How Weight Loss Works | The Relationship of Breathing and Fat Burning (5 Fun Facts!)

How does weight loss work? The world is so obsessed about weight loss, fitness and diets. And despite all this, many doctors, fitness gurus and dieticians get it wrong when asked the question: “Where does our body fat go?

When you lose weight, where do the fats go? There are a lot of misconceptions on this topic. And most health professionals say that burned fats turn into heat or energy. Well, they are actually wrong. We breathe out 84% of this mass as carbon dioxide into the air! I’ll show you how with equations and easy to understand explanations on the next sections.


“We breathe out 84% of fats as carbon dioxide!”


#1. Fat is NOT directly converted into energy

Let’s first talk about the misconception that burned fat gets directly converted into energy. It is true that some energy is released for the body to use during fat burn. But it is FALSE to assume that fats directly convert into pure energy. Why? Because this is how it would look like…

Rad Rookies | Deep Breathing | How weight loss works | The relationship of breathing and fat burning (5 interesting stuff to learn)

Nuclear explosion

Yes, it sounds like a joke but that is what’ll happen based on Einstein’s Mass-energy equivalence.
Yes, it sounds like a joke but that is what’ll happen based on Einstein’s Mass-energy equivalence.

Your body does NOT convert fats directly into energy. Because if it was, then that is a crazy amount of energy. It’ll be at the same level as an atomic bomb! Einstein proved this already with his ever famous “e = mc2”.

Rad Rookies | Deep Breathing | How weight loss works | The relationship of breathing and fat burning (5 interesting stuff to learn)

Einstein's Mass-energy equivalence equation

Just 20g of fat is 500 Giga Watt-hours if directly converted into energy. That is enough to power the whole New York City for more than 24 hours.
Just 20g of fat is 500 Giga Watt-hours if directly converted into energy. That is enough to power the whole New York City for more than 24 hours.

A few grams of fat converted to pure energy is enough to power a huge city for a day! This is both amazing and absurd at the same time. And I am pretty damn sure that even the most athletic humans don’t produce that much energy.

Your body produces energy when it burns fat but the mass gets converted into other molecules. This is the nature of the “law of conservation of mass”.

Rad Rookies | Deep Breathing | How weight loss works | The relationship of breathing and fat burning (5 interesting stuff to learn)

Super Saiyan Blue Son Goku

You can’t convert fats directly into energy... unless you are a Dragon Ball character that can fire Qi blasts from your hands. LOL. :P
You can’t convert fats directly into energy… unless you are a Dragon Ball character that can fire Qi blasts from your hands. LOL.

We’ve dispelled the most common misconception of fat loss in this section. So, we now move on to how fat loss is in reality…


#2. The Fat Burn Equation (how weight loss works in math form)

Yep, this section is about the math and chemistry behind how weight loss works. This is already simplified and understandable. And a lot easier if you still remember your high school lessons! Also, you don’t have to worry because each step has an explanation. 🙂

(But if it still makes you dizzy, then feel free to you skip to the next section for a more layman explanation.)


C55H104O6 + 78 O2 -> 55 CO2 + 52 H20 + energy

Use stoichiometry to solve for the breakdown of fats. For each fat molecule you need 78 molecules of oxygen. This in turn produces a reaction resulting to 55 molecules of carbon dioxide, 52 molecules of water and some energy.


10kg average fats + 29kg O2 -> 19.6kg CO2 + 9.4kg H2O + energy

This is how it looks like when written in mass form. For every 10kg of fats, you’ll need 29kg of oxygen. This results into 19.6kg of carbon dioxide, 9.4kg of water and some energy.


10kg average fats -> 8.4kg CO2 molecules + 1.6kg H2O molecules

Let’s look at the mass distribution using the mass of the fats alone. For every 10kg of fats, 8.4kg of it becomes carbon dioxide and 1.6kg becomes water.


#3. We Breathe Out Most of Our Fats (the more layman explanation)

We exhale 84% of our fat mass as carbon dioxide! And 16% of it becomes water. The water could be urine, faeces, sweat, tears and other fluids.


“Our lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat loss”


So, does this mean that fat is mostly converted into air?! Yes, we breathe out most of the fat mass during weight loss. And if you haven’t realized it yet, it means that our lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat loss. Weight loss requires that the carbon stored in fat cells get converted into carbon dioxide. Quite a shocker, right? O.O


“Less than 1/6 of fat mass becomes water in the form of sweat, urine, etc”


The sweat that we perspire during exercise is less than a fifth of the total weight we lose. So, what about the “sauna suit” or “extra jacket layers” that some weight loss “experts” (lol) recommend? It’s all just a sham to convince you to buy their products. And if you bought those products, then sorry but you got duped by their marketing campaigns.

