Excess fat is something many would like removed from their bodies when they look in the mirror. Not only do the consequences of excess fat involve a higher risk of contracting diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer,but it can also cause issues with self-esteem. Fortunately, with a healthy diet and a consistent exercise regimen, all of the excess pounds can wither away. What is the process behind this phenomenon?

First, it must be said that fat cells are normally not a bad thing. In fact, fat cells, comprised of triglycerides, exist to store supplies of energy. The use of fat in the body is to provide protection and insulation to help regulate an internal temperature. Fat is the body’s secondary energy supply. Primarily, the body glucose and other sugars that are made from carbohydrates are the primary sources of energy. Fat is only used when the glucose supply runs out. Energy isn’t something that can be created or destroyed, but rather, it is just converted from one form to another. So, do not take fat for something that is all bad. The issue comes when fat is over-abundant in the human body. Unfortunately, all of the fat that the body takes in cannot be used as energy.

If the body senses that it is in need of energy, adipose cells react, and an enzyme within them called hormone-sensitive lipase helps break down triglycerides, releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream. Fat cells called adipocytes release energy at a much slower rate and produce abnormal hormones. These hormones that produced increase inflammation, slow metabolism down and contribute to an abundance of diseases. This causes excess fat to form around the skin, and the term behind this pathological process is referred to as adiposopathy. So how does one go about actually “burning” all of this fat off?

The body primarily does two things in order to burn fat. It uses the energy that is stored in fat cells for new activity and it stops putting away so much fat for storage. The brain signals fat cells to release their energy supply or fatty acid molecules to the bloodstream. The lungs, muscles, and heart then break apart the fatty acids and use that energy to execute their own separate duties. Anything excessive is removed through respiration through the carbon dioxide that we exhale, or through the urine. With all of this, fat cells are rendered useless.

Muscle cells play a huge role in this as well. Muscle cells use energy to move the body every day, but they are also incredibly efficient. Muscle cells often have an energy supply that is sufficient for many people. In many situations, they have an energy supply that doesn’t get fully used throughout the day, which means that they do not require a lot of extra energy to stay full. When you exercise and deprive the muscle cells of energy, there is a lot of energy that can be replaced. This is highly beneficial to the body because the energy that is replaced can be transferred to the body’s muscle cells, and not in the fat cells.

Remember the hormone, hormone-sensitive lipase? Its function is to break down triglycerides, and it is key to weight loss and fat burning. However, like most enzymes, there are certain triggers to stimulate its activity. One important trigger is the absence of insulin. Every time you eat, insulin is triggered. However hormone-sensitive lipase is inhibited in the presence of insulin. This means the more you eat, the less the fat-breaking enzyme is stimulated. Another important trigger is intermittent fasting, which essentially functions the same way as in the absence of insulin. Growth hormones that are stimulated through primarily through sleep, heavy proteins in the diet and weight-bearing exercises also trigger this enzyme.

As you can see, there are a complex series of chemical reactions that take place in order for the body to burn fat. If you want to see a more defined figure and less fat around the edges, then it is very important to have a proper balance of diet and exercise. Use these regimens, and you will begin to burn fat.