Donating plasma is the equivalent of burning 450–625 calories, depending on the amount of plasma you donate. Calories are burned by plasma donation because your body has to use the food you eat in order to replenish the fluids, sugars, and protein lost during donation. However, plasma and blood donations are not weight loss tools. At most, plasma can be donated 2 times per week. Experts agree that weight loss requires performing a calorie-burning activity at least 3 times per week.
How Many Calories Does Donating Plasma Burn?
The exact number of calories you burn by donating plasma depends on the amount of plasma you donate. The breakdown is as follows:
- 690 ml of Plasma: 450–500 calories
- 825 ml of Plasma: 550–600 calories
- 880 ml of Plasma: 600–625 calories
However, you cannot always choose how much plasma you give when you go through the donation process. The amount of plasma collected is based on your weight. If your weight is 149 pounds or less (67 kg) you can donate a maximum of 690 milliliters of plasma. If you weigh 150–175 pounds (68–79 kg), you can donate up to 825 milliliters of plasma. Donors weighing 176 pounds (80 kg) or more can donate up to 880 milliliters of plasma per donation.
Why Does Donating Plasma Burn Calories?
Donating plasma is the equivalent of “burning” calories because calories are removed from your body during the donation process. This is because your plasma contains proteins and sugars. When this plasma is donated, your body has to use the food from your next meal to replenish your plasma. This means that calories that may otherwise turn into fat are converted into plasma.
- Plasma donation literally removes calories from your body.
- Blood plasma contains proteins, sugars, and other compounds that your body must replenish using calories from food.
- Your body prioritizes replenishing plasma after donation, so your calories will go to creating plasma after donation instead of storing fat.
Donating plasma is not calorie burning in the same sense that running or lifting weights burns calories. Activity burns calories by using stored energy to work your muscles. Plasma donation, on the other hand, simply removes caloric content from your body. So, you’ll lose calories and won’t gain weight by donating plasma but you won’t increase your fitness level.
Why Plasma Donation is Not a Weight Loss Tool
Donating plasma is not a shortcut to weight loss because it is unsafe to pair plasma donation with an extremely reduced diet. In order to prevent fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and fainting you must eat well and rehydrate in the 24 hours following plasma donation. Pairing donations with a very restricted diet can severely exhaust you and impair your body’s ability to recover.
- Plasma donation should never be used as a weight-loss strategy.
- Eating and drinking inadequate amounts after plasma donation can lead to dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and fainting.
- In order to lose weight, it’s essential to burn over 300 calories 3 times per week.
- Plasma can only be donated twice per week, at maximum.
Studies have shown that in order to trigger weight loss, it’s essential to engage in calorie-burning exercise at least 3 times per week. You can only donate plasma two times per week. So, you won’t burn enough calories through plasma donation alone to lose significant weight. Instead, it’s best to stay healthy. Replenish your body with plenty of food, water, and rest for 24 hours after donating plasma.
How to Stay Healthy After Plasma Donation
It’s essential that you do not work out within 24 hours after donating plasma. Your body needs time to rest and recover. In order to aid this process, first, get at least 8 hours of rest. Then, drink plenty of water. Eat meals high in iron, such as meat, fish, tofu, beans, and nuts. Additionally, refrain from alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other drug use for at least 24 hours after donation.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep in the next 24 hours.
- Hydrate with plenty of water.
- Eat a high protein meal featuring meat, fish, tofus, whole grains, beans, and/or nuts.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs for 24 hours.
Although you may feel like eating a hearty meal after plasma donation is undoing all the calories you “burned” by donating, it’s essential to put your health first. Plasma donation is entirely safe for healthy individuals, but you can compromise your own health and cause an iron deficiency by not eating enough after you donate.
Can You Lose Weight By Giving Plasma?
You may have heard that donating plasma burns calories. While this is partly true, there’s more to the story than that. Here are the facts:
- Donating plasma is the equivalent of burning 450–625 calories.
- You lose calories during donation because plasma contains calorie-rich proteins and sugars.
- It’s essential to eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water after plasma donation so your body can recover.
- Following plasma donation with reduced meals can put you at risk of post-donation side effects such as nausea and fainting.
- Do not use plasma donation as a substitute for diet and exercise.
- Weight loss requires you to burn calories at least 3 times per week—plasma donation can only be done twice each week.
Plasma donation is a heroic act that helps save lives. If you are a healthy individual considering plasma donation, following through on donation is great for your community and those in need. However, do not use plasma donation as a weight loss strategy. Doing so could compromise your own health by causing dehydration and iron deficiency.