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Facts on weight loss and body fat

facts on weight loss and body fat
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Whether we’re right or not, most of us think we could probably do with losing a little weight. As the media often features stories of rising obesity levels alongside snaps of celebrities and their super-trim bodies, it’s hardly surprising that many of us are left unsure about what a healthy body should look like.

 Good fat

Contrary to popular belief, not all body fat is bad. Our bodies need fat to function properly and the secret is to hold on to the perfect amount, which will vary between people. Fat is a valuable source of energy, helps the nerves and brain do their job, maintains healthy skin and allows vital vitamins to be absorbed by the body. Checking food labels for fat content will help you distinguish between saturated (bad) and unsaturated (good) fats.

BMI and Morphology

We’ve all heard of body mass index (BMI) but what exactly does it mean? A person’s BMI is calculated by comparing their height to their weight. However, this method doesn’t take muscle or body frame into account and so it can be rather imprecise. Therefore, most professionals now measure body fat using morphology. This refers to body shape and is much more tailored to the individual. It recognises that everyone is built differently and carries body fat in different areas so there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Facts on weight loss and body fat

 

Ectopic fat

Rather than focussing on body mass, many doctors are increasingly turning their attention to ectopic fat; that is fat that is somewhere it isn’t supposed to be. Ectopic fat can have serious health consequences and is particularly dangerous if it appears near the heart, liver or pancreas. Where fat is held has an effect on its consequences. For example, fat stored around the waist can have a more negative impact on health that fat stored in the thighs or bottom.  Therefore, waist measurements are often used to measure fat and studies have shown that people with high waist to hip ratios are more at risk of coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, high blood pressure and some types of cancer.

Low body fat

Just as carrying too much fat can be detrimental to your health, so can too little. Not storing enough essential fat can result in a person becoming more susceptible to illness, chronic fatigue, skeletal problems and, in women, disrupted menstrual cycles and fertility problems. Having low body fat can also be a symptom of an eating disorder.

How to maintain a healthy level of body fat?

It will come as no surprise that healthy eating habits and exercise are the best ways to avoid carrying too much or too little body fat. Eat a balanced diet with foods from all the major groups and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Portion controls are also important if you are trying to lose weight. Cardiovascular exercise helps shift excess fat while weight training will help strengthen muscles while you burn fat.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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