Where does your fat go when you lose weight? It’s a good question isn’t it?
When you burn off fat during exercise is it converted into energy or heat or do
you excrete it? All of these sound pretty plausible to me but you would be
surprised when you find out what really happens to that fat when you hit the
Let’s start with your fat cells. Once you gain fat cells you can never lose
them. They will always remain part of your body no matter how much exercise you
do. Why? Well it’s because your fat cells shrink when you lose weight, which is
why you will look thinner but if you put the weight back on those fat cells
will enlarge again. So when these fat cells shrink where does the fat that is
inside them go? According to Physicist Ruben Meerman and Biochemist Andrew
Brown, the answer is more surprising than you would think. Their findings were
published in the British Medical Journal recently and they say there is
“surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight
loss.” These are their findings.
“Excess dietary carbohydrates and protein are converted to a type of fat
called triglyceride. When people attempt to lose weight, they are attempting to
metabolize these triglycerides while keeping their fat-free mass intact…
are comprised of three types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Triglyceride molecules can be broken down only by unlocking these atoms,
through a process known as oxidation.
The researchers chose to follow the path of these atoms when leaving the body. They
found that when 10 kg of fat were oxidized, 8.4 kg were converted and excreted
as carbon dioxide (CO2) via the lungs, and 1.6 kg became water (H20).
In order for 10 kg of human fat to be oxidized, the researchers calculated that 29 kg of
oxygen must be inhaled. Oxidation then produces a total of 28 kg of CO2 and
11 kg of H20.”
So quite unbelievably, our fat leaves our body as carbon dioxide, which
explains the need for exercise to burn fat. The more we respire the more fat we
burn but could we not just sit on the sofa breathing heavily to burn fat? No.
It doesn’t quite work like that, plus you would start to hyperventilate which
certainly won’t be good for your health and heart.
It seems that this is not new science; rather that it has been misunderstood.
The equation does involve a release in energy just not in the way you might
think. A quote from The Atlantic explains it rather well, “If you were
able to convert your fat stores [directly] into energy, you would explode in a
glorious, catastrophic spectacle…”
To explain it in simpler terms, according to their calculations, you exhale 84% of your lost fat, the last 16%
is metabolised into water and excreted through sweat and urine. It is estimated
that substituting one hour of stationary lounging with one hour of moderate
exercise (to increase your respiratory rate) your metabolic rate is greatly
increased. However, you can easily counteract any potential weight loss by
eating too much food, especially by eating the wrong kinds of food.