You inhale oxygen—O₂. And you exhale carbon dioxide—CO₂. This happens about 20,000 times a day. O₂ has two oxygen atoms; CO₂ has two atoms of oxygen and one atom of carbon. So you inhale two atoms and exhale three.
⇒ Your exhaled breath is heavier than your inhaled breath.
Now the question is where does the carbon atom—C—in the exhaled breath come from? The answer is the key to losing weight.
In order to function properly, your body needs nutrients. Macronutrients—carbohydrates, protein, and fat—are needed in large amounts. Micronutrients—vitamins and minerals— are needed in small amounts.
Let’s think about plants and photosynthesis for a moment:
During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) from the air and soil. Within the plant cell, the water is oxidized, meaning it loses electrons, while the carbon dioxide is reduced, meaning it gains electrons. This transforms the water into oxygen and the carbon dioxide into glucose.¹You inhale the oxygen produced during photosynthesis and eat the glucose.
Glucose—C₆ H₁₂ O₆— is a carbohydrate. By rearranging the glucose atoms you can make fructose and if you join one molecule of glucose with one molecule of fructose you get sucrose—C₁₂ H₂₂ O₁₁— or table sugar.
Proteins are made out of amino acids that have these 5 elements: Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur.
Then there are vitamins and minerals of which you need small amounts per day. These micronutrients are what distinguish an apple— a whole carb— from a donut—a refined carb.
When you consume more nutrients than your body uses up to get its energy, the excess is stored as fat—triglycerides. And when your body needs more energy than what you get from food, the stored fat is used. Triglycerides go into your bloodstream and are broken down into smaller components and energy is produced in the process.
Fats are made of three kinds of atoms as well: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The chemical formula for the body fat is C₅₅ H₁₀₄ O₆. Here’s what happens when you use fat for fuel in a simplified form:
C₅₅ H₁₀₄ O₆ + O2 = CO2 + H2O + energy
⇒ Fat turns into energy for the body, carbon dioxide and water.
The exact calculation is as follows:
Every 10 lbs. of body fat lost comes out as 8.4 lbs. of CO2 and 1.6 lbs. of H2O.²
So to lose weight, you need to
get less carbon atoms in your body through food,
use more energy by moving more,
breathe properly keeping in mind that most of the weight is lost through exhaled CO2!
Stay healthy, stay happy.