There is an obsession with dieting. People think that fat is converted into energy, but the problem with this theory is that it goes against the law of conservation of matter that all chemical reactions follow.
The world is obsessed with the fashion of dieting and losing weight. However, few know how those pounds of fat that retract the balance disappears.
Not even the 150 doctors, dieticians, and personal trainers that we surveyed knew how to resolve this doubt. What people usually think is that fat becomes energy, but the problem with this theory is that it goes against the law of conservation of matter that all chemical reactions follow.
Some of the respondents thought that fat becomes muscle (which is impossible), and others assumed that we expel it from our body when we go to the bathroom. Only three of the respondents answered correctly. This means that 98% of the health professionals in our study could not explain how weight loss occurs.
So, if it does not become energy or muscle and is not lost when going to the bathroom, where does the fat go?
The Explanation About The Metabolism Of Fat
The correct answer is that the fat is converted into carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide is exhaled and the water passes to the circulatory system until it is expelled through urine or sweat. If you lose 10 kilos of fat, 8.4 kilos are exactly lost through the lungs and the remaining 1.6 kilos becomes water. Which means that almost all the weight we lose is exhaled.
This surprises almost everyone, but in reality, almost everything we eat comes out through the lungs. Each carbohydrate and almost all the fats we consume are converted into carbon dioxide and water. The same goes for alcohol.
The proteins also share the same fate, except some of them that are converted into urea and other solids that we expel in the form of urine.
The only food that reaches the intact and undigested colon is dietary fiber (such as corn). Everything else we eat is absorbed by blood and organs, and until it is digested, it goes nowhere.
The Kilos That Enter By Leaving
We have all heard that “what goes in for what comes out”, but in this case, energy is a very confusing concept, even for health professionals and scientists who study obesity.
The reason why we gain or lose weight loses all the mystery if we keep track of all the kilos and not just those enigmatic calories.
According to the latest official figures, Australians consume 3.5 kilos of food and drink a day. Of these, 415 grams are solid macronutrients, 23 grams are fiber and the remaining 3 kilograms are water.
What has not been said is that we also inhale more than 600 grams of oxygen, and that figure is equally important for our waist.
If you give your body 3.5 kilos of food and water, in addition to 600 grams of oxygen, you have to get rid of 4.1 kilos or you will gain weight. Therefore, if you are looking to lose weight, you have to get rid of those 4.1 kilos. But how is that done?
The 415 grams of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and alcohol that most Australians consume daily will produce exactly 740 grams of carbon dioxide, 280 grams of water (like a cup) and about 35 grams of urea and other solids that expel in form of urine.
The resting metabolic rate of a person with an average weight of 75 kilos (when the body uses energy and the person is not moving) is 590 grams of carbon dioxide daily. There are no pills or remedies that increase that value, despite claims you may have heard.
The good news is that every night we exhale 200 grams of carbon dioxide while we sleep soundly, which means that we have exhaled a quarter of our daily goal before we even get out of bed.
Eat Less, Exhale More
So, if the fat turns into carbon dioxide, could the mere act of breathing make us lose weight? Unfortunately, no. Inhaling and exhaling more than necessary is called hyperventilation and the only thing you can do is get dizzy or even pass out. The only way to consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide in your body is by moving the muscles.
Although there is more good news. Simply by standing and changing clothes more often, the metabolic rate doubles. That is, if you spend 24 hours trying all your outfits would exhale more than 1,200 grams of carbon dioxide.
More realistically, going for a walk triples the metabolic rate, like cooking, vacuuming or sweeping.
Metabolizing 100 grams of fat consumes 290 grams of oxygen and produces 280 of carbon dioxide, in addition to 110 grams of water. The food you eat can not change these figures.
Therefore, to lose 100 grams of fat you have to exhale 280 of carbon dioxide over what it will produce by digesting the food, whatever it may be.
Any diet that gives us less “gasoline” than we burn will give results, but with so many misconceptions about how weight loss occurs … few understand why.
Article translated thanks to the collaboration with Fundación Lilly.
Ruben Meerman is a research associate at the University of New South Wales in Australia, Andrew Brown is Professor at the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences of the same university.