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Can I breathe to lose weight?

🎓 Breathing vs Weight Loss

RECAP: RER and the basics of metabolism

  • Metabolism means taking food and oxygen, and turning them into energy, water and CO2.
  • We breathe out most of the weight we lose.
  • The two main sources of energy are fat and sugar.
  • The Respiratory Exhange Ratio (RER) can use the breath to measure which energy source is primarily being used.
  • RER = Carbon dioxide produced / oxygen consumed.
  • RER 0.7 signifies fat metabolism.
  • RER 1.0 signifies sugar metabolism.
  • The Respiratory Quotient (RQ) measures the same thing more accurately, directly from the blood.
  • A higher sugar metabolism at rest is associated with stress, poor sleep, a high-carb diet and lack of exercise.
  • A higher fat metabolism at rest is associated with a calm state, good recovery, a moderate or low-carb diet and a good physical condition.
  • During intense exercise, the body will always switch to using more sugar, as a faster source of energy.

RECAP: Mitochondria, metabolism and breathing

  • The human body can contain as many as 100,000 trillion mitochondria.
  • Among other tasks, mitochondria turn fat into energy.
  • Fat metabolism requires oxygen availability.
  • Without oxygen, cells must use glucose (sugar) for energy.
  • Therefore breathing efficiency has an effect on weight loss.
  • Excess breathing reduces oxygen delivery and increases RER towards sugar metabolism.
  • With efficient fat metabolism (eg. on a ketogenic diet), there is less hunger as the body simply uses existing energy stores.
  • In sugar metabolism, hunger signals are more frequent, making weight loss difficult.
  • Improving breathing habits helps weight loss and mitochondrial function.