Bodyfat, Weight Loss, Obesity, the Physics of Body Weight Control
Amazingly, how you breathe has a tremendous effect on
whether you gain or lose weight!.
People commonly talk about Calories and Bodyfat, but it appears that
maybe they should instead really be more focused specifically on carbon atoms!
In an average day, an adult American man will eat foods and liquids that
contain a total of about 189 grams of carbon atoms. In the roughly
17,000 times he exhales that day, he exhales about 0.011 gram of carbon
atoms as part of the carbon dioxide in every exhaled breath or a total
of about 189 grams of carbon atoms every day.
This match normally keeps his weight and bodyfat rather constant!
By the way, 189 grams is nearly HALF A POUND EVERY DAY! Or THIRTEEN
POUNDS EVERY MONTH! If he could avoid ALL eating for a month (total
fasting), he would still be breathing (exhaling) and his body WOULD have to
use up thirteen pounds of his stored bodyfat to survive and be active!
A thorough examination of the Physics involved provides new insights into
evaluating the many weight-loss programs sold today. It does not appear that
ANY of the thousands of (alleged) weight-loss programs that are sold actually
consider the actual science involved! The foods you eat are primarily atoms
of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. YOU are more than 94% C, H and O atoms.
A basic law of science is called the
Conservation of Mass, where nothing can just disappear. Getting rid of
used and discarded hydrogen and oxygen atoms is easy, usually as water
in sweat, urination, or exhaled water vapor. Some companies know that
some chemicals act as Diuretics, which make you urinate a lot more than
normal, which gets rid of WATER so your weight seems to drop! But your
brain knows to get you to drink more water for health purposes, and the
weight comes back. Actual body weight is much more dependent on carbon
atoms and nearly all of the molecules in you include carbon atoms.
Unfortunately, the human body really only has one easy process of getting
rid of used carbon atoms, as part of the carbon dioxide molecules your
No one seems to know this rather basic scientific fact! Any attempt for you
to either gain or lose weight needs to consider this situation. For
example, you could exercise to increase your Metabolic Rate and your
Respiration Rate, toward losing weight. Sweat and exhale deeper and faster.
This Research was first placed on the Internet in October 2009
Many of my 2009 concepts were published in 2014 by British Medical Journal
(BMJ) and ABC-News (Australia) Catalyst, Business Insider and others.
They (and others) never bothered to give me any credit for the years
of Research which I had done in 2002-2009.
It is darkly disappointing that at least two enormous corporations, BMJ
(British Medical Journal) and ABC-News (Australia) Catalyst, have been mislead by
incompetent others into publishing articles in 2014 based on how the human
body can control bodyfat due to aspects of how the lungs exhale.
Their author, who claims to be a scientist, made countless huge logical
and factual blunders, such as the 'detail' of ever even considering that
a human needs to eat! He dreamed up a wild (un-scientific) speculation,
ONLY considering bodyfat,
which totally ignored ever eating food and entirely focused on the process
of metabolizing bodyfat, and he ferociously defends
it, where he tried to do a math analysis of the biochemistry of human
bodyfat. That might have been useful for someone who did a forty-day
Fast, but his math had nothing to do when any food is eaten!
Unfortunately, he made dozens of math mistakes, but worse, and laughably,
he totally neglected the fact that a person has to occasionally eat!
It is hard to not laugh as he attempted to exclusively analyze human bodyfat
to come up with some great importance of 84% regarding the portion of
metabolized bodyfat which results in exhaled human breath being carbon
dioxide. That is an irrelevant number, but even if he had not made so
many math errors, his arguments and math could only
be true if a person NEVER ATE ANY FOOD and only survived on using up human
bodyfat! How could BMJ and ABC-News (Australia) publish such incompetent trash?
I first published THIS scholarly article in this page on the Internet five
years earlier in October 2009, where I provided a Chart down below (still
there!) which carefully analyzes Exhaled Breath which DOES include
both the biochemistry of bodyfat AND of the FOOD we consume each day. The
Chart I provided in 2009 shows that the actual percentage is about
71%, although that number has absolutely NO actual importance!|
Generally, such organizations as BMJ and ABC-News (Australia) use a process of Internal
Peer Review to ensure the accuracy before publishing, but both BMJ and
Catalyst admit to NOT using Internal Peer Review on this subject.
In the few months that their author Meerman spent on this in 2014, he made
many serious scientific errors in his work. He said 'I lost 15 kg in 2013
and simply wanted to know where the kilogrammes were going. After a
self-directed, crash course in biochemistry, I stumbled onto this amazing
result.' Their author Brown said, in early 2014, 'As far as I am
aware, his (Meerman's) results are completely new to the field.'
NO THEY WEREN'T, being five years AFTER I had published this
even more comprehensive web-page of information in 2009.
The very fact that author Meerman 'had to give himself a self-directed,
crash course in biochemistry' should have been a clue that he did
not have the education to Research such a subject, and he did not even then
pursue any actual University curriculum toward learning the field. Brown's
comment makes clear that he did not even thoroughly examine that effort
in generating his opinion of it.
Careful examination of Meerman's text shows many serious errors of
facts and weakness of scientific assumptions. NO self-respecting scientific
Peer-Review group would have authorized any article that contained so many
logical blunders and factual errors! Meerman had even chosen a WRONG
chemical (linolenic acid) for one of his strange central arguments!
The actual correct chemical in human bodyfat, (alpha-linolenic acid)
has a molecular weight of 28 less. That math error alone makes many of his
bizarre calculations significantly wrong! He incorrectly described the Glycol
molecular backbone as C3H6, where it actually
is C3H5. Many other different errors and bad
assumptions are throughout his article. No valid Peer Review group would
have authorized such poor work, even if such a Peer Review Group had not
been aware of my five-year-earlier published work on the subject.
