Virtually everyone who claims to tell you truth regarding weight loss
either lies to you or is ignorant of basic facts to tell you!
Reality is based on some absolute Laws of Science, including two which
are important here, the Conservation of Energy and the Conservation of
Mass (weight). One pound of human bodyfat is actually atoms which
had previously been eaten and drunk, which get rearranged into complex
molecules which have very strong chemical bonds between the atoms. Large
amounts of food energy is therefore required to first create all those
chemical bonds in a pound of bodyfat. At whatever point the pound of
bodyfat gets used up, it MUST release all that energy! AS bodyfat, it
is very complex molecules of mostly carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, with
around 77% of them (by weight) being carbon atoms. That is actually
very similar to the energy storage benefits of fossil fuels (like coal)
which are also mostly carbon, such that relatively small space
is required for rather large amounts of stored (available) energy.|
Companies which promote diets, pills, powders, liquids that claim to cause miraculous loss of bodyfat NEVER address those two Laws of Science! IF they actually have some process where even ONE pound of bodyfat is to disappear, you should insist that they explain WHERE the 3,600 Calories of energy (an enormous amount of heat energy or exercise energy) goes to, BECAUSE IT MUST GO SOMEWHERE! Also, how and where that 13 ounces of carbon atoms must go to, again BECAUSE THEY MUST GO SOMEWHERE!
For the record, a GOOD workout commonly uses up about 100 Calories, so, to get rid of the 3,600 Calories from ONE pound of bodyfat, it is NOT nearly like what the happy-faced dancers and exercisers on TV seem to imply! Thirty-six good workouts could do it, to get rid of ONE pound of actual bodyfat.
So when salespeople sound really convincing with whatever they are selling, please first note that they never even MENTION these two basic laws of science which they MUST obey! There is every indication that they are not even aware of the actual scientific facts!
Actually, there are TWO centrally important matters which have to comply with science for any such thing to actually happen. Say we are talking about one pound of bodyfat that we want to get rid of. First, the Conservation of Mass tells us that we have to dispose of 0.77 pound of carbon atoms from the bodyfat, which WILL require the equivalent to the exhaling of 31,500 normal exhaled breaths (plus some more if you had eaten any food that day). Normal breathing of about 12 times per minute for the 1440 minutes in a day means you might breathe around 17,280 in a normal day. Actually, the daily total is a little less than that since you breathe more slowly while you are sleeping. Again, remembering that you did not eat any food in those 24-hour days, you would need two days of not eating anything to eliminate about 1 pound of your bodyfat as carbon atoms. The second requirement is that the Conservation of Energy must also be obeyed, so the 3600 Calories of energy that was stored in that 1 pound of bodyfat must be used up. In a normal-temperature room and with normal clothing on, your body can radiate and convect away about 100 Calories per hour, after that energy was created from the bodyfat molecules in your mitochondria in your cells and then used to drive your brain and muscles and digestion. You see that we therefore need around 36 hours in order to use up the ENERGY from that one pound of bodyfat. We COULD spend that entire day in aggressive exercise, to cause us to overheat our body to radiate more heat and to breathe faster and deeper, to try to get rid of the extra 1400 Calories (3600 - 2200) that we want to accomplish to get rid of that ONE POUND of bodyfat. If you are in a really cold environment, like a cold bedroom or researching in Antarctica, your body may speed up its Basal Metabolism which can accomplish this function. Researchers in Antactica commonly have to eat 6,000 Calories of food each day to avoid losing weight! There are also illegal methods of speeding up one's Basal Metabolism, such as with Cocaine, which both speeds up the Metabolism and the breathing, and which explains why Cocaine addicts are always rather skinny!
Do you see the point here? The Laws of Conservation of Matter and of Energy require an accurate audit to account for BOTH of these things, in order to actually lose that 1 pound of bodyfat. They can certainly both be done, but neither is particularly easy regarding trying to do it very fast. The point is that IF a promotion for some bodyfat reduction pogram of diet or exercise or secret herbs, actually has any chance to be valid, then listen carefully to whether you would breathe a lot faster or deeper or whether your body might be able to dump rather large amounts of energy. You will realize from the information below that if you expect to lose ONE pound of bodyfat, or TEN pounds, or FIFTY pounds, then it will be a lot harder to do than in those attractive TV commercials! Yes, the high-power exercise videos DO cause you to breathe faster and deeper and your body gets hot and you even sweat. But unless you are capable of doing those severe exercises for many hours, don't expect miracles. I guess these comments are to point out the great importance of not eating a diet which contains massive Calories. Your body was evolved over millions of years to have nicely balanced the amount and type of food you eat with what your life-style (in energy terms) needs, and so it is relatively natural for most people to maintain a fairly constant body weight. As you get older and more sedentary, sure, you might gain an extra pound each year if you kept your earlier diet, and after 30 years, you might turn out to be 30 pounds overweight. MODERN diets have greatly fouled that all up!
The following presentation gives the actual science behind all this, including a lot of numbers and many examples. It will certainly teach you of the single surprising method the body has of disposing of carbon atoms! In a normal day, you EAT food which totals around one and a half pounds of actual total weight, of which roughly half a pound is materials that you cannot digest and which passes completely through you! That leaves around 1.0 pound (454 grams) of food that you CAN digest, of which around 0.4 pounds (40%) (190 grams) were carbon atoms in the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, et al. As that amount of carbon atoms is chemically processed (as fuel), along with some hydrogen atoms, roughly 1800 or 2200 Calories of (chemical) food energy is released which then powers your heart and lungs and brain and everything else and which also keeps your body at the necessary temperatures.
But what HAPPENS to the carbon atoms that started out in that food you ate? There are daily around 0.4 pounds or 190 grams of carbon atoms, which you no longer need and need to discard. But HOW do you do that?
In that same normal (24-hour) day, you BREATHE around 15,500 times, and you will see below that you EXHALE an amount of carbon dioxide which includes around 0.4 pound (or 190 grams) of carbon atoms! As long as you don't screw that up, both Energy and Mass are Conserved and you will neither gain nor lose weight!
The central point is that the ACTUAL things you need to focus on to try to lose weight are NOT what the salespeople try to get you to buy! In order to lose bodyfat, it is first very useful to know what the reality is! Right?
