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Where does all the fat go when you lose weight?

So, you’ve “lost” five kilograms. But where did the fat go?

The common assumption is that fat is converted into heat or energy. This is where we get the term “burned” from. In actuality you breathe out fat in the form of carbon dioxide. Says research from Australia’s University of New South Wales.

“[Lost mass] goes into thin air,” says study coauthor Ruben Meermen, PhD, in a press release from UNSW. Along with Andrew Brown, PhD, head of bimolecular sciences at the Australian university, Meerman traced the path of lost fat atoms. To the surprise of them they found that 84% of that lost fat was converted to carbon dioxide. The rest becomes water, which you lose through urinating, sweating, or any of the other ways our body’s dump H2O.

When the study team polled 150 doctors, dieticians, and personal trainers, half assumed fat was converted into energy. Most of the others either didn’t know or guessed incorrectly.

The explanation for how fat gets turned into CO2 involves a lot of complicated chemistry. This explains why health experts didn’t really understand where lost fat ended up. With this new knowledge we will be able to find better ways for you to shed weight, the study suggests.

Don’t start breathing faster to try to lose weight. You’ll only hyperventilate. In case you’re wondering, breathing out lost weight in the form of CO2 doesn’t affect the environment.

This is more of an interesting fact for now. Still, it’s pretty bizarre. Watching The Biggest Loser may never be the same.

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