How much time do I need to burn 5 kg of fat?

As it gets warmer outside, there are more ads with various “revolutionary” slimming products which are usually sold in a form of colourful capsules and tabs. The producers and distributors of such specifics are trying to invent the best promise concerning the effects of using their products. The guarantee, like “lose 5kg in 5 days” are not so rare.

Although, we realize that such spectacular results are rather impossible, deep inside, we hope that, with some luck, we will be able to achieve them. Taking under consideration the circumstances mentioned above, it's worth thinking if such fast pace of slimming, as some ads suggest, is even possible?

The utopian vision of fast slimming

When we are finally able to implement some preliminary changes of lifestyle which are supposed to burn fatty ballast after few months of acceleration, we would rather make the slimming process as fast and efficient as possible. The truth is, nowadays, there aren't many people who plan long-lasting reduction. Majority of people – unfortunately it's true – want instant methods. Therefore, drastic solutions, such as “five-day diet”, “cabbage diet”, “Copenhagen diet”, or similar ones, are so popular...

The common ground of all of these “diets” is that they only last for few or a dozen days and they guarantee spectacular effects. There are support groups on forums for people who experiment with starvation, where individuals exchange sad experience of uncontrolled attacks of hunger, guilt and yo-yo effects. But there are also people, who make it, and those are usually women proud of the fact that after almost two weeks of sacrifices they lost 10 kg and put on the dress from their prom. But what about the fact that those effects are only temporary? Well, according to one author: “life just consists of beautiful moments”...

Physiological block

Of course, I could write here that experimenting with extreme nutrition solutions set on “instant reduction of fat” is unhealthy and is followed by the risk of occurring negative health effects. But this topic has been discussed so many times that it's boring now, and the warnings from trainers, dietitians and practitioners don't bring anything new here. People who decide to lose weight fast usually don't listen to such warnings, they think they're exaggerated, or assume that in their case – it's going to be differently. Therefore, I would like to present a slightly different point of view on this issue and point out some physiological conditions, on the basis of which you can count the maximum tempo of burning body fat.

It's worth knowing that any biochemical reactions in the human body are catalyzed by unique compounds called enzymes. The effectiveness of absorbing energy from spare fat also depends on the efficiency of enzyme system. It occurs, that, although the condition of particular enzymes may be potentially different among various people, there are some insuperable limits. The efficiency of the particular metabolic processes has some constraints.

The maximal tempo of burning fat

Thanks to the advanced scientific methods, it was possible to set the maximal tempo of burning body fat. According to the results of one of the studies, this limit is only 69kcal per one kilogram of the possessed body fat per day. What does it mean? That the tempo of losing weight depends on how much body fat we already have.

In case of a one hundred kilos man with the level of body fat of 30% (i.e. 30kg of fat), the maximal daily loss of body fat is 260g (assuming that 1kg of body fat is about 7700-8000 kcal). Therefore, burning 5kg of body fat should, theoretically, take three weeks. But if you wanted to count similar equation for a sixty-kilo woman (30% of body fat), who wants to achieve 55kg in very short time, the process of reduction will last much longer. The maximal daily loss of body fat will be less than 160kcal. So, burning 5kg will take a month. There are some individuals in even worse situation, who already don't have much fat and they want to have less of it. Here, the reduction time will get longer according to the level of body fat.

Does it mean you cannot lose weight faster?

Well, not necessarily. There is an option of boosting the tempo of losing weight, but the additional kilos will not be body fat – it will be muscles. It could seem a small loss for a person who doesn't dream of a shape of a bodybuilder. Unfortunately, the situation is different in reality. It's worth remembering that losing muscle mass means worsening body composition and aesthetics. People who don't have enough muscles, even if their weight is fine, they look bad. Besides, muscle tissue is some kind of a power plant where fatty acids are burnt. The less we have it – the less effectively we burn spare fat. Belittling the negative effects connected with its loss is inconsiderate and causes that the final effects of reduction will be dissatisfying.

Few words of summary

It's worth realizing that the numbers presented in this article are just estimates and you should look at them with reserve. You should rather assume that the given constraint of fat burning tempo is maximal, not average which can be easily crossed. In fact, for majority of people who lose weight, the optimal tempo of slimming will be lower than 69kcal per 1 kilo of body fat per day. When fighting against excess body fat, you should listen to the signals from your own body. If your mood gets worse during slimming diet, you feel more tired or hungry – these are the clear signals for you to verify your strategy.