Then Meerman came up with 'novel' arguments to explain gaining or losing
weight. ABC-News (Australia) Catalyst aired it in Australia in March 2014 and BMJ
published it on December 16, 2014 (BMJ 2014;349:g7257). The entire 'new'
article, in both cases, contained many factual errors and poor assumptions,
but it was certainly amazingly similar in text to my five-year-earlier-published
work. The day after BMJ published that work in December 2014, a loyal reader
of mine saw it on the Internet and sent in an e-mail to BMJ that informed
them of my essentially identical five-year-old work "Yup, I
learned this around 2009 from my favorite mad scientist." (where he
also included my web-page's address). (That person was one of more than
24,000 people who had already read (this) my 2009 web-page.)
A different publication, Business Insider published a brief
version of these two in calling it Scientists Only Just Figured Out Where
Fat Goes When You Lose Weight (published December 17, 2014). No one
gives any credit to the fact that I had explained all this (and much more)
in my work which was published more than five years earlier!
I had worked on these subjects for eight years (2002-2009) and applied
careful scientific inquiry.
How could Meerman have incorrectly identified one of the main chemicals
in human bodyfat? How could he have forgotten that people have to eat
to be able to metabolize food, and exclusively think about only bodyfat
being used? He then tried to use simplistic math reasoning to claim some
alleged importance in the fractions of carbon dioxide and water vapor in
exhaled breath in a claim (of metabolized bodyfat). He neglected many
things in this speculation. For one thing, my October 2009 article includes
a chart which gives analysis of a day's EXHALED Breath (of FOOD and possibly
also a little bodyfat) (below), where 0.6 pound of water vapor and 1.5
pound of carbon dioxide were included in a comprehensive chart (which also
matched up with a similar chart of the chemistry of a day's INHALED breath,
where Conservation of Mass was confirmed.) If the two exhaled gases were
compared, carbon dioxide represents about 71% of that total. Meerman
used a logically sloppy approach where he only examined bodyfat metabolism
where he decided that carbon dioxide is supposed to be 84% of the total.
Why didn't he just look at the charts that I had Researched five years
earlier? Also, any credible scientist would have done Medical statistical
experiments to simply MEASURE the two gases in a Hospital to see whether his
speculated number was right or wrong!
He neglected all sorts of things such as that Dalton's Law and all other
basic scientific laws are dependent on ambient temperature and on humidity.
INHALED air may be at 30°F and therefore rather dense while EXHALED air
is generally at 98.6°F, and therefore far less dense. His calculations
never made any reference to or adjustment for such major math effects.
He also overlooked an obvious fact regarding that the body processes
carbon dioxide and water vapor in chemically different ways! He DID seem
to notice that carbon dioxide is only discarded by exhaled breath (which he
might have read from my five-year-old article) but he seems ignorant of the
fact that the body has SEVERAL different ways of discarding of the huge
amount of water that it generates by its Basal Metabolism!
He DID note that only 0.6 pound of water vapor is exhaled per day (possibly
also read from my older article). He decided to then ONLY compare only the
two exhaled amounts (and not excreted, another wrong word). and totally
ignore the rest of the body's Metabolism and biochemistry!
But he seemed ignorant that the human body CAN metabolically process and
dispose of SEVEN TIMES THAT MUCH WATER as urine every day (4 pounds of
urine per day).
Depending on the temperature and humidity, quite a bit of water can also be
disposed of as perspiration. Marathon runners dispose of much more water by
both sweating and that of exhaled humid breath. Author Meerman made many
wildly wrong assumptions, including incorrectly ignoring the temperature
effects of the proportion that he thinks is so important, but worse, his
figures are horribly off by both his incorrect chemical definitions but
also his ignoring the obvious fact that the body loses most of its
daily moisture by urine, sweat and other processes. Apparently, he felt
he could look impressive by exclusively referring to an obscure analysis
of bodyfat by the Dalton Law of Partial Pressure. I was NOT impressed! It is darkly
humorous that even the core point he tried to make, regarding percentage
composition of exhaled breath is actually irrelevant, since the body
commonly disposes of such large amounts of water by urination and sweat.
Interestingly, he DID note that the body can lose water through tears!
Too bad he didn't do any calculation about how many gallons of water
the body loses by tears every day!
The actual proportion of gases exhaled varies a lot with season and diet, and
it is pretty illogical that any actual scientist would get so carried away with
trying to claim any FIXED proportion in exhaled breath! Of course, Meerman
never bothered to consider diet anyway, only metabolized bodyfat!
Especially since the alleged percentage is irrelevant anyway. But if he
felt it was so critical important, why didn't he EXPERIMENTALLY CONFIRM
whatever that proportion actually is. Or explain WHY that
(alleged) percentage had any importance (which it does not).
These many errors bring a smile when noting that he also decided to
do a 'survey of experts' where he gave foolish choices to pick from, such
as offering that 'weight loss results in fecal defecation' or in 'weight
loss results in muscle creation'. He must also not be aware that a valid
'survey' must contain credible alternatives. Or maybe he was merely
demonstrating that he does not know how to do scientific inquiry. Such as
understanding the actual importance of how a scientific law called the
Conservation of Mass AND a scientific law called Conservation of Energy can
BOTH be true at the same time! And more and more errors.
He made a central bonehead logical error in his central claim! He
ASSUMED that ALL carbon dioxide and water vapor from the body's
Metabolism ONLY exits through the lungs. There is no logical reason
for that to have to be true regarding water, and for a hundred years,
Doctors have tracked where some of that water goes into the blood and
then into the bladder and also into sweat glands. So his CENTRAL
assumption is simply dead wrong!
