How does your body lose weight? By breathing out..


Nowadays, majority of people want to lose weight or their ‘flab’. The world is obsessed with weight loss programmes, fitness regimens and diets without really understanding the science behind it. One question that has been left unanswered is where does the fat go when you lose it by exercise or by dieting? The common misconception is that the fat lost is converted into energy or heat.

However, according to Dr. Ruben Meerman and Dr. Andrew Brown, most of the fat mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide and it goes into air. Dr. Meerman and Dr. Brown published this data in British Medical Journal. The paper states that if you lose 10 kilograms of fat, you inhale 29 kilograms of oxygen and this produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water.

Using a novel calculation, the researchers show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat. Hence weight loss requires losing the carbon stored in fat cells.

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Disclaimer: This article does not reflect on any personal views of the authors/editors.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (; -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo ( and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.