Rad Rookies | Deep Breathing | How weight loss works | The relationship of breathing and fat burning (5 interesting stuff to learn)

Sauna suits are a sham for weight loss

Yeah, they’re smiling because you bought their product... without knowing the actual science behind weight loss. :P
Yeah, they’re smiling because you bought their product… without knowing the actual science behind weight loss.

At least this verifies that doing regular cardio workout does help in weight loss. Cardio workouts forces your heart to pump blood faster. This in turn forces your lungs to speed up its breathing cycle to absorb more oxygen.

But there is an even better exercise for weight loss that we’ll tackle in the next section…


#4. Deep Breathing Exercises as a Weight Loss Strategy

Rad Rookies | Deep Breathing | How weight loss works | The relationship of breathing and fat burning (5 interesting stuff to learn)

Woman doing deep breathing

Practice deep breathing exercises in a comfortable position
Practice deep breathing exercises in a comfortable position

Consistency shouldn’t be an issue for deep breathing exercises. The beauty of it is that you can do it anywhere and anytime you want to do it! It is very easy to be consistent with it compared to jogging, cycling or other cardio workouts. Plus, this directly trains your lungs.

10kg average fats + 29kg O2 -> 19.6kg CO2 + 9.4kg H2O + energy

You need almost 3 grams (or 0.7 liters) of oxygen for every gram of fat you want to burn. Practicing “deep breathing” will train your lungs to absorb oxygen at higher volumes. And the “breath retention” trains your body to be more efficient with the use of oxygen. 


“You need 0.7 liters of oxygen for every gram of fat you burn”


You can of course combine “deep breaths” with your favorite activities. These activities can be rock climbing, martial arts, yoga, basketball, football and others. It also makes your body more efficient at producing energy from the combustion of fats. Some studies suggest that it even strengthens your mitochondria’s ATP production. That is some awesome cellular level strengthening right there! 


#5. My Experience with Deep Breathing Exercises and Weight Loss

I tried several deep breathing exercises while monitoring my weight change. The breathing exercises I did lasted for about an hour each session. And I lost weight between 300g to 800g (without peeing or pooping). That is an average of 550g of weight loss in an hour. Even I surprised myself with this weight loss from deep breathing exercises only.


“I lost an average of 550g per hour of deep breathing exercises”


After every session, I’d feel more energized, replenished and even refreshed. I’d say that it is superior than regular cardio workouts for pure lung strengthening. I rarely jog anymore but whenever I go for a run with friends, I never run out of breath.

I recommend that you get good at Basic Deep Breathing Exercises first. After that, you can start practicing advanced breathing exercises like Wim Hof Method, Qigong and Nadi Shodhana. Not going through the basics will only result to disappointment and disbelief, lol.

Have you tried this before? How was your experience with breathing and weight loss? Share your thoughts and make sure to comment below! 🙂

resource 1, resource 2, resource 3, resource 4

28 thoughts on “How Weight Loss Works | The Relationship of Breathing and Fat Burning (5 Fun Facts!)”

  1. I find myself not doing deep breathing exercises sometimes and I think it’s one of the reasons why I accumulate a little phlegm faster when I’m not being active. What a reminder that DBEs are important.

  2. Wow, i learned a ton from reading this and I never would have thought that we excrete fats through breathing. This is something i should definitely improve. Looking into more fun activities that will help me practice breathing and lose weight. Hahaha.

    1. Right?! It’s unusual for most people to think that we excrete most of our fats through breathing, haha. Glad you learned a ton from reading my article. 😉

  3. This is the second time I read about breathing for fat burning. I’m seriously considering this. I’m now trying the keto diet and so far it works for me too.

  4. Oooh, I’ve read about how breathing helps with the weight loss but never quite knew the details until now. Thanks for this. i’ll be more mindful of how I try to lose weight.

    1. Learning the chemistry and math behind weight loss really changes your perspective of it. I’m glad you learned a lot from this article. 🙂

    1. Mahirap talaga ang weight loss specially if ka consistent. I’ve tried Keto diet (pero mahal siya for me and di ko kaya sustain) and also Ive tried doing Zumba. So far ok tlga sakin combination ng eating + exercise practices. I guess it depends what works for you best. Thanks for sharing the breathing exercise.

  5. Grabe sobrang na nose bleed ako dito. Too much information sa gusto ko lang naman mamayat hahahahaha! Pero i learned so much. Sa breathing lang pala pwede na din pumayat.

    1. That is why I mentioned that you’ll be needing your high school chemistry and math for #2, haha. 😉

      Glad you learned a lot from this post. 🙂

    1. Hi Khryz! I’m glad that you are learning so much from my blog! 😀

      Well, at least you won’t be duped by bad “weight loss products” anymore, haha.

    1. Surprising, right? Many people don’t understand the fundamental science behind weight loss (even some who call themselves “experts” get it wrong, lol).

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