He seems very aggressive in defending his 'novel approach' (and his 84%)
(of 2014) and he was totally ignoring that I had done even more
comprehensive research on the subject in 2002-2009 which included an
implied 71% proportion. I would LOVE to hear WHY he thinks that
proportion has any importance at all! In 2009, I certainly SHOWED
that chart (below) where 0.6 pound of water vapor and 1.5 pound of carbon
dioxide is exhaled per day, but neither I nor anyone else saw any
importance in claiming any such percentage of 71% of carbon dioxide.
If giant corporations such as BMJ and ABC-News (Australia) Catalyst decide to publish
work which I had done (and previously published five years earlier),
shouldn't they have been required to CREDIT my Research and PAID me for
what they made a profit on? And I really don't want to comment on the
copying of so much of my work. Their self-promotion of their articles makes
clear that THEY consider it to be IMPORTANT WORK. Well?
It IS important, and so it DOES need to be accurate information, as in
coming years, millions of people may use my 2009 results to regain control
of their personal weight. I had taught the world in 2009 the importance
of how we breathe regarding possibly losing bodyfat!
Oh, Meerman has attacked me regarding noting his incompetence. In
response, he chose to 'educate me' such as about 'carbon dioxide being
discovered in the year 1754.' I must admit that I had not known that!
But I don't really care about irrelevant matters anyway! It is not
actually known for sure exactly what year Joseph Black made his
There are actually only two things you can do to reduce your bodyfat.
One is to eat less food than your body actually needs. (which
reduces the number of carbon atoms you have stored in your body).
The other is to exercise or otherwise use up more carbon atoms
than you consume each day (which can make your body overheat and
give off more heat radiation and also actually makes you have to breathe
faster or deeper which exhales more carbon atoms as carbon dioxide).
Unless you accomplish one or both of these
simple goals, your body has no way to get rid of massive numbers
of carbon atoms it has stored in bodyfat. It is as simple as this,
and the endless list of ideas businesses present to you to get
money from you cannot accomplish anything otherwise.|
We are all swamped with advertising which insists that if you buy this or
that product or herb, you will suddenly be able to easily lose large amounts
of bodyfat, absolutely easily and painlessly! The customers must believe
that the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny accomplishes these goals, since
they have never been able to lose bodyfat before. That Tooth Fairy or
Easter Bunny has to defy all known scientific laws if such claims
are to be valid. If you read the following SCIENTIFIC text, you will
learn that human bodyfat is about 77% carbon atoms
footnote 1, and a basic scientific
Law called the Conservation of Matter says that those atoms cannot
simply vanish! You will also learn that the human body really only
has one significant way to get rid of carbon atoms, and that is by
exhaling carbon dioxide in your breath, around 12 times every minute.
Any advertising claim that says that your bodyfat will vanish after
taking some magical pills or herbs or medical-sounding concoction,
is simply not remotely true. It IS possible to lose bodyfat, but
that requires persistence and patience that many people do not seem
to have. Each day, YOU actually do exhale around 0.4 pound of carbon
atoms (in the carbon dioxide of around 17,000 exhaled breaths!),
and that would actually get you somewhere, but you also happen
to eat and drink foods and liquids which contain around 0.4 pound of
carbon atoms. Bummer! Lawyers carefully word every sentence in the
claims of such companies to minimize the chance that they might get
sued for lying to customers, but they certainly get mighty close
to the line! The scientific facts are presented here.
The following will fully explain the following simple facts. In each
average day, YOU inhale and exhale about 12 times per minute, during
each of the 1440 minutes of the day, or a total of around 17,000 times.
Each average exhaled breath takes up about 500 ml or about the volume
of a ripe orange, and each exhaled breath carries away about 0.011 gram
of carbon atoms which is waste from the operation of your body. That is
a total of about 189 grams (or 0.4 pound) of carbon atoms you get rid of each day by
exhaling. IF you ate an appropriate amount of food that day, we will see
below that all the food contained, SURPRISE!, about 189 grams of carbon
atoms in it! In that case, your body would neither gain nor lose weight
that day. Period!
The Biochemistry of your body is rather amazing. Your body has to
inhale and exhale about 22.2 pounds of air, in about 17,000 breaths, such
that it can process just the ONE pound of food that you eat and digest each
day! Seems hard to believe but that is true!
If you are an active adult man, each day your body USES UP about
2,200 Calories of energy, to mechanically operate your heart and lungs
and other muscles, along with chemical actions like digestion, electrical
activities like the operation of your brain and nervous system, and
other systems to enable your body to live, along with a few hundred
Calories which get used up by your walking and running and carrying
things. THIS is an unavoidable fact!
You might be interested to learn that the human body has a maximum
efficiency of around 20%. What this means is that around 1750 of
those Calories are used up just to keep you alive, what is called
Basal Metabolism, and only around
450 of those Calories actually are used to move and carry things.
Sort of disappointing, isn't it?
That energy is provided from chemical energy in the foods and
liquids we eat and drink. Our bodies know how to extract and
use the carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms, and then use the available
energy, in each cell's Mitochondria, where a complex process called
the Kreb's Cycle (or the Citric Acid Cycle) does all this for you.
You actually are faced with THREE choices!
(1) You can eat EXCESS food,
which your body does not need during that day, and your body chooses
to STORE that excess energy as Bodyfat, for some possible future day
when you might not find any food, a survival process used by many
animals and man. THIS is the (only) way that we get overweight.
(2) You might eat LESS food than your body actually needs, either due
to not having access to sufficient food or due to your elective choice of
dieting (or even Fasting). Your body STILL needs to use up around 2,200
Calories, and it makes up the difference by accessing some previously
stored bodyfat, and converting it into the additional energy you need.
THIS is the (only) way that we can (actually) lose weight.
