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.