Ruben Meerman Discusses the Mathematics of Weight Loss at TEDxQUT Transcript

So what are we talking about here? Let me just show you a couple more things. I’ve got some carbon dioxide here in its frozen form. We call it dry ice. It’s carbon dioxide. It has mass. The thing is you’re not used to seeing it. But here’s some dry ice. It’s heavy, and if you put it in water…Lo and behold, it does this cool thing and bubbles. You’ve all seen that before. That’s carbon dioxide and water.

That’s what fat is kind of made out of, but it’s not fat. I’m not making fat. That is not fat.

So, how does that become fat? Well it doesn’t, just like that. It becomes sugar first. Plants make fat. Well, they start the whole thing. A plant takes six molecules of carbon dioxide and six molecules of water, uses an amazing chemical called chlorophyll, holds them together and then sunlight comes in and binds those molecules together and that becomes sugar. C6 H12 O6 is glucose.

Fructose, same formula, C6 H12 O6. Sucrose is glucose plus fructose stuck together minus some H2O molecules. So it’s, do the maths…C29 H22 O5.

Well here’s some. This is sucrose. Plants make it. It’s this stuff joined together. It’s now got chemical energy holding these molecules together so they don’t just fly around like that. And by the way if you drink that 600 mil of lemon-flavored soft drink, you’ll get 17 teaspoons of this stuff in there. ‘ll just quickly show you what that looks like.

Here’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, right. So if you drink that, it’s the equivalent of doing what I just did with a spoon, except munching it all down. Exactly the same, no difference.

So if you do that, then what happens? Well, let me explain something else that I’ve been telling kids for a little while, and they get this. When you eat food, it’s not in your body straight away. If you swallow that sugar, it’s not in you yet. So, here’s a pool noodle with a hole running through it. And here’s an almond.

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Now, if you put the almond in there, it can go all the way through and out the other end. Here’s another almond. If I put an almond in here, where’s the almond? You would say the almond is in the pool noodle. But is it the foam that the pool noodle is made of? No, of course not, it’s just in the hole that runs through it. That’s food.

You swallow food, it’s not in you. It’s in the hole that runs from here to the back door. Getting food into you is called digestion. So with this stuff, you’ve got to break the bond that’s holding the fructose to the glucose. And as soon as you do that, then that stuff can cross the barrier into your skin and into your body and then it can go around in your blood. That’s digestion, but it’s not metabolism yet. It’s got to go into your cells and then you’ve got to burn it up.

And if you don’t burn it up, if you eat all that sugar after you’ve had your three meals in the day, your body doesn’t waste it, it doesn’t come out here. The stuff that comes out the back door was never in you. Apart from a few molecules of cholesterol, it’s just fiber that you couldn’t digest plus the bacteria that live in your gut. You lose about 500 billion of those in one single sitting. They’re tiny. That’s many times the population of the Earth, every time you flush the toilet. It’s amazing. But that stuff was never really in you.

Here’s what happens if you don’t then metabolize that sugar. Well, then it’s going to get converted into the stuff that we all have a problem with fat. Now I’m just going to prove that you do breathe this stuff out. If you metabolize sugar you turn it back into carbon dioxide and water.

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So…every time you exhale, out comes a bit of carbon dioxide. You can’t see it, this is the problem. This is why people don’t know how you lose weight. So, there you go, I’ve trapped some breath, I’ve inhaled that. Five percent of the air in there is now carbon dioxide, because it’s come out of my lungs. I’ve got some liquid nitrogen here, and I’m going to use that to freeze this air. Liquid nitrogen’s minus 196 degrees. Very handy. It’s right there.

In fact, I’ll just pour it straight on. So, be a little bit careful with this stuff, I use it all the time. If I look a little blasé, I don’t mean to. Please respect this stuff if you play with it. The way you would respect boiling hot water.

Now, if you pour it onto a balloon the balloon does not pop. Which is incredible. The nitrogen’s minus 196. Oxygen turns into a liquid at minus 183 degrees. So, the oxygen in the balloon is turning into liquid. Carbon dioxide turns solid. I’ve got a big bowl of it there. But it turns solid at minus 78 degrees.

So, in the balloon now, I have liquified oxygen and frozen carbon dioxide. And when I take it out, you’ll see them. It will just take a while for the balloon to go a little bit clear at the top. The nitrogen’s in here. Air is 79% nitrogen. The nitrogen is in the top of the balloon. But now look at that liquid down there. Can you see that? That’s the oxygen from my breath that I hadn’t used.

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