What is the science behind fat loss?
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Team Gabit
2 months ago | 7 mins

What is the science behind fat loss?


Losing body fat is a well-known struggle for many of us. At Gabit, understand the science behind fat loss and why it may not be as hard as you think. Read more!

In a world where fat plays a dual role, serving as both a crucial component of a healthy diet and a frequent cause of health issues, the mission to shed excess weight has become more essential than ever. With a growing number of individuals grappling with weight gain and obesity, the urgency to fathom the mechanisms of fat burning has never been more critical. The silver lining? Weight reversal is not merely a possibility but well within our reach. To set on this transformative journey, we must first voyage into the science behind fat loss.

Understanding fat storage in our body

Let's break down what happens when our bodies burn fat for fuel. But before we dive into the details of the science behind burning fat, let's first look at where our bodies store this energy. These storage sites, known as adipose tissue or fat tissue, comprise cells referred to as adipocytes, which accumulate excess energy in the form of lipids. These adipocytes are dispersed throughout the body, staking their claim in areas like the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. Interestingly, adipose tissue comes in two primary classifications: subcutaneous and visceral fat.

know science behind fat loss

Going even deeper, there are multiple forms of adipose tissue, each distinguished by their colour, which, intriguingly, determines how easily they can be converted into energy. These colour variations result in white, yellow, and brown fat. Brown fat, the most readily expendable form, earns the distinction of being the easiest to ignite. And then there's visceral fat, situated around our vital organs in the abdominal region. 

Thanks to its rich blood supply, this type of fat readily succumbs to the process of lipolysis. Lipolysis, the transformation that converts stored fat into usable energy, begins when the hormone epinephrine enters the scene. This chemical messenger, released by our adrenal glands in response to physical exertion or stress, takes the lead. 

Epinephrine binds to receptors on fat cells and triggers an enzyme known as hormone-sensitive lipase, which acts as a catalyst for breaking down the fat contained within these cells. The outcome? The formation of molecules of fatty acids and glycerol. This process of lipolysis is fundamental to the science behind losing fat. Once these fatty acids are freed from their lipid prisons, they embark on a journey of change. This journey is part of the intricate science behind losing fat. They make their way to the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, where they are incinerated to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which serves as the body's primary source of vitality. 

In this intricate exchange of energy, the pivotal player is the equilibrium of available energy. When the balance tips in favour of storage, surplus energy takes shelter in adipose tissue. As for the excess, it exits the body as waste. One crucial truth to accept on this journey of fat burning is that you cannot selectively target fat reduction in a specific region of your body. When fat disappears, it vanishes from all over, not just your trouble spots. However, all hope is not lost, as there exists an array of strategies to expedite this process.

The science of fat loss: differentiating fat loss from weight loss

know science behind fat loss

Distinguishing between fat loss and weight loss is crucial in understanding the nuances of transforming one's body. Weight loss entails a reduction in overall body weight, taking into account muscle, bone, water, and fat. In essence, it reflects a change in gravitational pull resulting from alterations in various components of the body. Weight loss, therefore, involves a decrease in total body mass, and this reduction can be attributed to losses in bone mass, muscle mass, fat mass, and/or water. It's a comprehensive measure that considers every element contributing to an individual's overall weight. 

On the other hand, fat loss specifically targets the reduction of body fat. This form of weight loss is centered on shedding excess fat from one's body, which, in turn, contributes to the overall reduction in weight. The amount of fat on a person's frame is a distinct component of their weight, and fat loss addresses this particular aspect of weight reduction. 

Understanding this contrast between weight loss and fat loss is vital for understanding the science behind losing fat, as it allows individuals to make informed decisions about their health and fitness goals, enabling them to tailor their strategies to achieve their desired outcomes.

know science behind fat loss

The fundamentals of the science behind fat loss?

The science behind losing body fat is a fascinating journey that delves into the intricacies of metabolism, energy expenditure, and the concept of a caloric deficit. To truly comprehend the mechanics of fat loss, we need to explore how our bodies function on a fundamental level. 

Metabolism, often referred to as the body's engine, plays a pivotal role in fat loss. It encompasses a series of chemical reactions that occur within our cells to maintain life. One of the key aspects of metabolism is energy expenditure, which can be divided into two primary categories: basal metabolic rate (BMR) and physical activity. 

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

BMR represents the energy your body requires to perform basic functions like breathing, circulating blood, and maintaining body temperature. It's the energy your body consumes at rest. In the context of fat loss, understanding your BMR is crucial because it provides a baseline for the number of calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. 

Physical activity

Physical activity, including exercise and daily activities, accounts for the additional energy your body expends. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. Engaging in physical activity is a fundamental component of any fat loss strategy. To lose fat, you must create a caloric deficit. This is where the science of fat loss truly comes into play. A caloric deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. This deficit forces your body to tap into its energy reserves, primarily stored in the form of fat, to make up for the energy shortfall. 

know science behind fat loss

When you consistently maintain a caloric deficit, your body responds by breaking down fat stores to meet its energy demands. This process of utilising fat for fuel is at the heart of fat loss. It's a scientifically supported principle based on the laws of thermodynamics, which dictate that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be converted from one form to another. In the case of fat loss, your body converts stored fat into energy.

Now that we have read and known some things about the science behind burning fat, let’s look at some natural ways to lose fat!

  1. Nutrient-rich diet: Opt for a diet rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Incorporate a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide the necessary nutrients for overall health and help control hunger.
  2. Reduce added sugar: Added sugars in processed foods and sugary drinks can contribute excess calories without providing essential nutrients. Cutting back on added sugar is an effective way to reduce overall calorie intake.
  3. Stay hydrated: Drinking water not only helps with hydration but can also boost metabolism. Sometimes, our bodies confuse thirst with hunger, so staying well-hydrated can prevent unnecessary snacking.
  4. Limit liquid calories: Liquid calories from sugary beverages like soda and fruit juices can add up quickly. Reducing or eliminating these drinks from your diet can significantly reduce your calorie intake.
  5. Control refined carbs: Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary cereals, can lead to rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat to provide sustained energy and control hunger.
  6. Adequate sleep: Poor sleep can disrupt the balance of hunger-regulating hormones, leading to increased appetite and cravings. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support your weight management goals.
  7. Fiber-rich foods: Fiber is found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It promotes fullness and aids in digestive health. Including fiber in your diet can help you feel satisfied and reduce overall calorie intake.
  8. Cardio exercise: Cardiovascular workouts, such as running, cycling, and swimming, increase your heart rate and burn calories. Regular cardio exercise is effective for fat loss because it elevates energy expenditure.
  9. Resistance training: Incorporating resistance exercises, like weight lifting or bodyweight exercises, helps build lean muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat, so increasing your muscle mass can boost your metabolism.
  10. Optimise protein intake: Including an adequate amount of protein in your diet is crucial for fat loss. Protein helps preserve lean muscle mass, which is essential for a higher metabolism. It also promotes feelings of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, and dairy products. Incorporating protein-rich foods into your meals can support your fat loss efforts.
know science behind fat loss

By incorporating these natural strategies, you can establish a holistic approach to fat loss that is not only efficient but also enduring. This approach hinges on grasping the science behind fat loss, which primarily revolves around metabolism and the balance of calorie intake and expenditure. 

Achieving your fat loss objectives depends on the harmonious integration of a well-rounded diet, consistent exercise, and the practice of mindful eating, all of which align with the fundamental principles of this scientific process.

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