First, some possible answers:
A. The fat fairy came and took it. That’s why you always weigh less in the morning.
B. You converted it to heat and radiated it into the atmosphere.
C. It’s not really lost, it’s just delayed in Cleveland.
D. You released it as carbon dioxide and water through your lungs.
E. You melted it and excreted it in your urine and feces.
If you didn’t answer D, don’t worry too much. Neither did a bunch of doctors and biochemistry students whom Ruben Meerman queried before writing about all this in a short paper released in the British Medical Journal this month.
“We’re going to remove the mystery,” Meerman said in an interview from Sydney, Australia, where he lives. “Right now, most people, including doctors, have got an idea that’s scientifically incorrect. It’s literally impossible to do what they think is happening.”
Meerman is a former physicist who abandoned that career to take up “science communication,” including work for a popular Australian television show, “Catalyst.” Last year, he lost some weight and began to think about what happens on a molecular level to the kilograms of fat he was shedding.
“I had a little bit of understanding you can’t just turn fat into heat,” he said, though that turned out to be a popular answer when he started asking the question.