The body fat is not just pure fat. Pure fat contains high energy content, around 9 calories per gram. This amounts to about 4,100 calories per pound of pure fat. On the other hand, the body fat is composed of fat cells, called adipocytes that contain some fluids and proteins in addition to fat. As a result, body fat will have a lower calorie content than pure fat.
While “fat” is often used to describe total body fat, your body contains a variety of fat types.
Some sorts of fat can be harmful to your health and cause illnesses. While, others are useful and essential for your health. Some maintain healthy metabolism and hormone levels, while others might lead to life-threatening disorders such as:
• Type 2 diabetes
• cardiovascular diseases
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
How to calculate body fat?
The most accurate technique for measuring body fat is to use specialized equipment such as calipers, commonly found in a doctor’s office. Calipers are used to determine the body fat percentage in a certain body region.
Additionally, there are other reliable methods for assessing body fat such as underwater weighing, X-ray, MRI or CT scan, and 3D body scanners. Among these techniques, using a 3D body scanner is the most accurate one. It provides a 3D representation from external surfaces of the body through non- contact optical technology (non-invasive) and measures certain parameters by analyzing the three-dimensional model of the body.
Limitation of BMI
In contrast to Body Mass Index (BMI), the body fat percentage separates muscle from fat. While BMI is solely based on weight, and It doesn’t distinguish between lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, and bone mass. These parameters are important in terms of determining body fat and general health status. A person’s BMI may indicate a significant amount of body fat if a person has high bone density and muscle mass.
Moreover, BMI is impotent in determining the precise body region, where fat is stored. This point is critical since the body fat region influences overall health. For example, the body fat around the abdomen imposes a more serious health risk than body fat in other regions.
Measures of BMI and body fat have many limitations. A high BMI or body fat percentage may not always indicate health risks. However, these parameters are still measured to present a quick and useful assessment of health risks.
Ideal body fat
According to consistently assessed body fat measures, people’s body fat percentages are greater than official guidelines. Body fat levels can be abnormally high, even in healthy people. Considering these concerns, it is unclear whether ideal body fat percentages are achievable or not. On the other hand, it has been hypothesized that race and ethnicity affect the average body fat percentages. This shows that the ideal body fat percentage might be influenced by cultural or ethnic factors.
The four main types of body fat
The body’s largest energy storage is white fat. Higher levels of white fat can lead to insulin resistance, increasing the weight gain risk and its accompanied health issues. White fat also contributes to the regulation of growth hormones and cortisol. Furthermore, it is also necessary for keeping a healthy level of blood sugar balance and controlling appetite.
When a person is exposed to thermal stress, his or her body produces beige fat, through transforming white fat to “beige.” While a high amount of beige fat isn’t really desirable, maintaining certain quantities of it results in a healthy status. In this regard, it effectively allows for the transformation and burning of unhealthy fats as thermal energy to keep the body’s core temperature stable.
Subcutaneous fat, found under the body skin, accounts for over 90% of the total body fat percentage. Subcutaneous fat, which accumulates as stubborn thigh fat in women and belly fat in men, is the estrogen production site in body. Females have higher amounts of subcutaneous fat because estrogen plays a more significant role in female fertility. This fat type also provides protection and comfort by acting as a cushion between muscle and skin tissue.
Visceral fat is stored deep inside body and wrapped around the organs of the abdomen. It stores serum retinol-binding protein 4, associated with insulin resistance. Visceral fat accumulation has also been related to an increased risk of colorectal and breast cancers, as well as dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. The amount of visceral fat in the body increases with age.
Benefits of body fat
- Body composition, which is defined as the percentage of fat, bone, and muscle are a significant factor in the body. Your body will perform at its optimum state in case of maintaining an appropriate level of total fat proportion. This will lead to many benefits, such as:
- Cell growth support
- Temperature regulation
- Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure under control
- Balanced hormone levels
- Maintaining better reproductive health status
- Storing adequate amounts of vitamin
- Proper neurological function
- Healthy metabolism
- Balanced blood sugar
What is considered an appropriate level of body fat percentage?
Several factors, such as a person’s age and gender, might influence the ideal body fat percentage. The provided body fat percentage in the following (based on age and gender) is considered healthy.
|Age (years)||Healthy body fat percentage (men)||Healthy body fat percentage (women)|
|20 to 39||8 to 19 percent||21 to 32 percent|
|40 to 59||11 to 21 percent||23 to 33 percent|
|60 to 79||13 to 24 percent||24 to 35 percent|
How do I lower my body fat percentage?
Losing body fat may be a challenging process that requires lots of effort, patience, and attention. Although many fad diets and fat-burning products promise immediate results, the most efficient method to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to optimize your daily diet, lifestyle, and exercise routine. You may also improve your general health status by taking a few convenient steps to encourage long-term, sustainable fat loss. Here are some tips for promoting long term fat loss:
- Strength training
- Maintaining a high protein diet
- Adequate sleep time
- Drinking unsweetened beverages
- Consumption of whole grain products
- Drinking coffee