As much as we have come a long way in understanding what happens when we lose weight, there is a surprising amount of misinformation circulation regarding where your fat goes when you reduce your size. In fact, you may be easily be among the vast majority of people who don’t know exactly what happens to their fat cells as they diet.
Although we know that we get smaller when we’re dieting successfully, you likely don’t ask where your fat goes once you can’t see it anymore.
The reason you likely don’t actually know where your fat goes when you lose it is because the answer is not actually as straightforward as most of us think. Therefore, the odds are that we’ve heard either diluted or entirely misunderstood interpretations regarding what happens as you lose weight.
The most popular belief regarding what happens to fat when they lose weight include:
• That it’s flushed away – Though you may defecate a certain amount of undigested dietary fat, our body fat does not enter the digestive tract to be flushed away with feces when we lose weight. This is not a part of the process.
• It is transformed into energy – This is only partially true. Indeed, body fat is stored on the body to be used as fuel when we are functioning in a calorie deficit. However, body fat is not converted directly into energy.
The truth of the matter is that the fat is lost in several different ways. The fat cells, themselves, remain. Gaining and losing weight is typically a matter of those cells expanding or shrinking and not a matter of having more or less of them. That said, when we use the fat, the entire mass of the contents of those cells doesn’t just transform into usable energy.
To start, the water component of the body fat is expelled with urination. That said, there is a great deal more to it than just water. The non-water components leave the body in quite a surprising way that the majority of us simply do not expect: we exhale it.
Believe it or not, when you are shrinking away the fat on your belly, thighs or even your backside, much of the non-water substance of it ends up being lost through your breath over time. Understanding how this comes to be requires a certain level of background in molecular biology having to do with the molecular weight of water (H2O), oxygen gas (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). On average, each person loses about 200 grams of carbon each day in this way. With physical activity, this number increases.