Yes, it IS true that if some severe diet regimen only provides you with 1,000 Calories per day (instead of the 2,200 Calories that your body actually NEEDS each day), then you DO need to consume about 1/3 pound of bodyfat per day (to make up for the other 1200 Calories you actually NEED). The problem is that few people are PATIENT enough regarding seeing results! They think that by going on such a starvation diet, they should ZAP lose weight, but the FACT that they only CAN lose one pound of bodyfat per three days, means they hardly see any weight loss at all on their bathroom scale. Worse, IF they should have DRUNK a few extra ounces of water to wash down ugly tasting foods, they might even see the scale weight seem to RISE (due to the excess water in the body)! That IS the way that SUCCESSFUL weight losses succeed, but only because they are REALLY patient and are willing to look at MONTHLY changes rather than daily.
We will use some figures here, for an adult man in the United States, for discussion purposes. Each person eats different quantities of different types of foods and liquids, so there are individual variations in the numbers.
In an average day, you probably stick around 25 ounces (700 grams) of food into your mouth. Roughly 9 ounces (250 grams) of that are not able to be digested by the human body and that material can pass completely through the alimentary canal to be later excreted. Therefore, roughly 16 ounces (454 grams) or one pound of food actually gets digested each day. Various types of food materials contain different quantities of energy content. Most carbohydrates and proteins contain around 4 Calories per gram, while most fats contain much more at around 9 Calories per gram. (see our presentation on the efficiency of a human as a machine to get more detail on why that is.) Fiber or roughage contains ZERO Calories per gram, because the human body is incapable of digesting it, and it passes right through! Due to the mix of these different materials in our food, the average energy content in the foods we eat (in the United States) is around 5 Calories per gram, or around 2200 Calories (454 gm times 5 Cal/gm) per day of energy from food intake.
In fact, many alleged diets are actually primarily things that are known as diuretics, which encourage you to want to urinate! So whether or not your body actually managed to use up any bodyfat (which as we will soon see is difficult), your bathroom scale shows you losing weight like crazy! This can continue for several days, because the human body is around 60% water. In me, a 200-pound man, that 120 pounds of water inside me could give up two pounds of water every day for a week or two, and still not represent any serious medical problems; I would still have a hundred pounds of water in me! And I would be able to be bragging to everyone about losing two pounds of weight every day! But it would actually be fictitious! My brain would eventually encourage me to drink extra water and the total weight would be just where it used to be! Now you know why that is!
Right now, if you weigh yourself accurately, and then immediately drink two 16-ounce cans of pop, you WILL weigh about two pounds more! Just a few minutes later! Of course, if you then use the rest room, you could eliminate two or more pounds of water and cause your scale weight to drop back down!
It is important to notice that the exact OPPOSITE effect also occurs. So you decide to go on a diet! And you drink only HALF as much water on that first day as you usually do. Assuming that your urination, respiration and sweating normally gets rid of your usual 8.3 total pounds of water, you see IMPRESSIVE GOOD NEWS from your scale! You see the scale reading and think you lost four pounds! But it is not really true! Whatever effect your diet had was much less and was hidden by the weight change due to water quantities! You DRANK only around 4 pounds of water on a day when your body got rid of 8.3 pounds of water. Whether or not your diet does anything at all, your bathroom scale WILL show an APPARENT WEIGHT REDUCTION of FOUR POUNDS IN THAT SINGLE DAY!
If you started some alleged diet which had known diuretics in it, you will have the mood to urinate a lot! Again, your bathroom scale will then show you losing weight impressively! But, again, NONE of that is due to any actual success at losing bodyfat. Do you see that the readings of the bathroom scale can be extremely misleading? Either way?
The problem is that there is immense variation in the amounts of water that we drink each day and the amounts that we get rid of. On any given day, your weight can fluctuate several pounds up or down due to this, where there is NO connection to any diet matters!
It turns out that your body contains enormous amounts of water inside it. It has long been known that we are roughly 60% water! I weigh around 200 pounds so that means that I am roughly 120 pounds of water along with 80 pounds of other stuff. So it is possible for a person to restrict water intake for a number of days in a row, and thereby see their bathroom scale show IMPRESSIVE weight reduction! A 300-pound person might claim "I lost 30 pounds in one week!" You see those claims all the time. Yes, their scale DID show such a weight reduction and very fast. But it was ENTIRELY WATER and not bodyfat at all! That 300 pound body started out with 180 pounds of water in it (the 60%) and if reduced water intake allowed natural exhaling and urination and sweating to get ride of just four additional pounds of water each day for a week, that body would then still contain 150 pounds of water in it! But the SCALE shows a 30-pound weight reduction during that week! And that person would be paid to be in TV commercials!
Since all these RAPID weight losses are essentially entirely water that had left the body, you have certainly also noticed that virtually everyone who claims RAPID weight loss, soon re-gains that weight. The REALITY is that they had lost very little or none of their bodyfat, so there had actually been no long-term improvement. So when Oprah Winphrey lost a large amount of her excess weight (during the 1990s), she soon re-gained virtually all of it back. It is unlikely that very much had actually been bodyfat at all, even though she THOUGHT it was! A man who "won" the television competition for having lost the greatest amount of weight, has recently admitted to have gained all if it back (Nov 2009). Those people and millions of others had deluded themselves into believing that the rapid SCALE weight loss that they could achieve, was an actual accomplishment regarding bodyfat. It rarely actually is.
In contrast, there ARE some people who DO lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off. Richard Simmons and the spokesman for Subway sandwiches (Jared) both lost a lot of weight and kept it off. How? Through MASSIVE and CONSISTENT effort! And, unfortunately, their accomplishments were SLOW in coming. Why? Because of Physics and Chemistry! One pound of human bodyfat contains around 3,500 Calories of chemical energy in it. In a normal day of activities, a human burns up enough food to provide about 2,200 Calories of energy. In other words, if a person could resist eating entirely for a day, total Fasting, then only about 2/3 pound of bodyfat could be used up! (The person WOULD likely have a greater scale weight reduction, but most of that weight loss would be due to water loss as discussed above.) Richard Simmons and Jared were VERY PERSISTENT in their efforts! The did NOT fall into the common attitude of today where everyone insists on INSTANT RESULTS!
A really intense and extended workout can burn up as much as 200
Calories. (There ARE exceptions!
Researchers in Antarctica generally need to eat around 6,000 Calories
each day to maintain their body weight because their bodies radiate
immense amounts of heat due to the constant sub-zero temperatures.
Olympic-level athletes need to eat impressive amounts of Calories
each day. I understand that Michael Phelps, the swimmer with many
Olympic Gold Medals, needs to eat around 12,000 Calories on many
days, which is partly due to constant physical exertion but is also
partly due to his body having to radiate and conduct large
amounts of heat to the cool water which he is nearly always in.
