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It may be hard to believe but you can actually lose weight by simply breathing, scientists have discovered.

Over 80 per cent of body fat exits the body when exhaling, which means our lungs are the primary source of weight loss. In our blood is a type of fat called triglyceride, made up of the atoms oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, and when fat is lost the atoms in triglyceride molecules are unlocked in a process known as oxidation.

Scientists at University of New South Wales in Australia looked into each atom’s pathway out of the body and found 8.4kg leaves in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) when 10kg of fat is oxidised. Meanwhile, the leftover 1.6kg transforms into water.

To fully oxidise fat, triple the amount of oxygen needs to be inhaled. This is because the amount of oxygen needed for the process weighs almost three times as much as the fat.

“None of this biochemistry is new, but for unknown reasons it seems nobody has thought of performing these calculations before.

“The quantities make perfect sense but we were surprised by the numbers that popped out.

These results show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for weight loss,” authors Ruben Meerman and Andrew Brown explained of the findings, published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.

“The water formed may be excreted in the urine, faeces, sweat, breath, tears or other bodily fluids and is readily replenished.

“The exhaled carbon can only be replaced by eating food or consuming beverages such as milk, fruit juices or sugar-sweetened drinks.”

A lot of exhaling takes place while asleep, with around a third of a day’s total being achieved during eight hours of rest.

But of course there are ways to get you breathing quicker. Exercise is an obvious option, with an hour long run helping raise the total loss by about 20 per cent. Just be careful about what you eat alongside this.

“Physical activity as a weight loss strategy is, therefore, easily foiled by relatively small quantities of excess food,” the authors added.

“Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat.

“Losing weight requires unlocking the carbon stored in fat cells, thus reinforcing that often heard refrain of ‘eat less, move more’.”

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