(3) But traditionally, you provide that needed energy by eating about
1.5 pounds (680 grams) of food, of which about half a pound is material
which cannot be digested by humans (some of which we call roughage or
fiber) which simply passes through our digestive tract. The remaining
one pound (454 grams) of food that you CAN digest provides the required
2200 Calories of energy.
An interesting fact exists, which probably will never be asked on
Jeopardy! Prior to about 20 years ago, the daily food intake in the
United States for an adult man was generally described as being around 3200
Calories. (Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council, Revised
1953) That number was found by measuring ALL the materials that were
taken into the mouth in a 24 hour day, and it WAS a valid number. But
all modern research describes our Dietary Intake, which is around 2200
Calories per day (for an adult man). The difference was simply that
it was realized that we swallow those 9 ounces of food each day
which we cannot digest. The modern figure is a more useful value,
in being the amount of our food which we can actually digest! So,
IF you should look in a very old textbook, you are likely to see a
daily food intake value of around 3200 Calories, which you should
Bodyfat is an impressively compact source of energy, where only 0.6
pound of bodyfat can provide that full day's energy needs which normally
requires about 1.0 pound of food.
The analysis and the numbers are below, as well as the implications regarding
trying to lose weight.
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.|
WHEN that pound of bodyfat is used up, the laws of science INSIST that
(1) VERY LARGE amounts of energy must be released (the chemical binding
energies); and (2) all the atoms from those molecules MUST go somewhere!
It turns out that the hydrogen and oxygen atoms are pretty easy to
dispose of, as water in sweat, exhaled breath, urination, etc. But the
body ONLY has ONE (significant) METHOD of disposing of virtually all carbon
atoms, and the excellent energy density of bodyfat means that that means
about 77% of all the weight of atoms which need to be disposed of.
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
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 (about 17,000) 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
Antarctica 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, Speeders,
Amphetamines, and related drugs, which both speeds
up the Metabolism and the breathing, and which explains why
Cocaine addicts are always rather skinny! Of course, you could also
have a surgeon cut away some pounds of bodyfat from your body.
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
program 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 17,000 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.
- Any food or other material that acts as a diuretic will cause
the person to urinate more than normal, with the observed result
generally being a very rapid (temporary) reduction of total body weight!
Such things are PROMOTED as allegedly reducing bodyfat, where the reality
is that only water is actually being removed from the body.
As a 200-pound man, my body normally contains around 120 pounds of water
in it. If a pound or two of additional urination occurs for a few
days, it can SEEM to be a miraculous weight-loss diet! It is not.
Eventually, your brain will inspire you to drink some extra water
or other liquids to replenish your water percentage and the alleged
weight loss disappears!
- If a person desires to lose exactly ten pounds of bodyfat,
that means that approximately 7.7 pounds of carbon atoms must be
somehow eliminated from the body. note 1.
- The human body has essentially only a single process to eliminate
carbon atoms from the body in quantity, and that is by exhaling
carbon dioxide in the breath from the lungs. note 2.
- Each normal exhaled breath contains a specific amount of
carbon dioxide or carbon atoms note 3,
which then requires a total of about 315,000 exhaled breaths to get
rid of the necessary 7.7 pounds. note 4.
This would take 18.8 days IF no food at all was eaten during that
time! note 5.
- It is NOT easy to lose bodyfat very fast!
- Actual effective methods of reducing bodyfat always involve
very slow and methodical persistence, of losing a small amount on each
day over weeks and months.
- This means that even if NO food is eaten for a twenty-day period,
the BEST that could possibly be hoped for would be a reduction of
about ten actual pounds of bodyfat! (A good deal of
extra WEIGHT would likely be lost as well, but that would be nearly all
simply water.) None of the magical weight-loss programs advertised
today ever refer to these scientific facts!
- There is amazing lack of knowledge of the actual Chemistry
and Physics involved in attempts at weight loss. This has allowed
countless businesses to promote every imaginable silly (and ineffective)
idea, by simply making their opinions sound as if they are impressively
- When you eat food, the scientific Law of Conservation of Mass
applies. Virtually everyone thinks that they know how the mass of the food
they eat eventually leaves the body, but they are wrong! Once food
is digested, it leaves the alimentary canal and could not exit by
- Virtually ALL the food that you have ever eaten (and digested), has left
your body by an entirely different path and process! You EXHALED it!
- Weird, huh?
- In fact, we will show you how and why, if you determine your Resting
Rate of respiration, you can very easily calculate the amount of food that
YOU can eat where you will neither gain nor lose weight! And then if you
are careful to keep your food intake BELOW that level, even without
massive exercising, you WILL (gradually) lose bodyfat and weight!
- Really weird? But true!
- NOT at spectacular rates, but slowly and methodically.
- There seem to be THOUSANDS of 'experts' who each claim to totally
know how to get people to SUDDENLY lose weight. There is every indication
that extremely few of them have any idea of what they are talking about!
(You may have noticed that they ALL somehow expect to make money from
whatever impressive-sounding ideas they promote! Dozens and dozens of
very popular books have been written and sold, which have promoted
every permutation of possible diets, workout programs, and a lot
of popular concepts such as herbal extracts. There is very little
evidence that any of them have had, or COULD HAVE, much solid basis!)
- This presentation examines the actual science, the Physics of what
is actually involved. It is quite different from anything you have
probably ever seen or heard before!
- Specifically, all the foods and liquids you stick in your mouth
are nearly completely made up of three elements, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.
All organic materials are primarily composed of these three elements,
with trace amounts of other elements such as calcium, nitrogen, potassium,
iron, etc. All the liquids you drink are nearly completely water,
hydrogen and oxygen atoms, again with trace amounts of other elements.
If they are sweetened, then a lot of carbon atoms, too, as part of the
- Well, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of all that are fairly
easy for your body to eventually discard when done being used, as water.
Some leaves by urination and by sweating, but the majority leaves as
water vapor in your very humid exhaled breath. (You HAVE noticed the
'steam' you seem to exhale on really cold days!)