When professional football players retire, many continue to
eat the large quantities of food that they had to eat during their
career, and they often rapidly gain huge amounts of weight, which they
then have great difficulty getting rid of.)
There are cheap and silly devices which are sold which claim to be able to monitor bodyfat content. The two most common are Bodyfat Calipers and devices which measure the electrical resistance of your body. Both can give you numbers that can make you feel happy, but the fact that both are commonly WRONG by up to 15% of bodyfat, they become useless. If you get a reading from such a device that says you are at 20% bodyfat (a healthy number) the reality could be either that you are actually at 35% (morbidly obese) or 5% (which few professional athletes can accomplish).
However, there IS a way to accurately measure bodyfat content. The
one that is most proven is called Hydrostatic Weighing. Unfortunately,
the process is complicated, taking close to an hour to do, expensive,
commonly $35 each measurement, and potentially dangerous! We developed
a far simpler, quicker (one or two minutes), cheap (generally free),
and without any danger at all! It is described at
Accurate and Easy Bodyfat Determination
Bodyfat Analysis Weights - Pepsi Bottles and Pennies!
Determining Your Accurate Bodyfat Percentage An Automatic Calculator for the above system
Worse, when the body loses a lot of its water, many of the chemical reactions which have to occur start doing scary things. One popularly known such problem is called a Potassium imbalance. A person can very suddenly just collapse and be in dangerously bad shape, as when an athlete has sweated large amounts of water out without replenishing it. Some people have even died from severe cases. So it is NOT a good idea to try to reduce your water content, even though it APPEARS to be showing the effects of impressive dieting! Too dangerous! That does NOT alter your amount of bodyfat anyway!
The point being made here is that you DO need to consider working out or running or doing other behaviors that cause your metabolism to increase and your respiration rate to increase. Just DON'T expect sudden and spectacular reduction of bodyfat to immediately occur! Be patient, VERY patient! IF you work out hard every day for a month, and manage to cause your body to use up 400 Calories more than you eat in each of those days, you WOULD cause a noticeable benefit! Actually, 31 days times 400 Calories is 12,400 Calories, which would require that about 3.5 pounds of your bodyfat would have to have gotten used up! Most people are not patient enough to wait for that sort of benefit for such a rather severe effort at exercising. But it is the most reliable method to ACTUALLY lose bodyfat.
Nearly all sold and promoted programs that claim to provide rapid weight loss or bodyfat reduction, APPEAR to be successful at the start! As long as they use a bathroom scale as the method for monitoring effects, they CAN all LOOK impressive for a few days! But since very few such programs actually focus on using up bodyfat, and in also breathing more often and/or deeper for extended periods of time, they show NEARLY ALL their bathroom scale results that are due to reduction of water content in the body. Sad but true.
The point here is that you CANNOT rely on a bathroom scale to provide you with accurate or useful information! The simple fact that your scale weight can change by several pounds in a day, simply because of your choices regarding drinking and urinating, and to some point, defecating, makes scale readings essentially irrelevant, except on a gross level. The fact that doctors' exams always include scale weight, and even weigh-ins for professional boxing matches do, does not give them any more credibility than this.
As a side note here, we have provided, free, a set of presentations of a very simple, easy, quick and cheap way that you can monitor your actual body density, which means your actual bodyfat quantity, amazingly accurately. If this is done daily or weekly, and graphed as described there, you can get VERY accurate information regarding whether your diet or exercise is actually having any good or bad effect. The feedback you get by that method is immediate and accurate, and it can give you extra incentive to keep eating those nasty vegetables! Whether your bathroom scale agrees or disagrees is sort of irrelevant! You may want to check out a fun method of monitoring bodyfat!
The great accuracy of that system provides a level of feedback that a bathroom scale cannot provide, and it can give reinforcement for ANYTHING you happen to do that improves your bodyfat percentage! Even if that is simply the avoidance of a single food like french fries or ice cream! You WILL likely see some backsliding associated with a giant Thanksgiving dinner, but if your graph is GENERALLY sloped downward, no real problem!
In order to chemically decompose the pound of food you eat each day, you need to use up a large amount, more than a pound, or many cubic feet, of oxygen from air, which you obtain by inhaling.
How do we know that? Due to decades of research in Biochemistry!
Here is a simplified presentation of the biochemistry of both photosynthesis (right to left) and digestion (respiration or decomposition) (left to right).
One fact that we want to take away from this chart has to do with the QUANTITIES of the four materials involved, that is the mass or weight of each. We know from High School Chemistry that Carbon atoms have atomic weight of 12, Oxygen has 16 and Hydrogen has 1. Using the top line of this graphic, repeated here:
C6H12O6 + (6) O2 gives off (6) H2O + (6) CO2 + a LOT of energy!
We can see that glucose molecule has atomic weight of 12 * 6 + 1 * 12 + 16 * 6 or 180. We can see that the six Oxygen molecules have total atomic weight of 6 * ( 2 * 16 ) or 192. We have a total atomic weight of 372 on the left side of the equation.
Similarly, we can calculate that we have 108 weight of water and 264 weight of carbon dioxide, which also totals 372, which is necessary to Conserve Mass.
Those numbers have actual importance in Biochemistry, but for our needs here, we simply need to COMPARE them to determine the proportionalities of the materials. Since we are saying that our FOOD quantity (which we have simplified into just being glucose) is 1.0 pound, we can quickly determine the necessary amounts of the other three materials! Specifically, we will need 192/180 * 1.0 or 1.1 pounds of oxygen, and we will produce 264/180 * 1.0 or 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide and 108/180 * 1.0 or 0.6 pound of water. (The EPA incorrectly says 2.3 pounds of CO2 is created each day, which is not possible! The carbon has to come from somewhere, the food that we eat, and this analysis is correct, where about 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide is created each day in the exhaled breath.)
Our bodies actually remove MORE oxygen than that, around 1.4 pounds, mostly to make sure that plenty of oxygen was always available everywhere in the body at all times.
We are actually now in a position to calculate HOW MANY TIMES we must exhale each day! Sort of amazing!
From the calculation above, we know that the body will create 1.5 pounds (681 grams) of carbon dioxide in completely decomposing the 1.0 pound (454 grams) of food that we digested. Let's change the numbers into the metric system, so we know that we will create 681 grams of CO2 during the day. We know that an average breath is about half a liter of air (500 ml), and it weighs a total of about 0.0013 pound or 0.60 gram. In Chemistry, Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures establishes that, when exhaled at body temperature, the breath can contain a maximum of about 4.4% carbon dioxide, if fully saturated. That means that a single exhaled breath, which is about the 500 ml size of a ripe orange, can contain a (saturated) maximum of about 22 milliliters of carbon dioxide in it (4.4% of a 500 ml breath). Using the density of Carbon Dioxide, we find that there is about 0.0405 gram of carbon dioxide per average exhaled breath. Of this, about 0.011 grams of carbon atoms are present.
