Do You Know Where The Fat Goes When You Lose Weight?

Nutrition // Sarah Link // 26 October 2015


It’s a very common question asked by our 12WBTers – and one that may get you wondering. So today we’re answering the often confusing question: “Where does the fat go when I lose weight?”.

You’re losing weight – awesome!

So you’re working out, watching your calories and making healthy changes. Great! You’re also noticing the scales going down. Double great! But where does that fat go, if it’s no longer on your body (or on your scales)? Good question.

Where does the fat actually go?

A new study by Andrew Brown from the University of New South Wales and Ruben Meerman, researcher and Aussie TV host, states that when you lose weight, you actually exhale your fat. Yep, you breath it right on out. But don’t worry, you’re not alone if you didn’t know that fact! “There is surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight loss,” Brown said in this news release.

So how did Brown and Meerman come to find this out? In their study, published in the British Medical Journal, they say it comes down to simple biochemistry.  “The correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide,” said Meerman. “It goes into thin air.” Your fat literally disappears – how cool is that?

Also read: Top 10 Cardio Myths Busted

Believe it or not, even many health professionals don’t know this – more than half of the 150 doctors, personal trainers and dieticians surveyed in the study didn’t know in fact. Says Brown, “Most people believed that fat is converted to energy or heat, which violates the law of conservation of mass.” Through the study, Brown realised that “the misconceptions we have encountered reveal surprising unfamiliarity about basic aspects of how the human body works,”

Then, can breathing cause weight loss?

Not surprisingly, the authors report the most common question they’ve been asked: and that’s “If I just breath more, then will I lose weight?  Sadly, the answer to this is no. Breathing more than required by a person’s metabolic rate leads to hyperventilation, and can be followed by dizziness, palpitations, and loss of consciousness. So don’t try it! The best way forward is to keep eating healthy foods and exercising and you’ll be exhaling those kilos before you know it.






  1. Sharon quinlan Reply

    The CO2 is a by product of metabolism

  2. Laurie Reply

    Carbohydrates (our food) are made out of carbon and hydrogen, and our bodies turn carbs into fat as a more efficient way of storing these carbons that it may need in the future.
    When we use these molecules in exercise they are broken up, the carbon atom attaches to oxygen (from our breath) and is turned into carbon dioxide, the hydrogen part attaches itself to the oxygen and turns into h2o and there is also another effect left when this is happening called lactic acid. So when you feel that lactic acid burn, it is the process of ‘burning’ the fat… Which basicly means, embrace the burn’ that’s isn’t the time to give up!

    1. Claire Reply

      Thanx for this. Learnt it at some stage, read it again.

    2. Michelle Reply

      That is the best explanation I’ve heard for this.

  3. Ken Reply

    That’s crazy. I assumed you pooped it out.

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