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Where Does All Our Fat Go When We’re Losing Weight?

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Where Does All Our Fat Go When We’re Losing Weight?

As a new year begins, one of the most popular resolutions that many of us will have made is to lose some weight and get healthier. By now you have probably been inundated with numerous ads, emails, websites, and articles about the best diets and exercise techniques you should be using to ensure you’re a prime human specimen by summer.

I’m currently partaking in the 30 Day Shred, and although I feel better I’m not really seeing a huge difference so far. So I started thinking: where does the fat go as we lose weight? Like many others, I have always thought that fat is converted into energy and used as heat or to build muscle. However, recent research suggests this may not be the case. In fact, one study says that losing weight may literally be as simple as breathing.

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Back in March 2014, Professor Andrew Brown of the University of New South Wales was working with Australian TV personality and former physicist Ruben Meerman on an ABC-TV program, Catalyst Science. Meerman lost an impressive amount of weight in 2013 and had been interested in discovering how the fat was leaving his body.

“I lost 15 kilograms in 2013 and simply wanted to know where those kilograms were going. After a self-directed, crash course in biochemistry, I stumbled onto this amazing result,” Meerman writes. “With a worldwide obesity crisis occurring, we should all know the answer to the simple question of where the fat goes. The fact that almost nobody could answer it took me by surprise, but it was only when I showed Andrew my calculations that we both realised how poorly this topic is being taught.”

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After their initial meeting the duo then spent several months investigating the different ways fat leaves the body as we work it off. Their results, which were published in the British Medical Journal in mid December, are rather astonishing: we lose weight as we breathe out, or as Meerman says: “it goes into thin air.”

www.bmj.com
    www.bmj.com

    How Does It Work?

    When we consume excessive carbohydrates and proteins they are converted into chemical compounds known as triglycerides, which consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These triglycerides are then stored in lipid droplets of fat cells, where they wait to be metabolized.

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    Meerman and Brown’s experiments tracked atoms of fat as they were metabolized to see where they went, and found that the majority of them exited our bodies as carbon dioxide.

    They then calculated that in order to lose 10 kilograms of fat, humans must inhale at least 29 kilograms of oxygen. This in turn produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water. A massive 8.4 of those 10 kilograms is exhaled through carbon dioxide. The other 1.6 kilograms of fat is excreted as water, via urine, sweat, tears, breath and other bodily fluids.

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    www.bmj.com
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      Meerman’s findings are now being investigated and praised by many in the scientific community. Professor Brown stated: “Ruben’s novel approach to the biochemistry of weight loss was to trace every atom in the fat being lost and, as far as I am aware, his results are completely new to the field. He has also exposed a completely unexpected black hole in the understanding of weight loss amongst the general public and health professionals alike.”

      Of course, although it turns out that lungs are the primary organs for excreting weight loss, the authors do not recommend you simply breathe a lot in order to lose weight quicker. This will inevitably lead to hyperventilation and possibly even loss of consciousness.

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      Brown and Meerman are now focusing on trying to get secondary schools and university biochemistry curriculums to include their findings in an attempt to correct any spreading misconceptions about weight loss.

      Featured photo credit: gratisography via gratisography.com

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      Siobhan Harmer

      Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on January 27, 2022

      5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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      5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

      Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

      “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

      Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

      Food is a universal necessity.

      It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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      Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

      Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

      Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

      Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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      The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

      Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

      This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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      Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

      Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

      Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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      So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

      Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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