When You Lose Weight, Where Does It Go?

Types of Fat

There are 6 types of body fat and it goes with out saying that some of these ‘fats’ are better for us than others.  So, what are these fats?

Essential fat

The fat you need to live. “Essential fats help regulate body temperature, vitamin absorption, cell structure, and hormones such as fertility hormones,” explains Naureen Sajwani, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. This “Essential fat is found in many parts of the body including nerve membranes, bone marrow, and membranes protecting body organs. Essential fat is neither subcutaneous nor visceral.” (Don’t worry, we’ll dive into subcutaneous and visceral fat later on.)butter-2928708_1920White fat

The main form of fat cell in the body, this is what most people think of when they talk about fat. Also called “white adipocytes,” these fats cells are literally white, thanks to a low density of mitochondria (microscopic fat-burning power plants) and blood vessels. The cells store fat in the form of triglycerides, padding your energy reserves and body. “White fat is the largest energy backup in the body, and provides cushion for our organs and external body structure,” Sajwani says. “In addition, it produces leptin and a form of estrogen which regulate hunger, and has receptors for hormones such a growth hormone, cortisol, and insulin.”diabetes-blood-sugar-diabetic-medicine-46173.jpg

Brown fat

“The polar opposite of white fat, brown fat burns rather than stores energy,”  J. Mark Brown, Ph.D., a lipid (a.k.a. fat) researcher (with the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute), says. Its energy-burning capabilities and brown colour are both due to the fact that it’s packed tight with mitochondria. Those mitochondria burn fatty acids to generate heat and help keep the body a balmy 98.6 degrees. Only proven to exist in humans in the past decade, brown fat levels are especially high in babies.

Beige fat

Beige fat looks and acts like a cross between white and brown fat.  However, research suggests that beige fat is its own unique cell type, rather than a midpoint on the white-to-brown spectrum, Brown says. Fortunately, research does also suggest that white fat can convert into beige fat. “The beige-ing of white fat is really the holy grail in anti-obesity therapeutics,” he says. “To turn white fat into beige fat would in theory make you leaner because you are burning fat and releasing it as heat.”belly-body-clothes-diet-53528

Subcutaneous fat

“Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat found right underneath our skin,” Sajwani says. “About 90 percent of fat in our body is in the form of subcutaneous fat.” A combination of white, beige, and brown fat, and a certain amount of subcutaneous fat is healthy. But, again, too much of the white variety can spell trouble by throwing off hormone levels and sensitivity.

Visceral fat

White fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity around a number of organs such as the liver, pancreas, heart, and intestines. Not right under your skin like subcutaneous fat. “Researchers have found that visceral fat secretes a protein called retinol-binding protein 4, which has been shown to increase resistance to insulin, leading to glucose intolerance and Type 2 diabetes,” Sajwani says. “High visceral fat storage has also been linked to breast cancer, colorectal cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.”


To help understand the answer to the original question it helps to keep in mind that fat is primarily stored energy.

How Does Fat loss Happen?

In simple terms when you eat less calories than what you burn, your body recognises the energy shortfall and calls on stored fat cells which releases glycerol and free fatty acids into your blood stream.  When your body is in this situation it uses them for energy.

There are particular vitamins that contribute to this process. If you consume them in excess, unless you’re deficient, you will not make fat burning happen faster.

When looking to lose weight the best way to do this in a safe and sustainable way.  Approximately 500 calories deficit per day, achieved by combining dietary and exercise adjustments.  You need to be careful not to reduce your calorie intake by too much.  If you’re you’re consuming fewer than 1,200 calories per day it can cause your metabolism to slow down, reduce muscle mass and deprives you of essential nutrients.

Where Does The Fat Go?

Your body converts fat to usable energy for your muscles and other tissues.  You can achieve this through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes your fat cells to shrink.

These metabolic activities also generate heat, which helps maintain your body temperature, and creates waste products. These waste products (water and carbon dioxide) are excreted in your urine and sweat or exhaled from your lungs.


Source: live strong.commayoclinic.org.