Photo: Michael Lyn

Where Does Your Fat Go?

By now just about everybody knows the secret to burning fat is exercise and swimming is one of the best total body exercises around, but what you don’t know it where does that fat go when it is “burned.”

Does it turn into other energy? Nope. Is it peed or pooped out? That’s not right either. It turns out you exhale the fat from your body.

Yes, you read that correctly. It turns out your lungs are the primary organ involved in weight loss.

Say what?

The Technical Explanation

Fat is stored in your body primarily in the form of triglyceride molecules, which consist of just 3 kinds of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. In order to  lose weight, your triglycerides must break up into building blocks, which happens in a process known as oxidation.

When a triglyceride is oxidized (or “burned”), the process consumes molecules of oxygen while producing the waste products of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).

“None of this biochemistry is new, but for unknown reasons it seems nobody has thought of performing these calculations before,” researchers Ruben Meerman and Andrew Brown of the University of New South Wales in Australia explained. “The quantities make perfect sense but we were surprised by the numbers that popped out.”

They calculated that in order to burn 22 lbs. of fat, you need to inhale a ton of oxygen (64 lbs.), Then the chemical process of burning that fat will produce 62 lbs. of carbon dioxide and 24 lbs. of water.

The research showed that during weight loss, 84% of the fat that is lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs, whereas the remaining 16% becomes water, according to the study published in the medical journal BMJ.

The Plainspeak Explanation

When you sit you don’t exhale as much carbon as you do when you exercise. Therefore, you are not burning or ridding your body of any fat. So, when you dive in the pool, do that total body exercise, and get breathing hard, you are kickstarting that oxidization process.

So, get up and move, and preferably swim! (And be glad that last set has you breathing so hard!)