- The human body actually has essentially only one significant method
of getting rid of carbon atoms, that is as carbon dioxide in exhaled
breath. note 2.
- So, unless some method of alleged weight loss involves faster or deeper
breathing, to provide a way for additional carbon atoms from used up bodyfat
to be expelled from the body, no significant actual reduction of bodyfat is
- Even worse, the food you take in generally is generally about half oxygen
atoms in the molecules, while your body removes most of them in
creating bodyfat. Big deal? Well, yes! This causes the bodyfat
to only need to take up about 2/3 the volume than if the same amount of
energy was stored as food materials. This is great regarding survival
for many days in a desert, but it represents an added complication
in trying to get rid of excess bodyfat.
- We will see below that a world-class Marathon runner uses up
less than ONE POUND of bodyfat during the 26 miles of the race, although
he/she sweats and exhales MANY pounds of water during the race. So it
might SEEM that the runners lost a lot of bodyfat, but that really
was not the case!
- Many other surprising consequences also result!
- We will even show you how to CALCULATE your equilibrium food intake
based on your respiration rate!
Each day, you stick assorted foods and liquids into your mouth! Your
digestive system attempts to deal with all of them. It's success ratio
depends a lot on just what you ate.
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
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.
Why you seem to always fail at dieting
Many people rely on a bathroom scale to monitor their body weight.
A rather weak idea, at best! Consider the following: In addition to
that food you eat each day, you also drink a LOT of liquids. Whether that
is tap water or coffee or tea or soda, it is nearly all water. It is
common to drink a minimum of 8 cups (8 ounces each) of water each day,
or 64 ounces or half a gallon. That is more than 4 pounds of water.
Many people drink more than that,
in the 3/4 gallon to gallon range. OK. Say you AVOID urinating
for an entire 24 hour period! You swallowed as much as a gallon of water
during that day, water which weighs around 8.3 pounds per gallon!
See the problem? Whatever your real Metabolism did that day,
there is an ADDITIONAL 8.3 pounds of water inside you that was not
there the day before! (some actually DOES disappear, as humidity in
exhaled breath and in sweat, which we will examine more fully below.) The
bathroom scale??? The point here is that your
bathroom scale could read as much as 8 pounds higher the next day!
That result would NOT mean that you failed on your diet, but instead
simply (temporarily) added a lot of additional water to your body!
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?
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 rid 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 Winfrey 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!
How can you keep track of this stuff? Nearly everyone thinks that using a
bathroom scale will do it. No it won't! If you ate an extra
hundred Calories of food content each day, that only creates about
1/36 pound of bodyfat! After 36 days, you would only notice having
gained ONE pound of bodyweight! The same effect is true if you
either went on a careful diet of 100 Calories LESS than usual (EVERY
day!) or did significant exercise workouts where you were able to
burn up that 100 Calories or 1/36 pound of body fat. In both cases,
a bathroom scale is not nearly accurate enough!
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! In early 2003, we
developed a far simpler, quicker (one or two minutes), cheap (generally free),
and without any danger at all! It is described at
Bodyfat - Accurate and Easy Determination
Bodyfat Analysis Weights - Pepsi Bottles and Pennies
Bodyfat Percentage - Determining Accurate Bodyfat Easily An Automatic Calculator for the above system
As an aside here, exercise is certainly central to being able to
ACTUALLY reduce the amount of bodyfat (by both increasing the
body's metabolism AND increasing the rate of respiration to actually
get rid of the carbon atoms from that used bodyfat). But the RATE
of such benefit is nowhere close to what people seem to assume!
An extreme case is a Marathon runner. In running over 26 miles
at maximum possible speed, it is well documented that the winners
generally only use up an additional 2600 Calories of energy.
(You can assume a MAXIMUM of about 100 Calories for every mile that
you run HARD, less if you jog.) In other words, even a Marathon
runner does not even use up a full pound of bodyfat during a race!
(But he/she DOES lose massive amounts of WATER from the body,
by both sweating and as exhaled humid breaths. Such runners HAVE
to drink a lot of water during a race to replenish that lost
water, to avoid bad medical effects of aberrant body chemistry
if they lose too much water.)
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
Bodyfat - Accurate and Easy Determination
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!
I just noticed (late November 2009) a TV commercial that actually
contains some honesty about a weight loss and bodyfat loss system!
But one has to look extremely carefully, because that honesty is
only briefly shown in some fine print in the commercial! The audio
of the commercial contains the usual spectacular claims of enormous
weight loss and bodyfat loss. But that fine print (in the Lipozene
commercial) describes an average weight loss of 3.66 pounds over
8 weeks of using their system. THAT is actually a CREDIBLE reduction
of bodyfat! From the numbers in this presentation, we see that they
are actually saying that about 13,000 Calories worth of bodyfat
are used up over a 56-day period. That is around a 230 Calorie
reduction each day, which IS very realistic. But will a lot of people
pay them significant money in order to "ONLY" lose less
than four pounds over a two-month period? I wish they would, but
most modern people seem too impatient for that rate of performance!
In any case, I applaud the honesty in that TV commercial, even though
it IS only in very small print and only rather briefly displayed!
We have just discussed the WATER in what you swallow. What about the
food itself? We determined that roughly 16 ounces of actual food
gets digested each day. What happens to it? Surprisingly, nearly all of
the weight of that food (eventually) gets disposed of in your
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 on the right side, 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) 17,000 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
You can check yourself, when resting, and you will likely find that
you breathe about 12 times per minute, in excellent agreement with
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 (or make an adjustment for the
slower breathing during sleep, down to 17,000). 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 189 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 show their big
smile and white teeth, to look
sexy. Say her mouth is just 1/4 inch wide open in the middle, 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
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 learn a related fact from the graphic above. It shows that
when the process proceeds from left to right, we have 180 weight units
of glucose involved. These are grams in the normal presentation as here.
