Where fat goes when you lose weight is a question that probably everyone trying to lose weight has had. Most of us think it just melts and we sweat it away. But is that the truth? You are about to find out!

Most diets are based on the same basic principle: if you want to lose weight, you have to get rid of excess body fat. That’s logic, right? The problem is that fat cannot simply be converted to heat, as it is often claimed. We lose pound after pound but what happens with that fat? Does it melt and then we sweat it? What happens with it? It has to go somewhere!

Fat cannot become heat in the body

“Fat burning” is a misleading term – at least if one were to approach the question of where fat goes when you lose weight. The use of the term “burn” in this context has led to the possibly largest diet myth of modern times: fat is transformed into energy.

This is wrong. And to make it easy to explain: Like every biomass, there is a fat cell of many molecules and these cannot be excreted in the form of energy. This would be contrary to the so-called mass conservation rate, which stipulates that in a chemical reaction the amount of the particles involved does not change – only the composition of these particles. In other words, to convert mass to energy, it would have to be accelerated to more than the speed of light.

Fat cannot become heat in the body. It is true, however, that heat is produced during the conversion of fat – but only as a by-product. It is also true that fat is converted. But in what?

Removed fat is exhaled

The surprising answer to this question was presented by a researcher from the University of New South Wales. In a recently published study, the scientists show that fat is not burned, but is exhaled.

The reason: our body metabolizes fat, more specifically the fatty acid C55H104O6, mainly to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is excreted through the air. A smaller proportion, on the other hand, is converted into water (H2O) and reaches e.g. Sweat, urine, or tears from the body.

Fat is constantly excreted by our body in this way – even when we sleep. However, whether this is decreased depends primarily on whether the body has been given more fat by food than it can exhale in the same period.

Sport increases the metabolic process in the body

However, there is the possibility to increase the consumption of energy and thus the oxidation of fat in the body – by movement. If for example, for an hour – instead of lying in bed – you go jogging, the fat-decomposing metabolic process in the body is increased by about 700 percent. This also increases the amount of grease which is excreted as carbon dioxide and water. Depending on how much fat has been absorbed, the chance to lose weight by sport is increasing.

In order to activate this metabolism process, the body needs to absorb oxygen. For our body to completely oxidize ten kilograms of fat, it must inhale a total of 29 kilos of oxygen. That sounds easier than it is. Until an average person breathes this amount of oxygen with an average breathing (13 breaths per minute), about 54 days pass.

The amount of particles reacting in this oxidation process – ten Kg of fat and 29 Kg of oxygen – are ultimately excreted in the same amount, but in the other form of 28 Kg of carbon dioxide and 11 Kg of water.

The pure body fat is thereby decomposed – without the oxygen added by breathing – in a ratio of 84 percent CO2 and 16 percent H2O. In the meantime, a mass of 10 Kg of body fat is converted to 8.4 Kg of carbon dioxide and 1.6 Kg of water. The lungs are therefore the main excretory organ in the human body during the weight loss.

Lose weight through frequent breathing?

Yet, according to the researchers, this does not mean that one can lose more weight by breathing more. Breath rhythm and metabolism are precisely coordinated. If this equilibrium is disturbed – and a person breathes more than necessary for metabolic processes in the body – this leads to hyperventilation. The consequences may be dizziness, heart palpitations, and fainting. So, don’t try it because it won’t work!