Where does the fat go when we lose weight?

Fat is essential to our bodies. It stores energy, insulates us and protects us from impacts. The majority of fat is stored as subcutaneous adipose, which is the layer beneath your skin. Some is also stored in your liver and muscles. Men and women have different fat distributions with women storing most around the breasts and hips, and men around the abdomen.

Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of lipids – the small fat molecules that are transported through the blood and have many functions. Most people have a predetermined number of fat cells, which doesn’t change much. As fatty acids are absorbed into the body, they are transported in the bloodstream as chylomicrons. The liver is the master controller of synthesis, storage and breakdown of fatty acids.

When glucose levels are low and more energy is needed, the stored fat is broken down into glycerol and fatty acids, which are free to circulate and then be absorbed by cells in need; this process is called lipolysis. The fat cells then shrink. So these adipose cells don’t really ‘go’ anywhere – they merely expand or shrink depending on the nutritional status and energy demands of the body at a given moment.

Answered by Aneel Bhangu.