The more you exercise, the better off you are health-wise and mind- and body-wise, but you already knew that. What you might not know is 80 percent of the fat that leaves your body is expelled through your lungs. That’s right. You’re breathing away those pounds, according to recent research published in the British Medical Journal. Ahhh, science.
You see, human fat cells store triglyceride—a type of fat in the blood—which is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These atoms are released through oxidation and when that happens, fat is burned off.
Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia did some math. When 22 pounds of fat is oxidized, 18.5 pounds leave the body through the lungs as CO2. The remaining 3.5 pounds becomes water.
The thing to remember here is that the oxygen needed to complete this metabolic process weighs nearly three times the fat being lost. So, to completely oxidize 22 pounds of human fat, 64 pounds of oxygen must be inhaled.
Out of breath thinking about all this yet? Don’t hyperventilate. It’s really not that much. And hyperventilating to expedite the process will probably only result in weird looks from strangers and a strong chance of passing out.
Consider this for some context: someone weighing 154 pounds, at rest, taking 12 breaths a minute, or 17,280 times a day will lose at least 200 g or—wait for it, wait for it—.44 pounds. There’s a decimal there. And a third of that weight is lost during eight hours of shuteye.
Basically, thank your lungs. They’re the primary organ through which we lose weight. Also, keep exercising. Don’t think breathing alone will accelerate your fat loss.
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