We know that we need to exhale a total of 681 grams (of carbon DIOXIDE) per day, and each exhaled breath carries 0.0405 gram. Simple division shows us that we must therefore breathe (exhale) 16,800 times each day! There are 1440 minutes in a day, so this tells us that we must breathe (exhale) an average of 11.7 times every minute! (to dispose of all the carbon dioxide produced from that one pound of food that we digested that day). We will see from the math below that each breath of carbon dioxide (0.0405 gram) is 12/44 carbon atoms (by basic chemistry) or 0.011 gram of CARBON atoms in every average exhaled breath. For the record, 16,800 exhaled breaths each with an average of 0.011 gram of carbon atoms totals about 189 grams of carbon atoms, just what we ate that day! (Sorry this stuff is more mathematical than most people want, but I wanted to show why this is true.)
You can check yourself, when resting, and you will likely find that you breathe about 12 times per minute, in excellent agreement with this analysis!
This is an incredible result! We now know that IF we eat any specific
amount of food in a day (such as 1.0 pound), that our body NECESSARILY
has to exhale a certain number of times (assuming normal depth breaths).
If we would breathe LESS than that, some of the food would necessarily
stay in the body, becoming bodyfat! This is the ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC
reason why we gain weight!|
However, if we would breathe MORE than that calculated amount (for the specific amount of food eaten), the exhaled breaths would carry away ALL the food content AND even be able to carry away some ADDITIONAL bodyfat. This is the ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC reason why we can LOSE weight which is actually bodyfat!
It is therefore clear that IF we restrict our food intake (dieting), we can lose bodyfat, IF we breathe sufficiently! It is also now clear WHY exercise can contribute to losing bodyfat, ONLY because the breathing is either faster or deeper or both! Yes, the body's metabolic rate changes which causes the need for this change in respiration rate, but nothing can happen unless there is different breathing, either in rate or in depth. Similarly, there are some drugs, such as cocaine or speeders, which accelerate the rate of body metabolism, which also causes faster or deeper breathing, and again results in being able to lose bodyfat.
In other words, IF a person determined HOW OFTEN they normally breathed AND how deeply they normally breathed, the calculations above can define how much food they should eat (or more correctly, digest)! With that knowledge, to person could KNOW whether they would gain weight, stay constant or lose weight each day, actual BODYFAT weight!
Here is an example calculation for you! You measure that your average respiration rate is 12 times per minute. Multiply by the 1440 minutes in a day to get 17,280 breaths per day. You don't have any easy way to determine how MUCH each breath is, so you can assume the 'official' size we have used here, of 500 ml, and the fact that such breaths can contain a saturated maximum of 0.0405 grams of carbon dioxide each. For this calculation, we really want just the carbon and not the whole carbon dioxide, which is (0.0405 * 12 / 44 or) 0.011 gram of carbon per exhaled breath. Multiply your 17,280 breaths by 0.011 gram per breath to get about 190 grams of carbon disposed of each day. Almost done! The food you eat is generally about 40% carbon atoms, so the total amount of food represented is 190 / 0.4 or 475 grams. Since one pound is 454 grams, this tells you that you can eat (and digest) just over one pound of food each day where your body fat and body weight should then not significantly change.
Please notice something entirely different from what all the diet experts ever say. We just calculated a TOTAL WEIGHT of food (that gets digested). We did not refer to whether that food was carbohydrates or proteins or fat! This actually explains something else that has always mystified people. Somebody comes up with a diet that is primarily carbohydrates. Somebody else comes up with one that is primarily protein. Some insist on tremendously eliminating fat, while others of those experts say you can eat all the fats you want. See why each of those diets CAN show positive results but also that each can fail? The IMPORTANT thing is NOT what KIND of material you eat, but actually how much carbon is in it! We have simplified that into the total weight of the food (which involves a few assumptions but which is generally solidly true.) Since carbohydrates and proteins contain roughly the same energy content, they are all close to that 40% carbon content. So diets that emphasize carbohydrates or proteins are pretty close to interchangeable! However, if you would choose to do an all ice cream diet, that is massively fat content, an adjustment in the calculations above is necessary! But you could calculate how much ice cream you could eat each day on your all ice cream diet, again DIRECTLY calculated from your own respiration rate! Actual nutrition might be a serious problem on such a diet, but if the QUANTITY of ice cream was chosen based on the calculations above, your body weight and bodyfat should not change. Even on an all ice cream diet!
NORMALLY, these facts are never noticed! Because of the gross inaccuracies of any weight scales, the extremely small amounts of actual bodyfat content each day can never be detected. It is only over long periods of time that the results become noticeable.
Consider this example: A person eats the exact 1.0 pound of food discussed here every day, but he breathes only 11 times each minute instead of the 11.7 times calculated here. No biggie? Not quite! Certainly, no one would ever even notice that very minor difference, even the person himself. Let's do the calculations! By breathing only 11 * 1440 or 15,800 times instead of 16,800 times, he can only dispose of about 1.4 pounds of carbon dioxide instead of the 1.5 pounds discussed above. This means that instead of disposing of the carbon atoms from 1.0 pound of food that day, he only disposes of the carbon dioxide atoms from 0.94 pound of food. He therefore winds up having 0.06 pound of digested food which never gets disposed of, and it gets converted into bodyfat. In a given day, this would not be noticed or even measurable, of eating 1.0 pound of food but only disposing of the atoms of 0.94 pound. A bathroom scale will never show an increase of 0.06 pound of body weight!
But this continues for an entire year, 365 days. Each day, an additional 0.06 pound of weight accumulates. Simple multiplication tells us that the person would gain about 22 pounds during that year! ALL of which would have become bodyfat!
The important part here is that a change from breathing 11.7 times each minute to 11 times each minute would never be noticeable at all, but that it would have the unavoidable result (if the amount of food eaten stayed the same) of a 22-pound increase in bodyfat during each year!