And we see that the 180 grams of glucose gives off a total of 686 (kilo)
Calories of energy. If we extrapolate this to our one pound (454 grams)
of food, we can see that the amount of energy produced should be
454 / 180 * 686 or 1739 Calories. This merely confirms that our numbers
are in line with the data that we are familiar with. Protein or
carbohydrates (of which glucose is one) are described as having an
energy content of 4.0 Calories per gram, which is 1816 Calories
per pound. (Our actual daily Caloric intake is higher because
a substantial fraction of the food we eat is as fats, so that the
AVERAGE energy content (for an adult male with a modern U.S. diet)
is close to 5 Calories per gram (or 2200 Calories
per pound). This is then describing our recommended daily
dietary needs of 2000 Calories or 2200 Calories.
We can examine the carbon dioxide molecules further. We can see that the
total molecular weight is 44, of which 12 is the carbon. We see that
this therefore means that 12/44 or 27% of the weight is in the carbon
atoms. This tells us that of the 681 grams of carbon dioxide that we
exhaled each day, around 185 grams of carbon atoms are involved.
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
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 22.2 pounds
(far MORE than the one pound of food or few pounds of liquid that you
take in during the day!) Those 22.2 pounds of inhaled air is
NECESSARY in order to biochemically process that ONE POUND of food
we ate and digested!
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
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)||-||0.189 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 possibly other organic energy storage, such as bodyfat),
which the one pound of digested food 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
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
Assorted implications of all this
This discussion has centered primarily on the QUANTITY of food digested.
NOT on whether it was protein or carbohydrate or fat. This might
suggest that all the diets which insist on low- or high- carbs or proteins
or fats, may be more interchangeable than previously thought.
Whatever KIND of food it was, at some point it comes down to having
to breathe enough times to exhale the carbon atoms that were in the
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 slightly 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 mouth 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.
I have found that many people who call themselves 'experts' insist that
'mouth-breathing' is some serious danger to be avoided. Some of those
'experts' even claim that mouth-breathing RESTRICTS the amount of air
that can get into and out of the lungs! Exactly the OPPOSITE of what
is actually the case, if they really understood the subject!
In any case, I have actually TRIED this! It took me a few weeks to
train my brain to want to have my mouth slightly open, but the
results seem to have been pretty impressive! In about a five-month
interval in late 2013 and early 2014, without changing anything
else in my life (no exercise and not any noticeable difference in diet),
I seem to have lost about 18 pounds of body weight, from about 218 down to
200 pounds, which appears to have all been bodyfat, primarily from my
belly that used to be round and which is now nearly completely flat.
I believe I understand the Physics behind why that happened. My
nostrils are approximately 3/8" in diameter, so their cross-sectional
areas are 0.10 square inches. There are actually some places farther
back in the nasal cavity which is slightly less than that, but I accept
0.20 si as being the practical cross-sectional area of my two nostrils. Now
that I commonly (not always) have my mouth open about 1/4" and since it
is about two inches wide, the cross-sectional area of my slightly opened
mouth is about 0.50 square inches. That is more than twice the area
of air flow to and from the lungs. In theory, my lungs could therefore
exhale 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide, and therefore dispose of
2.5 times as much carbon and bodyfat. But that does not actually
happen. The chemical processes in the cells' mitochondria only
process sufficient food and bodyfat to provide all the energy the
body needs, and since I never exercise, that is not much increased.
Also, Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures limits the fraction of exhaled
air which is carbon dioxide to about 4.4%. So my lungs and
mouth-breathing COULD discard a lot more carbon dioxide (and therefore
bodyfat), whenever my metabolism requests that to happen.
So I cannot exhale the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of food every day instead
of the normal 1.0 pound of food (and sometimes bodyfat) I need to
process in my normal life. If I could, I could be losing 1.5 pounds of
bodyfat every day, or 45 pounds every month! Nope! But my experience
during those recent five months has apparently been an increase of disposing
of about 4 pounds of bodyfat each month, to account for the 20 pounds I
lost during that interval. Not bad! Only a tenth of what mouth-breathing
MIGHT have been able to accomplish, but I only notice my mouth being open
for an hour or two each day. Seems to make scientific sense.
HOWEVER! I have noticed a downside to the mouth-breathing! By breathing
out significantly more air, the moisture and humidity inside my mouth
is noticeably less. I find it uncomfortable that much of the inside of my
mouth often feels rather dry. I guess I need more saliva now! I am also
aware that where the nostrils have zillions of tiny sticky hairs which
keep dust and bad stuff out of your lungs, your mouth does not have such
sticky hairs, and this idea MIGHT increase the chance of undesirable
things getting down into your lungs.
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? (This is actually essentially a cheap
version of the Respiration Monitor that a Hospital Emergency Room
displays on a computer screen!) 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 adapting to 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!
Is This Hyperventilation?
Some people have attacked me for this presentation and the suggestion
that a SLIGHTLY increased rate of respiration might enable burning
off of excess bodyfat. They clearly do NOT have any idea of the
actual facts, but they had found some reference somewhere that
hyperventilation can be extremely dangerous. So they make unsupported
assumptions and roar on the attack!
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
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
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.
There are a LOT of other potential implications from the reasoning
in this presentation. I find one to be especially intriguing!
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 it happens 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 appeared to have lost about 8 or 10 pounds
during about six months or so in 2008. My weight started out at that
time as around 225 pounds (6'2" height) and it dropped to about
218 or so, after many years if having been rather constant. That is NOT
a true scientific collection of data, but I feel that it confirms that
the basic premise seems to be valid.
Various Ways to Provide Energy for a Day
This may be of some interest.
Average American Diet
One day of average American mixture of food, having 5.0
Calories / gram of food value. 1.0 pound of total (dry) food (454 grams)
for a total of about 2,200 Calories to fuel Basal Metabolism and
normal daily activities.
