healthy living

Popular Science writer thinks 1 lb of muscle outweighs 1 lb of fat

This article had promise…until I got to the segment highlighted below. Ms. Maldarelli, who is both a writer and an editor for Popular Science makes an error — twice in this short piece — that most kids stop making in eighth grade science.

She writes that a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat. And as we all know, a pound of iron also weighs more than a pound of feathers. Not. It’s sad, really, because this kind careless, thoughtless, clueless writing is what reinforces all kinds of misinformation in the marketplace.

To Ms. Maldarelli…a pound of fat and a pound of muscle are of equal weight (or, more correctly, mass). They are of different density, so the pound of muscle takes up less space. You and your editorial team have some serious things to work on because if you cannot grasp and correctly communicate something this simple, one shudders at the prospect of what other messaging you’ve mangled.

While it’s true that muscle weighs more than fat, most people who are carrying around a few extra pounds are doing so in the form of adipose tissue.

Popular Science: Your weight affects how long you live—but it’s extremely complicated.