Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Does Sweating = Fat Loss?

People often equate sweating with fat-burning because heavy exercise tends to produce sweat in most people. However, it would be incorrect to assume that sweating, itself, is always a sign of fat loss. While it is true that sweating can often be a by-product of fat-burning, sweating can also be caused by activities that do not burn fat, such as sitting in a sauna or being outside on a hot day. One trend is for exercisers to bring about significantly more sweat, during exercise, than what the body would normally produce, by wearing layers or a "sauna suit". While this will lead to a greater amount of sweating (and more loss of toal body water), it will not burn off any additional calories.

Celebrities are sometimes known for taking diuretics (often in the form of "water pills") to lose body water before performances or appearances. It is important to understand that this, much like excessive sweating, rids the body of water, but not fat. While many promotions for diuretics will claim to rid the body of "excess water", most Americans are chronically dehydrated, making additional self-imposed and unmonitored water losses unsafe.

While greater sweating or other forms of water loss may be advantageous in the removal of toxins, the American College of Sports Medicine and other accredited health and fitness authorities do not recommend any catalysts for producing more sweat or for otherwise eliminating a greater amount of body water than is natural. Dehydration, headaches, dizziness, lethargy, a reduced capacity for exercise, and other health concerns make this an unsafe practice. Further, as is explained above, there are no benefits regarding fat loss to losing body water.

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