- Chemistry: 1.0 pound of food combines with 1.1 pound of oxygen
from the food and from inhaled air, to form 1.5 pound of exhaled
carbon dioxide and 0.6 pound of water or water vapor which is eliminated in
exhaled breath, in perspiration, in urination, etc.
All-Carb Diet or
One day of carbohydrates or proteins, having 4.0
Calories / gram of food value. 1.25 pound of total (dry) food (568 grams)
for a total of about 2,200 Calories to fuel Basal Metabolism and
normal daily activities.
- Chemistry: 1.25 pound of carbohydrates or proteins combines with 1.3
pound of oxygen from the food and from inhaled air, to form 1.8 pound
of exhaled carbon dioxide and 0.75 pound of water or water vapor which is
eliminated in exhaled breath, in perspiration, in urination, etc.
The molecular weights are: 180 gram-moles + 192 gram-moles forms
264 gram-moles + 108 gram-moles, respectively.
One day of ALL fat-foods, having 8.0 Calories / gram of
food value. 0.60 pound of fat (272 grams), having an energy content of
8.0 Calorie / gram, for a total of about 2,200 Calories to fuel Basal
Metabolism and normal daily activities.
- Chemistry: 0.60 pound of eaten fat combines with 1.7
pound of oxygen from from inhaled air, to form 1.7 pound
of exhaled carbon dioxide and 0.6 pound of water or water vapor which
is eliminated in exhaled breath, in perspiration, in urination, etc.
The molecular weights are: 854 gram-moles + 2448 gram-moles forms
2420 gram-moles + 882 gram-moles, respectively.
Total Fasting Diet
One day of NO FOOD or nutritive drink, having 0.0
Calories / gram of food value. The body must use up 0.53 pound of
bodyfat (242 grams), having an energy content of 9.0 Calorie / gram,
for a total of about 2,200 Calories to fuel Basal Metabolism and
normal daily activities.
- Chemistry: 0.53 pound of (9) bodyfat combines with 1.5
pound of oxygen from from inhaled air, to form 1.5 pound
of exhaled carbon dioxide and 0.53 pound of water or water vapor which
is eliminated in exhaled breath, in perspiration, in urination, etc.
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!
Entirely different subject!
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 398 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 would entirely be
produced by all those people exhaling, 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:
Global Warming - The Physics of the Process. Atmospheric problems.
This presentation was first placed on the Internet in October 2009.
A Surprising Experimental Failure!
As a scientist, I regularly do many varied experiments. In 2016, I tried an
experiment I had great hopes for but which appeared to fail miserably. I
thought it might be useful if I describe it here. It was related to the
countless claims of companies that SELL weight-loss systems. I now see WHY
they all tend to fail!
I decided to go on a total Fast for one complete week. Rather than
eating ANY food during the week, I only drank a lot of iced tea with lemon
flavoring (without ice). Both tea and lemon have ZERO CALORIES, so I assumed
that my body would have to burn up around four pounds of bodyfat to
live on during the week. It is well known that a pound of human bodyfat
contains around 3,550 Calories, so four pounds contains 14,200 Calories.
I also knew that my body requires around 1,700 Calories each day to power
my metabolism, along with around 300 more Calories to power my muscles
to move around and to carry things, or a total of around 14,000 Calories
used during an entire week.
So my Fast week experiment was based on expecting to burn up four pounds
of bodyfat, so I expected to find that my body weight might DROP by about
four pounds during the experiment.
Surprisingly, I FOUND that my bathroom scale body weight ROSE by 10
pounds during that week of total fasting!
A scientist is always confused when a well-planned experiment gives
results which do not seem logical, so I was very perplexed.
I soon discovered what had gone on, and I now know how important WATER
is in all the products which purport to enable loss of body weight!
Since I had decided to NOT eat any food, I had (instead) drunk quite a
lot of iced tea. Each day, my tea maker (coffee maker) made a full load
of 12 cups of tea, which I consumed that day. That is
72 ounces, so, to keep my stomach from growling during my
Fast week experiment, I drank 4.5 pints of tea every day, or
thirty-two pints of zero-Calorie tea during the week. Each pint of
water or tea weighs one pound. Therefore, during the week, I had drunk
thirty-two pounds of tea!
Note that I had CONSUMED EXACTLY ZERO CALORIES OF FOOD DURING THE WEEK.
(Which was WHY I had started off expecting to burn up four pounds of
bodyfat and to expect that I would see that four pounds of scale weight
reduction during the experiment.)
Now, it IS biologically important for our bodies to take in a regular
supply of water, as nearly all the Metabolic processes of the body
require water to proceed properly. Our bodies are actually around
60% water, so I began the experiment with around 120 pounds of water
in me! And we DO have several natural methods of disposing of water,
primarily including urination, sweating and exhaling water vapor in
the breath. And MY body actually DID dispose of about 22 pounds of water
by those methods during my week of the experiment. (My body disposed
of about equal amounts of water by its three main disposal methods
during the week, about 7 pounds of water by each).
Unfortunately, since I had drunk 32 pounds of tea (water) during the week,
that still left an extra NEW 10 pounds of water in me after the experiment!
So my scale weight ROSE by 10 pounds DURING MY WEEK EXPERIMENT OF NOT
EATING ANY FOOD AT ALL!
A rather shocking experiment!
(In the weeks following my experiment, my brain and Metabolism gradually
disposed of those ten new pounds of water, and my scale body weight
DID drop, not only down to my original weight but to about four pounds
BELOW that. So even though my 'week-long' experiment had not SHOWN
the four pounds of body weight reduction I had expected, IT HAD HAPPENED!)
In adddition, ALL of the desired biological effects of the bodyfat reduction
DID occur, including reduction of Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure, and
the many other chemical benefits of reduced bodyfat.
