Where does the fat go?
Wednesday, January 03, 2018
I'm a total geek, so fyi this blog includes sci-fi references and chemical equations. I recently re-watched one of my favorite episodes of Dr. Who (S4:E1) where a company had a brilliant weightloss plan. You took a pill everyday and would lose exactly 1kg (2.2 lbs.) of pure fat each day! Turns out that the pill was not real and instead the company was harvesting your fat to give birth to little baby aliens made of pure fat... when watching this I couldn't help but think, "Hey, sign me up! I've got enough fat for about 30 of these cute little guys!!" But that got me wondering, in real life, non sci-fi world, where does the fat go? It doesn't just evaporate into the ether... as we know from grade school science class, matter is neither created nor destroyed, it just transforms. So what does our fat transform into? A quick Google search later, and I found the answer.
Just like fire, fat needs one very important element in order to burn... Oxygen. A fire requires oxygen to burn, and your body requires oxygen to burn fat. I love the symmetry of creation! But, I promised you an equation, so here it is.
C55H104O6+78O2 —> 55CO2+52H2O+energy.
C55H104O6 is one fat molecule. You must pair that with 78 molecules of oxygen to burn that one molecule of fat. When dealing with the actual weight of the elements that means you need to breathe in approximately 3 pounds of oxygen to burn 1 pound of fat. Keep in mind that only about 20% of our atmosphere is oxygen, so that's a lot of air!
Then, it turns into 2 elements that you should have memorized when you were 8 years old, carbon dioxide and water. Again, in weight that is about 3 pounds carbon dioxide and 1 pound of water for each pound of fat burned.
So, what's the weightloss moral to the story? Sweat alone is not enough. Most of your sweat is from water reserves in your body, not from fat burning(though a little is). If your exercise does not make you breathe heavier than normal or make you feel out of breath, it's not working. Embrace the burning of your lungs, because as that oxygen comes in, and carbon dioxide goes out... the fat is being exhaled right along with it! Wave goodbye to your fat for good!