The oxidation of fatty acids is the process in the body, which we refer to as fat burning. For this to happen, the body needs to first break down the stored fat into glycerol and fatty acids, which are the components of fat molecules. The fatty acids are then transported through the bloodstream to the body’s cells. Once there, they are introduced to the cell interior (specifically the mitochondria) by means of the substance L-carnitine.
Gottfried Schatz, who has worked extensively with the mitochondrion, described this part of the cell as the “energy power plant”. Here, the fatty acids are metabolized to become available to the body in the form of energy. In addition to the burning of fats from the body’s reserves, this also applies to fats which have been obtained from food.
The fat burning process is basically working all the time. After all, energy is needed to maintain the basic bodily functions, even at rest. However, the intensity is much higher during physical activities. This is because sports clearly require more energy. The fat burning process runs at full speed. Nevertheless, there are factors that slow down the fat burning:
Since L-Carnitine is essential for fat burning, a deficiency may limit the body’s ability to do so. High carbohydrate meals and the associated emissions of insulin also slow down the fat burning process. Prof. AE Jeukendrup from the University of Birmingham (UK) noted in one of his studies, that high insulin levels can reduce the fat burning by up to 35%.
This effect can last up to eight hours. In case one is trying to lose weight through sport, the degree of fat burning is not all that crucial. Right from the very first minute, more energy is burned, and muscle mass is built up. In this way, the required negative calorie balance needed for weight-loss can still be achieved.
Even at night, the burning of fat is taking place. Have you ever heard of the “lose weight while sleeping” diet by Dr. Detlef Pape? This diet concept suggests that one should avoid carbohydrate-rich meals in the evening. This way, the insulin levels after lunch have enough time to sink. At night, one should consume the absolute minimum until breakfast, so that the fat burning during sleep can run at full speed.
Here are some books with helpful information on how to burn fat successfully: