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Battle of the bulge

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With the right five course meal, you can probably get a little of each in a single sitting.

Once in your body, fat droplets mix with bile salts from the gall bladder in a process called emulsification. In other words, the large drops are broken into smaller drops that increase the fat’s surface area.

The pancreas secretes enzymes, called lipases, that break the fats down to their parts, glycerol and fatty acids. From there the fats are absorbed into cells lining the intestine, where they are reassembled into packages of fat molecules with a protein coating that makes them easier to dissolve in water. Through our lymphatic systems, these molecules, called chylomicrons, pass into the blood stream.

While there, they are broken down a second time into fatty acids by lipoprotein lipases. These fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells, and with the aid of insulin hormones, they are converted once again to fat molecules and stored.

That’s how the fat got there. Here’s how your body breaks it down.

According to Dr. Craig C. Freudenrich, the author of the How Stuff Works piece, whenever you’re not eating, you’re exercising. Even breathing burns calories.

The first place your body burns for energy is your carbohydrates, breaking them down into simple glucose molecules. Next your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids, which can either be broken down into energy or converted to glucose.

Your weight is determined by the rate you store energy from the food you eat, and the rate you burn that energy. That’s why it’s better to take a holistic approach to weight loss than to rely on an individual diet or exercise program.

The first thing to do is to make sure you eat a well-balanced diet with the appropriate amounts of glucose, fat and protein. The second thing is watch your calorie intake. The third thing is to exercise regularly.

In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service recently recognized obesity as a disease, and as of April 2 cleared the way for taxpayers to claim weight loss expenses as a medical deduction. To take the deduction, taxpayers will have to enroll in recognized weight loss programs. Diet foods and gym memberships don’t qualify.

The U.S. Food and Drug Association has an information sheet on losing weight safely that asks people to start by reading food labels.

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