What happens to fat cells when you lose weight?

Sabrina Barr
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It’s commonly believed that when you lose weight, the fat that you burn is then converted into energy.

However, according to scientists at the University of New South Wales, this isn’t the case at all.

The truth is that fat is converted into carbon dioxide and water, as stated by Ruben Meerman and Professor Andrew Brown.

The problem with the idea that fat is converted into energy is that “it violates the law of conservation of matter, which all chemical reactions obey,” they wrote in The Conversation.

Meerman and Brown surveyed 150 doctors, dietitians and personal trainers to find out what they believe happens to fat when an individual loses weight.

Only three of those surveyed answered correctly, providing the conclusion that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water.

“You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine and sweat,” stated Meerman and Brown.

“If you lose 10kg of fat, precisely 8.4kg comes out through your lungs and the remaining 1.6kg turns into water.

“In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.”

The majority of carbohydrates and fats that you digest are converted into carbon dioxide and water.

However, you also have to consider the amount of grams that enter your body in the form of oxygen.

“What’s not reported is that we inhale more than 600 grams worth of oxygen, too, and this figure is equally important for your waistline,” they wrote.

If you’re on a mission to shed some pounds, it should come as no surprise that doing more physical activity could help you along the way.

“The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles,” they wrote.

“Going for a walk triples your metabolic rate, and so will cooking, vacuuming and sweeping.”

You also exhale 200 grams of carbon dioxide when you sleep, which equates to approximately a quarter of your daily target.

With the exception of dietary fibre, everything that you consume is absorbed into your bloodstream and organs, which is why it’s important to increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body produces with physical activity.

“It’s not going anywhere until you’ve vaporised it,” Meerman and Brown explained.