There are many questions today concerning body fat pertaining to the normal range, how to attain it, as well as how to measure it. Body fat has become a world-wide obsession, as well as a national epidemic in the U.S. with many adults and children being in the overweight range. Studies have linked the amount of body fat we have to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, as well as cancers.
Fact #1: Average Body Weight Can Still be Harmful
For women, an average of 40-50 pounds of body weight is fat, and 5-10 pounds of that is intra-abdominal fat. This is fat that is not visible to the naked eye, so you can be of average weight and sill have this intra-abdominal fat be in the higher range. Excess fat close to this area will cause disruptions to the functions of the liver, limiting its ability to control insulin in the blood. An excess of insulin will cause high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as heart disease in the long run.
Fact #2: Increasing Muscle will Burn Body Fat Faster
Body fat will metabolize faster, and even while sleeping, if you have worked your muscles to their capacity at certain intervals throughout the day. Muscle also carries more density than fat, so although you may be the same weight from the time you start your diet, having more muscle mass will cause this effect. Also, fat is burned inside the muscles, so the more muscle mass you carry, the more fat and calories you will burn throughout the day.
Fact #3: Body Weight Measurements are Misleading
The national BMI standards for body weight have increased over the past 30 years. This would indicate that a person who is overweight today by those standards, might have been at ideal weight 30 years ago. You will also want to make sure you are measuring your body fat using a body fat scale, so the actual fat is measured and not muscle density.
Fact #4: Excess Body Fat Can Still be Healthy
Studies have shown that people who have some extra body fat and moderately exercise as part of a regular health regimen, are actually healthier than thin people who do not exercise and are sedentary. If you look at certain parts of the country, there is proof that diets high in healthy fat can actually be good for you (such as in the Mediterranean where olive oil is used extensively).
Fact #5: Body Fat Can be Linked to Your Thyroid
The thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, as well as the temperature in your body. If your thyroid is underactive, it will cause slow metabolism and therefore hinder weight loss efforts. It will cause ailments such as allergies, asthma, migraines, as well as other physical factors such as cold hands and feet. If it is overactive, an increase in appetite may be felt along with possible weight gain from the increase in calories.