Do You Lose Weight When You Sweat?

Sweating is a mechanism that your body activates when its temperature rises too high. The body tries to maintain the proper temperature and for this purpose, the brain sends an order to the sweat glands. These glands then begin to release water.
Do You Lose Weight When You Sweat?

Last update: 09 November, 2019

Many people strongly believe the idea that you lose weight when you sweat. It is common to see people exercise with lots of clothes: wearing plastics, and all kinds of accessories, in order to increase the amount of sweat they release.

However, this belief is false. Although sweating has some benefits for the body, such as the elimination of toxins and the loss of calories, sweat is not directly related to weight loss.

In this article, we will provide you with some considerations in order to try to help you to understand why you actually do not lose weight when you sweat. 

Understanding the phenomenon of sweating

When sweat evaporates, it takes some of the heat with it, and thus body temperature decreases. The conditions under which the body sweats the most, are heat and humidity. Each person sweats at a different pace, depending on their size, weight, and physical condition.

sweat running break

A large person usually sweats more, because his or her body has to cool a greater amount of fat. For those in better physical condition, their cooling system is more efficient and will help them with their training.

Sweat contains mainly water, sugars, mineral salts, and waste products. After exercising and sweating a lot, it is possible for one person to weigh less; and this may give the mistaken idea that they have lost weight.

Actually, this apparent weight loss is temporary. It is just a loss of water, momentary dehydration that must be quickly taken care of, in order to avoid serious health problems. By drinking water, the individual will recover the weight, and the false idea that they have lost weight through sweat will quickly vanish.

Do you burn fat and lose weight when you sweat?

Body fat is not eliminated through sweat. It is oxidized and used as energy when you perform a physical activity. The more energy the body needs to exercise, the more fat it requires from the cells.

In this sense, there is an indirect relationship between sweating and burning fat. When performing intense exercise, the body will activate the sweat mechanism by raising its temperature. This will typically require a lot of energy, so the body will burn fat in order to obtain that energy.

So, while sweat does not directly lead to fat burning, the energy that the body needs to activate the sweat mechanism will burn fat.

Therefore, using ‘tricks’ to sweat more will not help. It is not the sweat itself that will help you to burn fat, but the activity that causes it. You do not lose weight when you sweat. Instead, you can lose weight by doing the exercises that make you sweat.

lose weight sweat

Trying to sweat excessively can be dangerous

If you could simply lose weight when you sweat, it would be enough just to wear a wool coat in the middle of summer and stand under the blistering sun for a while! But obviously, this does not actually work.

There are people who exercise in very hot places or who wear a lot of clothes when they work out. Other people wrap plastic around their waist, thinking that this way they can burn more fat. However, excessive sweating actually has some risks linked to dehydration.

A muscle that is dehydrated has a higher risk of injury. Its elasticity and ability to contract is not as effective. The consequence may be significant damage to the body of the person exercising.

It is important to remember that a poorly hydrated body can not tolerate an increase in temperature. It is always necessary to hydrate before, during, and after physical activity.

The amount of liquid you should take in regards to exercise is also a very important issue. Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness and headache. Severe dehydration, however, can be much more serious and may even require hospitalization.

Despite what you may believe, you actually do not lose weight when you sweat. The best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume.

For this purpose, a balanced diet and regular physical activity are a much safer and far more effective method.

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  • Sawka, M. N., Burke, L. M., Eichner, E. R., Maughan, R. J., Montain, S. J., & Stachenfeld, N. S. (2007). Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
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The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.