[Image Source: BMJ]
It’s true, society is obsessed with self-image and to create a successful click bait all you need to include are the words “latest fat-burning.” But while the culture is fixed on this image of skinny bodies and the mission to achieve them, no body ever really questions where exactly does that fat go once it’s ideally “burned.” While some would argue ‘well who cares as long as it’s gone’, that answer is just not good enough for us here at IE, as we strive to understand the ultimate destiny of fat that is lost.
What was really surprising is to hear how many health professionals could not give a solid answer of what EXACTLY happens to fat when lost, also how many of them were wrong when we found out the real answer. If you thought that most fat burned converts itself into energy for the body, you would also be among a majority of doctors, dietitians and personal trainers who thought the same. Being amongst these professionals unfortunately does not make you right, though. Other theories, predicting where fat goes once burned up by the body include muscle building, sweat, feces and decent number of honest “I don’t know’s”.
Luckily for us, a team at UNSW Science in Sydney examined exactly what does happen to the shed pounds of fat once we work them off, and the answer is really surprising. These researchers found that a majority of the fat broken down is expelled from the body through our breath. That’s right, simple, easy respiration.
The study’s lead author and physicist, Ruben Meerman, and his team calculated the biomolecular reactions that result in weight loss, and then traced these atoms through the process of being released from the body. They found that a majority of the atom mass was breathed out through carbon monoxide. This makes total sense as some of the best workouts leave you huffing and puffing, little did you know, a process enabling your body to expel fat through carbon dioxide atoms. They put it to us this way,
“If you follow the atoms in 10 kilograms of fat as they are ‘lost’, 8.4 of those kilograms are exhaled as carbon dioxide through the lungs. The remaining 1.6 kilograms becomes water, which may be excreted in urine, feces, sweat, breath, tears and other bodily fluids.”
This video does an excellent job of summing up some of the findings on breaking down lipids.