But my experiment included a TIME SCHEDULE where I had expected everything
to proceed on MY schedule, and NATURE tends to operate on its own
As a scientist, I am mystified by many things which don't seem to make
logical sense to me. One specifically has to do with Marie Osmond and
her amazing body weight loss. I still remember her as a teenager, when
she was pretty skinny. Apparently, she then weighed around 100 pounds.
And she apparently gained a lot of weight later on, even up to 177 pounds
according to some internet sources. In recent years, she has become the
spokesperson for a diet program, where the statement that is highly
promoted is that Marie lost 50 pounds. Fine, I have no conflict
with that. However, the (alleged) TIMING of when she lost the weight is
what troubles me. The story goes that she wanted to compete on Dancing
with the Stars and so she lost 50 pounds of her body weight in
an interval of four months, about seven years ago.
The Laws of Science seem to indicate that would be nearly impossible to do,
in such a short interval of time!
Say that she had not eaten a slice of bread during those four months.
(which is not possible as she would then have starved to death.)
Her body's Basal Metabolism needs to use up about 1700 Calories every day.
If she worked out really intensely for several hours every day, toward
getting back in shape for the Dancing competition, that can use up another
200 Calories per day. We know that one pound of bodyfat is 3600 Calories
of energy. So, if she never ate ANY food at all, her body could 'burn up'
slightly more than ONE POUND of bodyfat in every two days. In the 120 days
of the (alleged) four months, possibly her body could burn up around 60
pounds of her body fat. That would not just be an aggressive diet, it
would have to be an ABSOLUTE FAST OF ALL FOOD FOR FOUR MONTHS.
I HAVE heard of some drug addicts losing massive amounts of weight like that,
specifically young women who got extremely addicted to cocaine. The cocaine
can increase the body's metabolism, which can make that possible. But
no other method, and no dieting or exercising can cause a weight loss
of 50 pounds in a four month interval.
Obviously, we can see Marie in the TV ads now, and her current weight IS
obviously in the 125 pound range, which WOULD confirm that she has lost
around 50 pounds (since 8 years ago) and she seems to be keeping it off.
And I realize that the company that pays the millions to make and air those
many TV ads wants to convince viewers that they might lose weight like
Marie. I just have a suspicion that the DETAILS might be different from
what the TV ads seem to imply. There IS as bunch of fine print in the
TV ads, but it is hard to read all of it in a second or two. And Marie
NEVER actually says that the dieting program had anything to do with her
amazing weight loss (of around eight years ago, in four months).
Some of the fine print which I HAVE read says that a person could expect
to lose about 1 to 1.5 pounds of weight per week of being on their
program. They never mention the PRICE of their program, and I wonder
how many poor and overweight people could afford to be paying for it
for more than a few weeks.
Another spokesperson has become Dan Marino, the retired Quarterback of
the Miami Dolphins football team. About the only thing Marino ever says
in the TV commercials is that he lost 22 pounds. In some of the commercials
he refers to 'ten years ago' and if that is accurate, then his loss of 22
pounds over an interval of a number of years makes a lot of sense to
The actual effectiveness of any diet approach can have a wide spectrum of
effects. I want to describe several different approaches here, to see
the effects which might be had.
Each day's ingestion always includes BOTH food components and water
consumption. Let's take the most extreme possibility first. NO food
at all and ONLY just water. Each pint of water drunk weighs about
one pound. Let's say that the person drank eight pints (or four quarts
or one gallon of water) and NO food. You might think that your scale
weight might have dropped by this, but the opposite is very likely.
You would drink (intake) EIGHT POUNDS of water in that day. During that day,
your body would likely urinate about 3.5 pounds, your body would likely
perspire about 1 pound of water and exhale about 1 pound of water vapor
in your breaths. Collectively, you would get rid of about 5.5 pounds of
water while ingesting 8.0 pounds of water. The result might seem odd.
Your body would GAIN 2.5 pounds of scale weight, while consuming about
0.5 pound of actual bodyfat. Your 'total Fast' would actually use up
bodyfat while having your body weight increase.
Let's look at the opposite extreme now. You drink a very minimal amount
of water, and essentially eat bread for all meals. Maybe you could
reduce your water intake to being just one pint, or 1.0 pound, while
eating a full pound of bread, all of which would get digested to create
the 2,000 Calories of energy which your body needs to operate on. You
would NOT need to use up ANY of your bodyfat, so there is no positive
gain along those lines. But if your body was reasonably active in a
reasonable climate, During that day, your body would still likely urinate
about 3.5 pounds, your body would likely perspire about 1 pound of water
and you would exhale about 1 pound of water vapor in your breaths.
Collectively, you would still get rid of about 5.5 pounds of water, while
only adding one pound of bread and one pound of water or 2.0 pounds
total. In this case, your bathroom scale would seem to show you
LOSING about 3.5 pounds during that day, even though you would
NOT have made any gain regarding your bodyfat content.
A wide range of possible diets are between these two extremes. It might not
seem logical, but in any given day, you might GAIN 2.5 pounds of scale
weight or LOSE 3.5 pounds! Each day, the net effect is primarily due to the
factors of how much food you eat, how much water you drink, how aggressively
you breath and exercise.
Human bodyfat is a collection of very complex organic molecules
called triglycerides, a type of lipids. Triglycerides are extremely
compact forms of energy storage, primarily because they are nearly
entirely carbon and hydrogen atoms with very few oxygen atoms.
For example, a triglyceride in bodyfat is
a glycerol (C3H5) which is esterified
(CO2H) with three fatty acids, such as palmitic
acid (CH3(CH2)14COOH), oleic
and alpha-linolenic acid (C17H29COOH).
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
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 0.039% 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
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.
Total Exhalations for a Specific Amount of Carbon
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
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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Univ of Chicago