How Our Body Burns Fat

About the metabolism:

When we eat, our intestines break down foods into their different ways. Digestive enzymes break down calorie-containing foods:

  • Carbs become sugar
  • Proteins become amino acids
  • Fats become fatty acids

Blood carries these digested nutrients to your body cells.

  • Amino acids are important little building blocks for all types of body tissues, so your body doesn’t like to burn them for fuel. They become enzymes, hormones, and muscles.
  •  Sugar is the quick energy source, so it is your body’s favourite. It can be burned right away or stored as energy in your liver, muscles, or fat cells.
  • Fatty acids recombine into triglycerides and get tucked away in your fat cells as a long-term energy source.

Why does the body burn fat?

Your body burns fat when there is no immediate energy available. It is kind of like going to the ATM when your wallet is empty.

The following analogy was taken from another blog because I felt it was a great way to summarise the order that your body follows to get energy:

  1. Glucose (a.k.a. sugar) in your blood is immediate energy; it is the cash in your wallet.
  2. Glycogen is stored glucose in your liver and muscles, it is easy to access, but there’s not much there. Think of glycogen as the money in your checking account.
  3. Body Fat is an efficient way to store energy, but the least accessible; think of body fat as the savings in your retirement account.
  4. Muscle tissue can be burned as a last-ditch effort to get energy. If you are starving or losing weight too quickly, your body starts burning muscle. Think of burning muscle as going into debt to pay your bills.

How Our Body Burns Fat

Without body fat we could not survive. Among its many functions, fat surrounds and cushions vital organs like the kidneys and insulates us against the cold. But critically, fat is our fuel tank. A strategic calorie reserve to protect against starvation. If we go for more than a few hours without eating, the body must rely on stored fuels for energy, and these come in three basic types: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. 

The body uses some of those calories to digest food. Once the food is broken down into its respective parts of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, it either uses the remaining energy or converts it to fat for storage in fat cells that live in the adipose tissue, which basically acts like an internal gas station, storing away fuel reserves.

Many of us may be considering “burning some fat” so we feel and look better. According to the Law of Conservation of Mass, matter is neither created nor destroyed, but it may alter its form through chemical reaction. Essentially, that tells us that while we lose mass in our bodies by burning up fat, it does not just disappear. It simply changes form, like water and steam.

Historically, fat storage worked well for humans. The energy was stored as small packages of molecules called fatty acids, which are released into the bloodstream for use as fuel by muscles and other organs when there was no food available. In modern times, with an overabundance of food and safe living conditions, many people have accumulated an excess storage of fat.

To lose weight, you must burn more calories, or energy, than you consume to start using up that fuel reserve. Essentially, you're not ingesting enough calories to fuel your additional exercise, so your body must pull from fat stores.

Quote of the Month –  "I choose to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.” – Louise Hay.


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Until next month…Evie xx 


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