So... when you lose weight, where does it go?


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You might know a thing or two about the process of losing weight. You might even have experience with weight loss.

But here’s a less straightforward question for you: where does that weight actually go? Does it just… evaporate or melt away? Does it become muscle? Or, as more than 50 per cent of medical experts believe, is it converted into heat and energy?

Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight? You need to read this.

Well, thanks to a team of Sydney-based scientists, we now have the answer to that question, and it’s somewhat surprising. Are you ready?

It turns out that the majority of the fat we lose exits the body in our breath. So in a way, yes – it does ‘vanish into thin air’, so to speak.

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The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that for every 10kg of fat lost, 84% will be breathed out as carbon dioxide, with the remainder leaving the body in the form of bodily fluids like urine, sweat and tears.


“The correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide. It goes into thin air,” the study’s lead author, Ruben Meerman, revealed in a statement that you can read here.

“Basically in fat there are three types of atoms — carbons, hydrogens and oxygens. You know that the carbons have to come out as carbon dioxide and the hydrogens have to come out as water.”

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Interestingly, it was a journal article published in 1949 that allowed the researchers to firm up their conclusion. As the ABC reports, the article in question demonstrated that “the oxygen atoms are shared between the carbon dioxide and water in a ratio of 2:1, so four oxygen atoms are exhaled, and two are excreted in bodily fluids such as sweat, tears and urine.”

Although you might interpret these findings to mean that huffing and puffing a little more than usual will help you use weight, Meerman says that’s wishful thinking – and generally a bad idea.

“The answer is no, unless you’re moving more, that’s called hyperventilation,” he tells News Corp. Back to the weights room, then…