Hey, Your Breath Smells Like Fat

Two Australian biochemists demonstrate that the errant holiday pudge you’re burning at the gym is expelled largely through exhalation.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

It’s almost the new year. Time for resolutions and a game plan for chiseling away at that extra layer the holiday season so unceremoniously padded your midsection with. It’s not going to be fun, but you’ve wrought this evil upon yourself. So while you’re waiting on hold to renew that gym membership, ponder this: Do you really know where the fat you’re burning goes?

As crazy as it may sound, you’re breathing most of it out.

Chances are you thought it gets converted into energy, or turns into muscle, or maybe just gets excreted and is left to the sewer overlords beneath the porcelain throne—all fair guesses, to be sure, but common misconceptions.

Ruben Meerman and Andrew J. Brown of the University of New South Wales, the biochemists behind the study that appeared in the latest British Medical Journal, told the BBC, “None of this biochemistry is new, but for unknown reasons it seems nobody has thought of performing these calculations before,” referring to their biochemical mapping of fat exiting the body.

Let’s break this down: Fat from the food you consume is stored as triglyceride (comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) in the body. When you burn fat, and break it down, approximately a fifth of the triglyceride becomes water (H20), which your body can excrete in a variety of ways, and the remainder becomes carbon dioxide (CO2), which can simply be exhaled.

“Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat,” the duo reports, going on to reiterate the oft-heard advice of “eat less, move more” to those seeking to lose weight and concluding their study with the recommendation that their findings “be included in secondary school science curriculums and university biochemistry courses to correct widespread misconceptions about weight loss.” (Hey, even dietitians, personal trainers, and family doctors are still getting this wrong.)

Now that’s some food for thought.


Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
via Facebook / Autumn Dayss

Facebook user and cosplayer Autumn Dayss has stirred up a bit of Halloween controversy with her last-minute costume, an anti-Vaxx mother.

An image she posted to the social network shows a smiling Dayss wearing a baby carrier featuring a small skeleton. "Going to a costume party tonight as Karen and her non-vaccinated child," the caption over the image reads.

Keep Reading Show less