Sunday, January 11, 2015

When You Lose Weight, Where Does Your Fat Go?

Weight loss is a common goal for many.  People want to lose their body fat and then have a toned, firm body.  It is a common misperception that the fat can be transformed into muscle.  However, the metabolic process of the body first releases the fat and then the muscles can be built through weight training and resistance work.

How does the fat get released? It is released through the breathing process.  Recent research explained that fat (plus oxygen) is metabolized mainly into carbon dioxide.  Some of the fat is metabolized through water and goes into urine to be excreted or the fat gets used up in other metabolic processes done by the body to sustain itself.

Let's take a step back to explain it another way.  When people overeat, consuming too much carbohydrates and proteins, the excess is converted into a type of fat called a triglyceride. When people attempt to lose weight, they are attempting to metabolize these triglycerides so that weight will not be gained.  Triglycerides are made of three types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Triglyceride molecules can be broken down only through the process of oxidation.

These broken down fat molecules mostly leave the body through the lungs.  Thus, the lungs are the main excretory organ for weight loss.  The lungs need to take in oxygen and then the fat is excreted in the form of carbon dioxide.  Some water is produced in this process and leaves the body in urine, feces, breath and other bodily fluids  

The researchers found that when 10 kg of fat were oxidized, 8.4 kg were converted and excreted as carbon dioxide by way of the lungs, and 1.6 kg became water.  In order for 10 kg of human fat to be oxidized, it was calculated that 29 kg of oxygen must be inhaled, which results in 28 kg of carbon dioxide and 11 kg of water being excreted.

The body excretes carbon dioxide all day long, but this amount is not enough to offset excess food intake.  Moderate exercise for one hour increases the excretion rate by 20%.  Exercise increases the amount of oxygen taken in also.

While the information may be new for some people, the way to lose weight is still old.  Exercise to offset calories.  Ayurveda can offer a new slant to this old equation.  Many times our breath is shallow and the amount of oxygen taken in reduced.  Ayurveda recommends deep or yogic type breathing for health.  The slow, deep breathing produces more oxygen and reduces the stress response.  This is why many people who exercise and eat less still keep on the weight.  The cortisol stress response fools with the basic metabolic processes, making it harder to lose weight the way the body is supposed to.  Exercise is essential but time to destress is too.

Stay healthy & well,

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