However, consider the opposite example! You start breathing at 12 times per minute instead of 11.7 times. Again, no one could possibly realize that such a miniscule change has occurred! But now your body will exhale 12 * 1440 or 17,280 times each day. This now has the capability of carrying away 1.54 pound of carbon dioxide instead of 1.5 pound. This then has the capability of disposing of the carbon from 1.03 pound of food or bodyfat. In the 365 day year, this then can represent an increase of such disposal by about ten pounds! The person could LOSE TEN POUNDS OF BODYFAT EVERY YEAR with such an extremely minor change!
Consider this same example but with breathing 13 times per minute instead of 11.7 times. The same calculations show that the person WOULD lose about 61 pounds of bodyfat during that year! A rather amazing result for such a tiny effort!
There is an alternate way that we can consider such an example. Rather than trying to change the RATE of respiration, let's let it stay at your normal 11.7 times. But all the air that goes into and out of your body must pass through a rather narrow pair of nostrils! Even if your nose has never been broken and you do not have a deviated septum, your nostrils are only about 3/8 inch in diameter, so they are rather restrictive regarding air passage through them. An average adult person generally exhales about 500 ml volume of air in every breath, which is about the equivalent to the size of a ripe orange. But what if you had a BETTER, FREER way for air to get into and out of your lungs? Like due to you generally breathing with your mouth slightly open? I have noticed that many young girls tend to keep their mouths slightly open, probably because it is seen to look sexy. Say her mouth is just 1/4 inch wide open, and 1.5 inch wide. The new air-path area through the mouth is now about 0.3 square inches, as compared to the total of the two nostrils of about 0.22 square inches. Even if the nose was not used at all for breathing any more, we have increased the airpath cross section up from 0.22 to 0.30 square inches, about a 30% increase in available airflow! Using the math from the examples above, her body would be able to process 1.3 pound of food each day, producing and disposing of 1.95 pound of carbon dioxide each day. This is an excess of 0.45 pound over the actual carbon dioxide her body creates that day. She WILL be able to LOSE WEIGHT and STAY SKINNY very easily! I now understand WHY so many young girls are able to stay so very skinny!
But now imagine that YOU get an oval shaped piece of soft plastic, like the kind that Dentists use for keeping dentures properly positioned in the mouth, but instead, one which keeps the mouth slightly open as just described. A 1/4 inch wide space between the lips would therefore provide an airpath through the mouth which is that 30% improvement over what the nostrils can provide. Imagine doing this for just one month, where each day your body was capable of disposing of an additional 0.45 pound of carbon dioxide. In a month, that is already about 14 pounds ACTUAL body weight loss!
There ARE some advantages in using your nostrils! You have cilia in your nose which FILTERS the air that you breathe, while when you breathe through your mouth, that filtration does not happen. Ditto regarding tiny insects. And if the weather is extremely cold outdoors, your mouth and teeth may find the cold to be undesirable. But if EVERYONE might be able to lose 14 pounds in a single month, I would think that intermittently using such a mouth gauge might be very attractive!
Notice that this might not even need to involve any significant exercise or any drug treatments, or even any reduction in food intake. The body adjusts its metabolism to meet the conditions it faces. Obviously, if the food intake is slightly reduced, the effects would occur even faster.
Unfortunately, human nature is such that people expect INSTANT RESULTS of diets. Few people seem willing to be patient for even a few weeks to see any results, so they quit diets regularly. Ditto, people don't seem to realize the AMOUNT of exercise necessary to increase the breathing enough to have any noticeable effect on weight loss, and people seem unwilling to have patience there either. So they are lured to PAYING FOR expensive programs that reduce water content (discussed above) where it LOOKS like rapid weight loss is occurring!
Until and unless people understand the contents of this presentation on the ACTUAL SCIENCE, few will likely actually accomplish much regarding losing bodyfat. Yes, people can lose a lot of rapid weight due to water loss, but that will reappear a few weeks later as the body stabilizes. And, yes, people can go on fanatical diets for a few weeks, before giving up and wanting REAL FOOD!
We can chemically examine the pound (454 grams) of food that we ate during the day, the mixture of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and find that they contain around 40% carbon atoms. For example, the glucose molecule we examined above (atomic weight 180) contains six carbon atoms in it (total atomic weight 72) so that molecule is 72/180 or exactly 40% carbon atoms by weight. Therefore, we see that of the 454 grams of food we eat each day, (454 * 0.4) or 182 grams of it is carbon atoms.
We therefore TOOK IN 182 grams of carbon atoms (as food) and EXHALED 185 grams of carbon atoms (as exhaled breath). See how our breathing gets rid of ALL the atoms / materials of the food we eat?
In a day, our lungs do an amazing amount of work! They receive around 8,400 liters of air. In the English system, this is about 300 cubic feet of air. This amount of inhaled air weighs around 22 pounds (far MORE than the one pound of food or few pounds of liquid that you take in during the day!)
That INHALED air is around 21% oxygen, so we are talking of around 4.7 pounds of oxygen. It also contains about 390 ppmv of carbon dioxide (the natural content of the atmosphere) or around 0.01 pound of carbon dioxide IN each day. Depending on the humidity and air temperature that day, there is an amount of water vapor in the air which is also inhaled, which we will assume similarly minimal.
|material||per breath||volume per day||weight per day|
|total (100%)||500 ml (0.60 gm) (0.0013 lb)||8,400 liters (300 cf)||10.2 kg (22.2 lb)|
|oxygen (21%)||(0.12 gm) (0.0003 lb)||1,800 liters (63 cf)||2.2 kg (4.7 lb)|
|nitrogen (78%)||(0.47 gm) (0.0010 lb)||6,500 liters (235 cf)||7.9 kg (17.3 lb)|
|argon (0.9%)||(0.005 gm) (0.00001 lb)||70 liters (2.7 cf)||0.1 kg (0.2 lb)|
|CO2 (0.039%)||(0.00015 gm) (0.0000003 lb)||2.8 liters (0.1 cf)||0.002 kg (0.004 lb)|
|H2O (0.9%)||4.5 ml (0.006 gm) (0.00001 lb)||65 liters (2.3 cf)||0.08 kg (0.18 lb)|
When we EXHALE, several conditions are different. First, the air inside the lungs gets heated to nearly the body temperature, so it expands a few percent in size. Second, the water vapor inside that air in the lungs is generally near saturation, with 100% relative humidity in there. Third, the carbon dioxide in the air to be exhaled is similarly usually saturated. And fourth, the air exhaled is only around 14% oxygen.
Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures calculates the actual amounts of these gases in our exhaled breath. The carbon dioxide can be and commonly is at its maximum possible concentration of around 4.4% of the entire exhaled breath.
