• Question: Why do some people lose fat more easily than others?

    Asked by MTMMCRKPOP to Charlotte, Hannah, Majid, Richard, Sam on 9 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Hannah Moir

      Hannah Moir answered on 9 Mar 2016:


      Hormones and metabolism and to a very small degree genetics plays a part here. On the whole it depends on your basal metabolic rate, e.g. how much energy you use on a daily basis as a baseline, before you do any extraneous activities Some people’s metabolism burns more calories and thus fat compared to others. People also do not realise how much calories they are taking on board and when they think they should be loosing weight aren’t necessarily doing it right. It takes lower energy input with energy output to enable loss
      .

    • Photo: Charlotte Green

      Charlotte Green answered on 9 Mar 2016:


      Great response from Hannah I just want to pick up on her theme of people not realising how many calories they are eating. I am sure you have heard a lot recently about hidden sugar in our food, this is one of the ways people can consume excess calories without realising. Hidden sugar is sugar that is added to food and drinks. Fizzy drinks can contain a lot of added sugar which means a lot of calories you might not notice. Did you know that flavoured waters can contain almost as much sugar as coke! I am not saying you can’t drink these things but be aware of what they are and have them in moderation 🙂

    • Photo: Majid Ahmed

      Majid Ahmed answered on 9 Mar 2016:


      I will also add that fat is mostly used as a store (backup) for the body to use when it needs to produce energy. So it is really only used when other sources of nutrients to produce energy (mainly sugars/carbohydrates) are not available for the cells within the body to use.

      Historically, this allowed our ancestors to hunt/gather food and store the excess energy as fat so that it could be used when food wasn’t available. But nowadays, at least in the developed world, food is usually easily available and we have at least three meals a day. So our bodies are storing fat to be used for times when food isn’t available, which is not too often.

      Now to add to the answer why some people lose fat more easily than others.

      First we have to look at how that fat comes about. So as humans we all have to eat, but what we eat and how much we eat can vary a lot from person to person. Also, the way our bodies decides how much fat to store and how much to get rid of will vary. So these two things will affect how easily people lose fat. For example, I am a muslim and in the month of Ramadhan we fast (we don’t eat food or drink water) for long periods during the sunlight and eat when it gets dark. Now I often find that I will lose weight and my body fat content will go down when I am fasting because my body is using it’s fat stores to keep me fuelled up and alive. But this is not always the case for everybody that is fasting because one person might eat a lot of food and particularly if they eat a lot of unhealthy food when they can eat during the month of Ramadhan. So the way our body stores fat and uses these can vary from person to person depending on how often we eat and what we eat.

      The second thing which will affect the ability of a person to lose fats is the energy they use on a day-to-day basis. The other scientists have commented on this so I won’t discuss this too much. But the way to think about it is that a person who exercises everyday and has a life where they do a lot of physical activity will use more energy compared to someone who, for example, sits at home all day in front of the TV doing very little exercise. So the active person would lose fat more easily because there body needs to use the fat to produce energy, and the non-active person would not lose the fat so easily because there body does not need to use the fat to produce energy as their intake of food is likely to be enough for their energy requirement.

      Your question is a very good question and one that interests me a lot so I apologise if I have written a lot. I hope my answer helps you to understand why some people lose fat more easily than other. I think it is also important to point out that in some ways, we don’t fully understand the answer to this question and that is why it is important to continue doing research in this area so we can get a better understanding.

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