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What Does Fat in Urine Look Like?
And What Color It is

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 5, 2021

Did you know there’s a link between your urine and weight loss endeavors?

If you’re stumped about whether you’re losing weight, analyzing your urine might be the answer. Just as our bodies undergo a transformation while losing fat, so does our urine color as these fatty acids get flushed out.

We’ve spent hours researching the effects of fat burning on urine color to help you determine if your workouts are actually helping you lose weight. Read on to learn more.

What Color Is Urine When We Burn Fat?

woman peeing in a toilet bowl while holding a container filled with pee

When our bodies undergo a fat loss process, our urine color often changes to bright or dark yellow.

The body burns fat through a series of metabolic activities. During this process, fatty residues are disposed of by the body as byproducts.

Most of the byproduct is oxidized and breathed out of the body as carbon dioxide. The remaining residue is excreted through sweat and urine.

Under normal circumstances, the color of urine ranges between yellowish-pale and a clear hue.

However, if your body is going through a fat-burning process, the color often changes to bright or darker colors, which can also be associated with dehydration.

Assuming that you’re getting enough liquids into your system, this color change can be associated with good news.

Bright or darker urine implies signs of fat loss due to the increased metabolic byproducts excreted by the body.

What Does Your Urine Color Mean?

The color of urine constantly changes depending on what you eat, the time of day, current health conditions, and the amount of water in your system.

Below are the most common urine colors and what they mean.

Red or Pinkish

container filled with pinkish pee placed on a toilet bowl

While you’re prone to associating it with blood, there’s no need to freak out if you notice that your urine is a reddish color. Some causes of red and pinkish urine include:

  • Foods - beets, berries, and rhubarb can cause your urine to be reddish.
  • Medication - drugs such as Pyridium, Rifadin, and laxatives containing senna.
  • Blood - while rare, having blood in your urine can signal a more serious complication such as kidney infections, injury from extreme exercise, or even cancer.

If you notice red urine and you have not eaten any reddish foods, the best call is to seek medical intervention as soon as possible.

Brown

container filled with brownish pee placed on a toilet bowl

Dark brown urine may be a result of:

  • Medications like laxatives that contain cascara, antimalarial drugs (chloroquine and primaquine), and antibiotics that can cause urine to darken
  • Health conditions such as liver complications, kidney problems, and urinary tract infections may cause the color

Medium to Dark Yellow

container filled with dark pee placed on a toilet bowl

Medium yellow or darker yellow pee is an indicator of dehydration. The more dehydrated your body gets, the darker your urine.

As mentioned above, it may also indicate that your body is shedding fat cells.

Our urine naturally contains a yellow pigment due to the concentration of waste products that our kidneys filter.

This pigment concentration is high when there is not enough water in our system, which means our kidneys are struggling to filter out these waste products.

To fix this issue and allow your body to function at its best, make sure you drink enough water and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Pale Yellow to Clear

container filled with yellow pee placed on a toilet bowl

Normal urine falls into this color range. Factors that can affect its hue include the time of day and your hydration levels.

Clear urine is typically more seen during the day than in the morning.

It’s because our bodies have just woken up from a long night’s sleep and are not adequately hydrated.

How Can You Measure Fat in Your Urine?

bottle filled with urine strips and an urine sample beside

It is impossible to determine the actual amount of fat present in urine; thus, the best approach is to measure ketone levels instead.

During the breakdown of fats for fuel, the body releases ketones as a byproduct of the process.

Regardless of whether you are on a low-carb diet, high fat diet, or keto diet, these ketone levels will indicate weight gain or loss as you progress.

To test your urine for ketones, you can use urine strips available as an over-the-counter testing package. The procedure for testing involves:

  1. Collecting urine in a small collection container midstream.
  2. Dipping the absorbent end of the urine strip in the sample for 3 seconds.
  3. Holding up the strip for 60 seconds, then observing the color change against the chart provided on the package.

If you intend to check ketone concentration day-to-day, make sure you stick to a specific time of day for consistency.

According to researchers:

“Ketonuria in subjects with stable entered ketosis is highest and can be most reliably detected in the early morning and post-dinner urine [1].” - Paul Urbain, Clinical Researcher

FAQs

How Does Fat Leave the Body?

As we gain fat, 80% of fat becomes oxidized and gets breathed out as we exhale. The remaining 20% of fatty acids are disposed of through bodily fluids such as sweat and urine.

Can Your Urine Signal Fat Burning?

The color of your urine can indeed signal that fat-burning processes are underway.

A good indicator of weight loss is the presence of ketones and a urine color of bright or dark yellow.

What’s Your Pee Telling You About Your Weight Loss Goals?

If you’re looking to burn fat and lose weight, focusing on your urine rather than your sweat glands can provide you with the motivation you need.

While dark urine can also signify that you’re dehydrated and need to be drinking water more often, it’s also an indicator that you’re on the right track.

As we lose body fat, our metabolic by-products become excreted through our bodily fluids. By measuring the amount of ketone bodies in your urine, you can gauge whether your workout routine is effective at providing the weight loss results you desire.

Let us know if the urine color has helped you notice your weight loss progress.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC50973

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