Fat loss is a subject that seems to be a bit controversial. Some dieters swear that fat loss is impossible, and here at Bestyachtsite we know that the key to weight loss is to not eat anything that has fat, but what is the definition of fat? As you will see, there are many different kinds of fat, and it all depends on your body’s needs.

A lot of people think that weight loss has to be (or will have to be) about dieting. They think that if they diet or exercise hard enough, they will lose weight and keep it off. This isn’t always the case. It’s true that cutting back on calories, especially when dieting can lead to weight loss, but there are other ways to lose weight without dieting too.

With the emphasis on macronutrients, diets and consumption of processed foods over the past 30 years, body fat has also increased. In other words: More information, more diets, more junk food have made us fat.

What is fat loss?

Fat accumulates in the adipose tissue of our body, mainly under the skin (subcutaneous) or in the body cavity (visceral), but also in small amounts in the muscles (intramuscular). Fat in the body is a storehouse of energy.

When the energy substances in the blood become scarce, the body recognizes this and falls back on fat reserves.

Fat storage and energy

Fat is stored in fat cells as triglycerides and is released by the activity of an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). This allows the fatty acids to enter the bloodstream where they circulate, bind to a protein called albumin and enter the muscle to be burned. Fat burning is also called beta-oxidation.

This beta-oxidation enables the tissues to break down the fatty acids. The process of beta-oxidation eventually produces ATP, which is the energy source of the cells. This happens in the mitochondria. Fatty acids enter the mitochondria via carnitine.

When large amounts of fatty acids are broken down and flood the mitochondria (as in the case of starvation), there may not be an immediate need for these fatty acids. In this case, they form energy-rich fragments called ketones. This is important because fats cannot be converted into glucose, but can be used as fuel for the muscles and brain in the form of ketones.

All About Fat Loss |

The ATP produced by fat breakdown is used for the body’s metabolic processes, including breathing, regulating body temperature, digestion, and excretion. At rest and at very low training intensity, about 70% of the ATP we produce comes from fat.

Why is fat loss so important?

We need to lose the fat

As a group, people in most industrialized societies are probably overweight.

All About Fat Loss |

This is not just an aesthetic problem. Excess body fat can negatively impact almost all areas of life, including

  • reduced mobility
  • poorer emotional health and self-esteem
  • Increased risk of organ failure
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of stress fractures
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Reduction in sexual and reproductive health

Fat cells can act as endocrine factories, producing hormones that affect many processes in the body – most of which lead to further fat accumulation.

Besides being good for your health, reducing body fat is often considered more attractive and desirable because it emphasizes the muscles of the torso.

In addition, low body fat is beneficial for many athletes (with the exception of sumo wrestlers, linemen, etc.) because the extra weight of fat increases resistance and the extra resistance must be overcome.

Summary: Large amounts of excess body fat affect health, body composition and athletic performance.

…but it’s hard.

But collectively we’re not very good at losing fat either.

Even modern advances in obesity treatment (e.g. bariatric surgery, drugs, etc.) have less than 10% success in permanent weight loss/control.

About 95% of overweight people go on a diet all the time, but within a year they regain most or all of their weight. Nearly 70% of American citizens are overweight or obese. The percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who are overweight has doubled since 1980.

We need a better solution. It can be helpful to know how fat loss occurs.

What you should know

Fat cells are the main store of fat in the body and are in a constant state of renewal. Fat metabolism is regulated independently of dietary, metabolic and hormonal factors; the net effect determines the level of circulating fatty acids and the amount of fat in the body.

Fat loss and hormones

The release and utilization of fatty acids requires a decrease in insulin levels and an increase in the hormones glucagon, cortisol, adrenaline and growth hormone. These anti-insulin hormones activate the HSL. The other important hormone that affects fat metabolism is thyroxine (thyroid hormone).

After an extended diet, glycogen is synthesized until reserves are replenished. If blood sugar levels remain high, the glucose is converted into fatty acids. Amino acids can also be converted into fatty acids. The enzyme that cells need to take up triglycerides is lipoprotein lipase.

During fasting, insulin concentration decreases and anti-insulin hormones increase. This accelerates the consumption of fat.