Above, we calculated the carbon dioxide content of exhaled breath. We also calculated that about 182 grams of elemental carbon is processed throughout the body in the daily Metabolism. We also saw that the NORMAL exhaled breath over a 24-hour day accounts for essentially the exact same amount of carbon (185 grams) that had entered the body during eating and digestion (182 grams), and we even now see WHY the body weight is therefore generally stable!
Regarding the exhaling of water vapor from the lungs, we can use similar calculations as above. we have around 6.1% of the exhaled breath being water vapor (saturated at body temperature). If that air had been inhaled from a room that was at normal room temperature and humidity, the inhaled air had contained around 0.9% water vapor (as humidity). We now have ADDED water vapor content of around (500 * 5.2%) 26 ml which is about 0.016 grams. Of this, around 0.002 gram is hydrogen atoms, a rather small amount. Only some of the water exhaled was produced by the chemical processing of foods and bodyfats, as significant amounts of that exhaled water vapor is simply from water evaporating from the inner surfaces of the lungs. So any analysis of the water and hydrogen content is far more complex than that of the carbon in the carbon dioxide, and we will omit any further analysis of it here.
One basic point of this discussion and calculation is that the (1.0) POUND of actual food that you eat each day, which is digested and not excreted, is accounted for, nearly completely and very accurately, by totaling up the WEIGHT of the carbon dioxide gas (1.5 lb) exhaled plus the WEIGHT of the water vapor gas generated and exhaled (0.6 lb) MINUS the WEIGHT of the (inhaled) oxygen used (1.1 lb) to accomplish these changes due to Metabolic actions. That is, we start with 1.0 lb food plus 1.1 lb oxygen or 2.1 pounds of material and end up with 1.5 lb CO2 plus 0.6 lb H2O or 2.1 pounds of material, confirming that the scientific Law of Conservation of Mass applies!
|material||per breath||volume per day||weight per day|
|total (100%)||500 ml (0.60 gm) (0.0013 lb)||8,400 liters (300 cf)||10.2 kg (22.2 lb)|
|oxygen (14%)||(0.08 gm) (0.0002 lb)||1,200 liters (42 cf)||1.5 kg (3.2 lb)|
|nitrogen (78%)||(0.47 gm) (0.0010 lb)||6,500 liters (235 cf)||7.9 kg (17.3 lb)|
|argon (0.9%)||(0.005 gm) (0.00001 lb)||70 liters (2.7 cf)||0.1 kg (0.2 lb)|
|CO2 (4.4%)||22 ml (0.0405 gm) (0.00009 lb)||370 liters (13 cf)||0.681 kg (1.5 lb)|
|H2O (6.1%)||31 ml (0.016 gm) (0.00003 lb)||520 liters (17 cf)||0.27 kg (0.6 lb)|
|Elemental Carbon||(0.0110 gm) (0.0003 lb)||-||0.182 kg (0.41 lb)|
(The actual complete analysis of all the thousands of bodily processes is far more complex that this simplified presentation, but these numbers are essentially correct.)
Related to that, we had already discussed that the INHALED air during a day totals around 22 pounds, and it contains about 4.7 pounds of INHALED oxygen. The inhaled air contained around 21% (natural) oxygen content, but our exhaled breath is depleted in oxygen, down to around 14%. This indicates that we exhale about 1.5 pound LESS of oxygen (3.2 lb) than we inhale in a day! This is actually more oxygen than is needed in exactly oxidizing the food, which we saw above is actually only around 1.1 pound. The body uses some oxygen for a variety of other processes, and also makes sure to never run short of oxygen, so it receives some excess oxygen. The actual amount is even slightly greater than this, due to inhaled air being at room temperature, where the density of the gases (Ideal Gas Law) are greater than at the exhaling temperature of the body.
Summary: We EAT 1.0 pound of food, and OXIDIZE it with 1.1 pound of oxygen (from our lungs inhaling) (for a grand total of about 2.1 pounds of materials chemically brought into the body each day) to TEMPORARILY create about 1 pound of glucose (and other organic energy storage, such as bodyfat, which one pound gets converted to become about 2200 Calories of energy. This conversion occurs primarily in the mitochondria of every cell in the body, by a process called the Kreb's Cycle or Citric Acid Cycle. That cycle therefore uses up the food or bodyfat molecules, by the metabolism, being oxidized into water and carbon dioxide and energy, and it therefore disappears). While that 2.1 pounds of total material (not counting water) gets added each day, the lungs dispose of around of 1.5 pound of carbon dioxide and 0.6 pound of new water created by the metabolism. These numbers are NOT rigidly precise here, but meant instead here just to suggest that the body does an amazing thing in RECEIVING one pound of solid food each day and apparently not ever disposing of it in any way! It ACTUALLY disposes of that pound of added material by ALSO bringing in more than a pound of oxygen in inhaling in the lungs, to then oxidize the food and then dispose of it in exhaled breaths.
Isn't it sort of WEIRD that we EAT one pound of food each day and have to INHALE an even GREATER weight of oxygen (1.1 pounds) which is needed to oxidize the food materials? And then we EXHALE (nearly) everything that eventually resulted from that one pound of food? Physicists find this very important, as related to the Law of Conservation of Mass! No one else seems to have ever cared at doing this sort of "materials audit" analysis, to actually confirm where all that food material goes! Apparently, everyone else simply ASSUMES that all that food gets excreted! Or they simply ignore it completely! But that is extremely wrong! So it is quite interesting that all the thousands of "experts" about these subjects have never seemed to have been aware of these basic scientific facts!
The body has thousands of different chemical reactions which it does, many of which involve trace amounts of many other elements. We do not mean to neglect those items here but are now simply focusing on a simple central truth which seems otherwise ignored or unknown.
This specific analysis provides us with a WONDERFUL new insight
regarding weight loss and all related subjects. However much food
you eat over any given time, at some point you must EXHALE enough
times to get rid of ALL of it, or else you WILL accumulate bodyfat!
And you probably already have, over a period of many years!|
Yes, good diet and exercise are very important, but actually only in a secondary way! Exercise is important BECAUSE it increases the metabolic rate, which ENABLES the body and lungs to EXHALE more carbon atoms! Anything that neglects that central fact cannot reduce bodyfat content. Period!
Yes, there are chemicals which speed up the metabolism of the body. Some are even called Speeders, but Cocaine has a similar effect. People who are addicted to such drugs have rapid metabolism and also breathing that is more rapid or deeper than in others (although no one seems to ever notice that fact.) And so they tend to be skinny people, rarely overweight. All these subjects fit together excellently in the Physics analysis!
