet (spicy foods and spices increase body temperature)

Noted that there’s evidence according to which some individuals may develop an allergy to sweat. This is because the immune system identifies some of its compounds as harmful. This isn’t common but greatly conditions life habits.

Also read about 8 Foods that Improve Your Skin Health

So, the more you sweat the more weight you lose?

There’s evidence that overweight people sweat more than their slimmer counterparts. The excess body fat increase body temperature because it acts as a “coat.” When there’s effort and movement, your body sweats to give off heat.

It’s true that you lose some weight when you sweat but it’s mainly water and minerals. In other words, sweating doesn’t burn calories and you can’t eliminate fat through the sweat glands. Furthermore, losing weight has more to do with other factors, such as increasing muscle mass and reducing accumulated fat.

What you lose exercising you’ll gain back as soon as you drink water or sports drinks. Still, you should never stop replacing your fluids, especially before, during, and after exercising.

The risk of believing that the more you sweat the more weight you’ll lose

As we said above, the idea that the more you sweat the more weight you lose is quite prevalent. This is why some people purpose promote excessive sweat, believing they’ll lose weight by doing so.

For example, they dress in stuffy clothes or those made of synthetic fabrics to sweat profusely. Others put on girdles and even wrap their abdomens in plastic.

The only thing this will do is lead to dehydration. In less severe cases, you’ll be very thirsty and fatigued. However, the effects of dehydration are severe and can range from dizziness, headache, and blurry vision to even passing out.

Exercise and weight loss

People who are convinced that the more you sweat, the more weight you lose.

Sweating doesn’t increase caloric expenditure. Therefore, even if you’ve sweated a lot during your exercise session, you may lose less weight than someone who hasn’t excreted a single drop through their glands.

So why does exercise lead to weight loss? The aerobic workout or routine has the ability to make us lose weight, but not because of the amount of perspiration. Weight loss is attributed to the intensity of the sport you are doing.

For example, running for 30 minutes helps burn 300 calories, regardless of the amount of sweat on your shirt. Don’t forget that sweating is the body’s way of maintaining a stable body temperature. That is the function, not to help us lose weight.

If it were so simple to lose weight by sweating, all we would have to do is sit in front of a stove, go to the sauna or lie in the sun at midday. Or wear a fleece jacket in the middle of summer. And that’s just not the way it is.

Activities that can help you burn fat

We’ve already busted that myth of sweating being equivalent with slimming down. We’ve also said that if you want to lose weight you must choose high or moderate-intensity exercise. Surely you want to know what kind of exercise that is! Here you go:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Boxing
  • Skiing
  • Bicycling
  • Brisk walking
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Practicing martial arts

During the practice of these exercises the muscles obtain energy from fat reserves, therefore they help to reduce them. And together with a proper diet, you can get the results you are looking for… But remember that it doesn’t matter how much you sweat, but how hard you work.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hendricks AJ., Vaughn AR., Clark AK., Yosipovitch G., et al., Sweat mechanisms and dysfunctions in atopic dermatitis. J Dermatol Sci, 2018. 89 (2): 105-111.
  • Hodge BD., Sanvictores T., Brodell RT., Anatomy, skin sweat glands. StatPearls, 2020.
  • Takahagi S., Tanaka A., Hide M., Sweat allergy. Allergol Int, 2018. 67 (4): 435-441.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.