Fat loss and caloric deficit

When we drastically reduce our calorie intake, the body stores fat very efficiently. When there is insufficient insulin, the production of thyroid hormone decreases. This lowers the resting metabolic rate. This can happen within 24 hours of starting an extreme diet.

Because of the body’s reaction to being deprived of calories, it is almost inevitable that the weight will increase again after the diet. As a rule, muscles are lost, so the body tends to get bigger.

Fat is a source of fuel not only during rest and low intensity exercise. Fats restore phosphagens depleted during high intensity training. After an intense workout, oxygen uptake increases, returning you to your pre-workout state (afterburner effect).

All About Fat Loss |

Phases of fuel consumption during famine

Fat loss is a complex problem

The emphasis on certain nutrients, intensive dietary advice, diets and consumption of processed foods over the past 30 years has also increased body fat levels. In other words: More information, more diets, more junk food have made us fat.

While some of these facts may seem counterintuitive, they underscore the importance of body awareness (hunger/satiety signals), avoiding processed foods, regular exercise, and influential food advertising.

Summary and recommendations

To keep body fat low and/or reduce it:

  • At least 5 hours of exercise per week
  • Eat whole/unprocessed foods regularly and watch for physical signs of hunger/satiety.
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours per night
  • Do not resort to extreme diets
  • Be consistent in your habits
  • Include physical activity without sport
  • Ignore food advertising

For additional credit

Aspartame was approved in 1981, and although this calorie-free sweetener is thought to help control body weight, its fat content has increased since 1980.

Factors associated with a lower body fat percentage are

  • Nuts
  • Green tea
  • Low energy density foods
  • Proteins
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates
  • adequate hydration
  • Dietary fibres
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • regular exercise
  • Sufficient sleep
  • social support network

While cortisol can break down muscle tissue, it can also break down fat.

If you increase your exercise and your consumption of nutritious foods, your metabolism will increase.

Attributing weight gain to calories is like attributing war to weapons. Diet is not the cause of excess body fat. It is rather a way of life in itself.

Acute calorie deprivation suppresses the production of serotonin, a brain chemical needed to control appetite and stay in tune with food.


Click here to see the sources of information referenced in this article.

Potenza MV & Mechanick JI. Metabolic syndrome : Definition, global implications and pathophysiology. Nutr Clin Pract 2009;24:560-577.

Borer K.T. Exercise endocrinology. Human Kinetics. Champaign, Illinois. 2003.

Mahan LK & Escott-Stump S. Eds. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 11. Traffic. Saunders Publishers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2004.

Murray RK, Granner DK, Mayes PA, Rodwell VW, eds. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. 26. Question. McGraw Hill. 2003.

Barnard ND, et al. A guide to nutrition for clinicians. 1. Traffic. PCRM. 2007.

Howley ET & Franks BD, eds. Fitness Instructors Handbook, 4th Edition. Human Kinetics. Champaign, Illinois. 2003.

Bullo M, et al. Inflammation, obesity and comorbidity: the role of nutrition. Public Health Nutr 2007;10:1164-1172.

Garcia OP, et al. The influence of micronutrient deficiencies on obesity. Nutr Rev 2009;67:559-572.

Anderson AS and Kaswell S. Combating obesity – an opportunity for cancer prevention. Surgeon 2009;7:282-285.

Dennis E.A., et al. Alcohol consumption and weight management in adults: Overview. Eat Behav 2009;10:237-246.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How does fat leave the body when losing weight?

When you lose weight, fat is broken down and used as energy.

How do you really lose fat?

The best way to lose fat is to eat fewer calories than you burn.

What order do you lose fat?

The order of fat loss is as follows: 1. Fat cells are broken down and used for energy. 2. Fat is released into the bloodstream and transported to other tissues, where it can be burned for energy or stored as body fat. 3. Fat is released into the bloodstream and transported to other tissues, where it can be burned for energy or stored as body fat. 4. Fat cells are broken down and used for energy. What is the difference between fat and muscle? Fat cells are broken down and used for energy. Muscle cells are broken down and used for energy.

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