This reasoning seems to imply that people who have had their noses broken or have a deviated septum, where they may breathe more shallowly than usual, may have gained weight and therefore may be statistically more obese than average people. Sounds like an excellent basis for a Medical or University Study! A statistical analysis of thousands of patients who have had standard physical exams might confirm or deny that.
This reasoning seems to imply that people who wear eyeglasses upon their noses, can either have the weight of the glasses supported by rigid cartilage or have that weight supported farther out upon soft tissue. In the latter case, the airpath inside the nasal passages might be narrowed by that extra weight. This may mean that they may breathe more shallowly than usual, and may have gained weight and therefore may be statistically more obese than average people. Sounds like another excellent basis for a Medical or University Study! A statistical analysis of thousands of patients who have had standard physical exams might confirm or deny that.
This reasoning seems to suggest that young girls who commonly have their mouth slightly open, might therefore breathe extra air in and out by that path, and thereby create and exhale a larger amount of carbon dioxide, and therefore be skinnier than otherwise expected. Anecdotally, that seems to me to generally be the case! I am not aware of ANY young girl who commonly had her moth slightly open, being fat! A statistical analysis of thousands of patients who have had standard physical exams might confirm or deny that.
Where many experts talk about Metabolic rates of different individuals, those different rates MIGHT be due to entirely different factors such as the above broken nose or slightly opened mouth. I am not sure that I see any way that a brain could alter the rate of metabolism without also modifying the rate or depth of respiration as well.
The brain constantly monitors many things in the body, and decides to adjust things like the Metabolism and the rate of Respiration as it deems necessary. For example, if you go up to Pikes Peak, where the air only has a pressure of around 9 PSI instead of the sea level 14.7 PSI, each of your standard inhaled breaths only contains about 2/3 the oxygen that would be in a sea level breath. Your brain adjusts your Metabolism and breathing rates as necessary. The brain MIGHT cause you to breathe more deeply or more often OR it MIGHT cause you to be less strenuously active physically. Similarly, if you instead went down into a deep cave or mine, each of your standard breaths might contain 1.5 times as much oxygen as at sea level. Again, your brain makes the necessary adjustments. And it commonly makes such changes nearly immediately. If you jump up from your chair right now and run a mile, your brain will figure out what needs to be adjusted and it does it! Pretty cool!
SO! What if you put on a "belt" (or thin strap) around your chest, which included a tension monitor or switch? Where each breath would trigger a counter, or in a more sophisticated version, might do a Calculus-like summation of the number and depth of your breaths per minute? And if that is less than some specified number or quantity, a buzzer or light might alert you to breathe a little extra? COULD your brain be trained, conditioned, into breathing just 10% more? (NOT as much as the 33% less on Pikes Peak or the 50% more in the deep cave, just 10%). After a while of such training, WOULD your body start NATURALLY breathing 10% faster or deeper? If so, it could be really interesting!
Your Metabolism is not really limited by how much oxygen comes in, because you actually generally always inhale somewhat more oxygen than you need. But it IS intimately tied to how much carbon dioxide you are able to exhale. THAT is a limiting condition. The air and carbon dioxide you exhale is at around body core temperature, generally many degrees warmer than the air that had been inhaled, so the Ideal Gas Laws indicate that the exhaled breath has to be of larger volume than the inhaled breath was.
So now, if your brain and body can be TRAINED to naturally breathe just 10% more per minute, consider the implications. Instead of exhaling the carbon dioxide from 2,200 Calories of food, your body would be ABLE to exhale the carbon dioxide from 10% more food, or 2,420 Calories! But if you kept your food intake at 2,200 Calories per day, this implies that you might burn up an extra 220 Calories every day! After 15 days, that represents the energy in one full pound of bodyfat! And after a year, that might represent an ACTUAL reduction of bodyfat by about 22 pounds!
This is based on the assumption that your brain would increase your Metabolic rate NOW THAT IT WAS ABLE TO DO SO. It MIGHT instead decide to preserve your bodyfat and simply keep the metabolism at the lower level. The effect then would be that your exhaled breaths would not have the maximum possible amount of carbon dioxide in them.
Still, this certainly seems worthy of study! If obese people could reliably lose 22 pounds of bodyfat each year, without having to do massive exercising and without having to alter their diets, it MIGHT represent a valuable method of dealing with the obesity epidemic around the world!
Hyperventilation IS potentially dangerous, for rather interesting reasons, but that is ENTIRELY a different subject than this one! We have discussed above that the human body generally breathes around 12 times per minute with around half a liter of air in each breath. That is therefore around 6 liters per minute. In Medical circles, this is often called "minute respiration". When extremely intense exercise or exertion is done, the human body can operate at a minute respiration of greater than 40 liters per minute. Blood flow begins to be a limiting factor then, and there are effects such as temporary creation of lactic acid in muscles that can be very painful.
In any case, the point here is that the human body has a NORMAL range of operation that is extremely broad, where increasing the 6 liters to 40 liters or more per minute has probably occurred to every human at some time in their lives. THIS presentation is suggesting an increase of only from 6.0 liters to 6.6 liters per minute. From all medical perspectives, that is an irrelevantly small change, where no adverse effects would occur at all.
A person can certainly cause hyperventilation. Before diving into a swimming pool to swim two full lengths underwater, I was TAUGHT to hyperventilate for half a minute. The premise was to fill the lungs with a higher proportion of oxygen to be used during the next minute underwater, and it was a good technique. However, you may have seen someone intentionally hyperventilate for a minute or two and they probably became dizzy. The reason for that is interesting. As the person hyperventilates for a while, the chemistry of the blood changes. More carbon dioxide is in the blood, which is carried as separate H+ and HCO3 ions (involving a water molecule). This is carbonic acid. When the body senses the change in pH due to the excess acid, it constricts blood vessels to the brain to reduce any damage due to the acid. This constriction restricts the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain! And the person gets dizzy! Weird? You artificially breathe a lot too fast, and you are actually getting TOO MUCH oxygen into your lungs, but that causes TOO LITTLE oxygen to get to your brain!
So we do NOT suggest or recommend any great change in the rate of respiration. Do NOT "triple" your breathing rate, or else you WILL likely start to feel the dizziness of moderate hyperventilation. ONLY make the extremely minor 10% increase that we recommend, which has no medical consequence whatever, except for the CAPABILITY of disposing of 10% more carbon dioxide than usual.
