Where does the lost body fat go?
Hard to believe but soon it will be Christmas again. Usually this means the odd unhealthy holiday meal, too little exercise and possibly a few cookies too many. So if you plan to go on a diet from January 1st to lose a few kilos, you might wonder where the body fat actually disappears to. Is it possibly converted into heat? Converted into muscle mass? Or does it simply leave your body in the form of urine, sweat or excrement?
The study on burning body fat
To answer this question first hand, a study was conducted at the University of New South Wales in Sydney in 2014. In part of their study, Australian scientists Andrew Brown and Ruben Meerman asked 150 people, including 50 dieticians, 50 general practitioners and 50 personal trainers, where they believe body fat disappears to. The answers given were quite varied. Of the 150 experts, most of them predicted that body fat is lost by converting fat into heat or energy. The remaining alternative answers were that the lost body fat is converted into muscle or leaves the body via sweat, urine and feces.
In what way is body fat stored at all?
In order to be able to answer the question of what happens to the lost body fat exactly, you should first know in what form it is stored in the body. If proteins or carbohydrates that are not consumed are absorbed, the organism converts them into “triglycerides”. They are stored in the so-called “adipocytes”, the fat cells. If fat cannot be consumed, it does not necessarily have to be converted, but the body can store it directly as a fat depot.
When body fat is burned, only the triglycerides that are located in the body fat cells are consumed. The fat cells therefore remain for a lifetime unless they are surgically removed, for example during liposuction. In principle, the fat cells develop during childhood or puberty and after that the number remains constant. If, for example, weight gain occurs, the fat cells do not multiply, but simply expand.
Can fat be converted into heat and energy in the body?
Everyone is familiar with the terms burning body fat, although these are misleading in terms of answering the question of what happens to the fat that is broken down. Especially the word “burning” in this context has probably led to one of the greatest dietary myths of our time, namely that fat is converted into energy.
This statement is false. To put it simply, a fat cell, just like any other biomass, consists of different molecules that are not excreted in the form of energy. This would lead to a violation of the law of conservation of mass. This law states that even in a chemical reaction the amount of particles involved does not change. It is only the composition of the particles that changes. Put simply, for the mass to be converted into energy, it would have to be accelerated to more than the speed of light.
So body fat cannot be converted to heat or warmth in the body. What is true, however, is that heat is only a by-product of fat conversion. Furthermore, it is also true that fat is converted, but into what?
Lost body fat is exhaled
Lost body fat is exhaled In their study, scientists from New South Wales in Sydney found that most of the fat lost is exhaled. This answer is initially quite surprising. However, the research showed that the body metabolizes fat mainly to carbon dioxide, which in turn is exhaled. A very small proportion is converted into water and is discharged from the body via tears, urine or sweat, for example.
In this way, fat is constantly excreted from our body, even during sleep. Whether you lose weight depends solely on whether you eat more fat with meals than your body needs or can exhale in the same time window.
Does exercise increase the fat-burning metabolic process in the body?
In principle, there is one way to increase energy consumption and thus the oxidation of fat in the body, namely through sufficient exercise. For example, if you go jogging for an hour instead of lying on the couch, in addition to a healthy diet, you increase the fat-burning metabolic process by around 700%. Furthermore, the amount of fat excreted as carbon monoxide and water is also increased. Depending on how much fat is ingested through food, exercise also increases the chance of reducing body fat.
In order to be able to activate the fat reducing metabolic process at all, the body needs oxygen, which is absorbed through breathing. In order for the body to break down or completely oxidise (combine with oxygen) ten kilograms of body fat, for example, the body has to breathe in a whole 29 kilograms of oxygen. This sounds easier than it is, because the average person can inhale this amount in about 54 days.
Pure body fat is broken down in a ratio of 84% carbon dioxide and 16% water without the oxygen added by breathing. If the mass of 10 kg of body fat is converted, this results in an amount of 8.4 kg of carbon dioxide and 1.6 kg of water. The main excretory organ in weight loss is therefore our lungs.
Can fat burning be accelerated by correct or increased breathing?
The lungs are therefore the most important organ when it comes to burning body fat. It is therefore possible to increase the oxygen supply with simple breathing exercises in order to burn excess fat more efficiently. It also makes sense to ensure calm breathing during training sessions to ensure that the body is supplied with sufficient oxygen.
But just so that one thing is clear, you should not breathe in and out very deeply over a long period of time, because in the worst case this could lead to hyperventilation or fainting.
Our tip: In addition to sports, an individual nutritional concept is also important to achieve your goals. You can easily apply for your individual nutritional concept online and we will help you to achieve your personal goal with permanent care as well as with varied recipes.
Conclusion: Where does the lost body fat go?
According to the Australian study, most of the lost body fat is excreted through breathing. Yes, anyone who now believes that it is possible to lose weight by breathing alone is unfortunately on the wrong track. The idea is a good one, but it won’t work. Unfortunately, reducing body fat can only be achieved through a balanced or healthy diet and sport. Therefore, all that remains is for us to wish you success in losing weight, maintaining weight or building muscle.