Those following a certain fitness regime have probably tried their fair share of diets until they’ve hit the bullseye. But how many of us have actually stopped and looked at the science behind food? Why are all fats bad? And are they really? As you’ll see in this article, things are never black and white.
One thing is certain, though — the right diet can help you achieve your fitness goals much quicker. Are you intrigued yet? Join us as we try to debunk the myth created around nutrition. You’ll get to see how to determine fat percentage and how it fits into the whole picture and learn some nifty tips and tricks along the way.
What Is the Importance of Body Fat Percentage?
Those well-versed in fitness regimes know that body fat percentage (BFP) carries more weight than one’s body mass index (figuratively, of course). What does that mean? Well, simply put, your BFP is a clear indicator of the fat percentage in your body. There are two kinds of fat our body stores: essential and stored. Our bodies require the former so they can function properly. The latter, on the other hand, can be detrimental in excessive quantities.
People tend to mix up body mass index (BMI) with body fat percentage (BFP). However, BMI is not necessarily an accurate reflection of your health status — it will simply point to your weight–height ratio. Meanwhile, increased BFP can raise your risk of developing certain chronic illnesses.
Does Your Diet Impact Your BFP?
The answer is short and simple — yes. The nutrients we consume daily not only affect our body weight but also influence our BFP and overall body metrics in one way or another.
You’ve probably heard of athletes upping their protein intake in order to build muscle. Different foods can impact parts of our body in a variety of ways.
There’s a famous saying, “You are what you eat.” and we cannot help but agree. If you consume fast food excessively, your body will feel the brunt. That is not to say you are banned from occasionally indulging in fries and nuggets. It all starts with proper nutrition, and in the next few sections, we’ll learn what that entails.
Fats and Carbs
In the past, there was a belief that all fats were harmful and could lead to weight gain — cue the keto diet, which put all these rumors to rest. Namely, this particular food regimen revolves around swapping carbs for fats as your primary energy source. By incorporating healthy fat sources into our diet, we are helping our metabolism work more optimally.
Low-carb diets aren’t revolutionary; they’ve been around since the dawn of time. However, the focus has shifted from fiber and protein to fats. Eating food rich in healthy fats, primarily unsaturated fats (pumpkin seed and avocado), with the addition of saturated fats (Greek yogurt) will keep you fuller for longer, thus curbing your cravings, which is everything a proper balanced diet should be.
Conversely, sugary foods and carbs are a big no-no. They are the true culprits behind the numbers on your body fat scale. However, we do know how delicious these can be, and you don’t have to give them up completely — remember, eat everything in moderation!
The body’s primary muscle-building macronutrient is recommended by fitness professionals for a reason. Protein-rich food can help our bodies grow and develop properly. The proportion of protein you’ll need depends on your body composition and physical activity levels. Consulting a professional is the best course of action when in doubt. Typically, those wanting to boost their muscle mass must increase their protein consumption, so think eggs, chicken breast, almonds, Greek yogurt, fish, and more.
When we think of a healthy body fat percentage, we tend to picture fiber-rich foods. While these essentially classify as carbohydrates, it’s their soluble/insoluble quality that makes them distinctive. Fruits and vegetables belong to the former type, while whole grains make up the latter.
Now, how does this play into your dietary regime? Well, much like fat, fiber contributes to the feeling of fullness, keeping you satiated for longer. Munching on your favorite fruit can help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check.
Ways to Monitor Your BFP
Now that you know whether your diet needs any life-changing alterations, let’s explore different ways to determine fat percentage.
- Skin calipers: We’ll start our list with the cheapest but probably the least reliable way to assess your BFP. These tools entail pinching your skinfolds and measuring their thickness. The accuracy of the findings will depend on the expertise of the skin caliper user.
- Body fat scales: The perfect middle-ground solution is the modern-day body fat scale. Devices like INEVIFIT’s Eros can help you monitor up to 13 key metrics, and yes, that includes your BFP. You only need to connect the scale to its proprietary app, and you’re good to go.
- DEXA scan: Those who want to go all out can consider trying dual X-ray absorptiometry scans. In line with their name, these rely on invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images and estimate the amount of muscle, body fat, and bone in your body. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive and difficult to come by.
Note: The “normal” values will vary from one individual to another, depending on their physical activity level, age, and gender.
Merely knowing your body weight won't suffice if you truly want to learn whether the changes in your diet and exercise routines have taken root. Switching from heavily processed foods to more balanced meals can be a good start.
However, you’ll need to monitor your body fat percentage regularly in case there’s a need for any further modifications. With the help of the EROS Smart Scale, you’ll always be in the know. Remember that dieting is a serious matter, so make sure to consult a health professional if you have any concerns or prior conditions.
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