You probably sleep with a heavy blanket so that you are all toasty and cozy, right? It turns out that IF you really keep yourself warm like that, your body can reduce its sleeping metabolism down to as low as about 20 Calories per hour. Consider instead the simple change of sleeping with only a single sheet over you, where your skin temperature is still comfortable but several degrees cooler. In that case, it is well documented that the sleeping body has a metabolic rate of around 80 Calories per hour.
Seeing it yet? In eight hours of COZY sleep, your SLEEPING body will use up around 160 Calories (8 * 20). But with just the sheet, it will instead use up around 640 Calories (8 * 80)!
This tiny difference could result in your body using up an additional 480 Calories every day, WHILE YOU SLEEP! In just SEVEN DAYS, that represents about one pound of bodyfat! In a full year of sleeping with just that sheet, there is a realistic chance that you could use up FIFTY POUNDS OF EXCESS BODYFAT!
And while you SLEEP! If you should also do any exercising or reduce your dietary intake, even better!
This SEEMS to work! I am not obese, but maybe a few pounds more than I was when I was younger. By sleeping with a rather light cover rather than the very heavy blanket I used to use, and not really altering anything else in my life, I appear to have lost about 8 or 10 pounds during the past six months or so. That is NOT a true scientific collection of data, but I feel that it confirms that the basic premise seems to be valid.
The molecular weights are: 180 gram-moles + 192 gram-moles forms 264 gram-moles + 108 gram-moles, respectively.
The molecular weights are: 854 gram-moles + 2448 gram-moles forms 2420 gram-moles + 882 gram-moles, respectively.
The molecular weights are: 854 gram-moles + 2448 gram-moles forms 2420 gram-moles + 882 gram-moles, respectively.
The molecular weights are: 854 gram-moles + 2448 gram-moles forms 2420 gram-moles + 882 gram-moles, respectively.
In each of these cases, the body can have a normal day of activities, using up a total of 2,200 Calories of energy in the process. This is meant to demonstrate that the human body has a variety of ways to survive. If a mixture of food types is available, we are omnivores, where we can benefit from nearly all of them. If instead, ONLY fat or only carbohydrates or only protein foods are available, the body operates differently but has the same end result. And if NO food source is available, the body uses some of its store of bodyfat to provide the needed energy for survival. Interestingly, in each case, the body creates around the same amount of carbon dioxide that it has to exhale, so there is no significant change in breathing patterns when different sources of its energy are used.
This is also interesting because it seems to suggest that the body can use a diet of ANY combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with essentially identical benefits! The endless claims heard regarding Carbo-diets or Protein-diets or Fat-free-diets or No-Carb-Diets, may sell a lot of books, but the science seems to suggest that there may not be any actual benefit from any of the fad diets! It is more the QUANTITY of food eaten that is important, given the specific types of food available. If the simple calculation above is used to determine the breathing rate and the daily capability of YOUR body to dump carbon and carbon dioxide, and you then eat accordingly, you should be able to gain weight or lose weight or maintain your weight, no matter WHAT kinds of food you eat! An all-ice-cream-diet may be possible (although it would certainly lack many important trace elements that the body needs for healthy operation)! You would have to be attentive to the fact that the QUANTITY of ice cream would need to be carefully monitored, to comply with the breathing /exhaling capability of your body, but it should technically be possible!
The public is sometimes incorrectly worried that the increase in concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere itself might be dangerous. Nope! Inside your (closed) home in winter, you might have concentrations of 4,000 ppmv (parts per million by volume), ten times greater than the natural air outside which is now around 388 ppmv. In old auditoriums which have lousy air circulation systems, a three-hour lecture or Sermon to thousands of people can sometimes result in 10,000 ppmv, which can have the effect to make many people a little drowsy! And in submarines, up to 20,000 ppmv of carbon dioxide is allowable! The actual main danger is regarding the established fact that the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere represents a "blanket effect" to keep heat from escaping the earth. Many Agronomists believe that if the average Earth temperature rises to just 80°F [27°C] (it is now around 59°F [15°C]), that plants (crops) worldwide will no longer be capable of lifting sufficient water from the soil to keep their leaves from drying out and dying. If all the plants die, then there will be no food for animals or humans. The fear is that this might occur within one or two centuries. There is a credible possibility that we might have ALREADY set in motion a greater temperature increase than that.
We have a very comprehensive presentation on such matters at: The Physics of Global Warming Atmospheric problems.
For example, a triglyceride in bodyfat is a glycerol (C3H5) which is esterified (CO2H) with three fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid.
This specific triglyceride results in a large molecule which is C55H98O6. Note that very little of it is as oxygen atoms, so it nearly all represents fuel of energy storage.
In this specific case, 77.3% of the weight is carbon and 11.4% is hydrogen, with only 11.2% being oxygen. Therefore, 77.3% of the ten pounds of bodyfat which is to be eliminated is 7.7 pounds.
Cells throughout the body capture energy from organic molecules by the Krebs' Cycle and other processes, which produces water and carbon dioxide as by-products.
Those by-products are carried by the blood to the lungs, where oxygen is captured from recently inhaled air and the carbon dioxide and water vapor is transferred into the air which is exhaled.
The body can get rid of extremely small amounts of carbon in urine compounds, but not enough to be significant for these needs. There are also small amounts of carbon lost from skin cells that die and are rubbed off. You also lose millions of epithelial cells every day which line your intestine, and you excrete them which accounts for a small amount of carbon atoms, but not remotely comparable to the amount of carbon atoms you exhale as carbon dioxide.
Each INCOMING breath draws in air which is at the natural 0.038% of carbon dioxide, and each outgoing breath contains around a maximum of 4.4% of carbon dioxide. (Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures).
When sitting, we breathe around 12 times per minute and each normal breath is around 0.5 liter of air. This all means that in each minute of normal breathing, we exhale around 0.25 liter of carbon dioxide.
This means that each minute, we each exhale around 0.5 gram
of carbon dioxide, or around 1/1000 of a pound. This includes around
1/3500 pound (0.13 gram) of actual carbon atoms per minute.
In exhaling around 0.13 gram of actual carbon atoms per minute (of twelve breaths), we can just divide that into the 7.7 pounds or 3496 grams that we need to exhale.
This fraction, 3495 / 0.13
gives us 26,900 minutes of breathing twelve times each, or a
total of around 315,000 separate exhalations required.
Using the same calculations above, we see that 26,900 minutes is the same as 18.8 days of 1,440 minutes each.
This amount of time would be required to exhale just the carbon
atoms from the desired loss of the ten pounds of bodyfat. It does NOT
include any exhaling of carbon atoms in any foods eaten during those 18.8
C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Univ of Chicago