When someone loses weight, where does it go?

Let’s explore the maths…

If you’re a fan of TEDx talks, are fond of mathematics and are looking to lose weight, then the video below could be just what you’re looking for. In the video, Ruben Meerman (aka ‘the surfing scientist’) explores the myths and maths behind weight loss and asks the question:

“When somebody loses weight, where does it go [what does it become, how does it get out of your body]?”

Although a bit technical in places, it’s still an interesting watch – Ruben begins the talk by explaining about his holiday in Fiji and how a cameraman captured a picture of him surfing a wave. When Ruben saw the photo, he was unimpressed to see his ‘paunch’ and realised that he was 5kg overweight. This got him thinking about the question posed above so he decided to look into it further. He started by asking the question to passers-by on Bondi Beach in Australia and got a range of differing answers. Here’s just a few of them to get you started:

  • “Into the ether”
  • “It gets used up”
  • “The universe”
  • “Another dimension”
  • “It doesn’t go anywhere”
  • “It becomes nothing”
  • “It doesn’t exist anymore”
  • “Moisture, sweat; it evaporates”
  • “It becomes poo”
  • “Heat; you burn it as energy”

He goes on to explain that none of the above answers are correct and then proceeds to give his explanation with the aid of the Periodic Table, a bit of maths a few props. We don’t want to spoil the talk by delving deeper into the topics he covers so if you’ve got around 20 minutes to spare and are curious about his answer, here’s the fascinating video – Enjoy!

Leave a comment