When you’re skinny, of course you’re healthy. And definitely, it’s impossible for you to be fat. True or false?
False. In case you have not heard of the term ‘skinny fat,’ this concept basically means that you can actually look outwardly healthy, at least in the commonly believed manner, but in reality, have the health level of an obese person.
Basically, ‘skinny fat’ refers to someone who has a weight and BMI (body mass index) that is normal for that person’s height but has much more fat and not enough muscle. World Health Organization qualifies that although they have a suggested healthy BMI range, this is only a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same body fat percentage in different individuals.
Some skinny people may feel like exercising and eating a healthy diet is not necessary because they look skinny. However, because fat is not only stored under the skin, ‘skinny fat’ people are at risk of health problems. There’s a type of fat called visceral fat and this is the type you do not want to have a lot of. Visceral fat is internal fat that develops in the abdominal cavity, gets stored around the organs, and wraps around your kidneys, intestines, stomach, and liver. Having large amounts of this fat can put you at risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes, lower bone mineral density, and loss of cognitive function. In medicine, this is a condition called sarcopenic obesity, which refers to an individual who may have what would be considered a normal weight, but metabolically, this person shares many health characteristics as someone who is overweight or obese.
How can you tell if you’re skinny fat? It’s not as easy as checking the scale or looking in the mirror.
A good way to determine whether you may be skinny fat is to have your body composition analyzed. The recommended ranges for healthy men are between 10-20% body fat, and for women, the ranges are 18-28%.
There are several ways to have your body composition analyzed:
One of the most common forms of body composition analysis is the use of calipers. Theyoperate by pinching the fat that is held just under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and estimating the internal (or visceral) fat.
Although this is probably the most accessible way to measure your body fat, it won’t be the most accurate. This is because calipers only measure the subcutaneous fat and then predict your visceral fat based upon your age and a commonly used equation.
Your body composition may also be determined using hydrostatic weighing and dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Although accurate, these procedures both require specialized equipment, and in the case of DEXA, exposes your body to low levels of radiation.
BIA Scales and Devices
BIA devices use small electric currents to measure body composition.
BIA devices are easy to use, and depending on the manufacturer, can be quite accurate in determining body composition results for all areas of the body, including the abdominal area, where visceral fat builds up.
Visceral Fat area over 100 square meters increases the risk for metabolic syndrome.
When using a BIA device, it’s important to look into how the device you are using
So What if I am Skinny Fat?
Lifestyle play key roles here.
When we eat high-calorie food, especially carbohydrates, but we are not able to burn the energy from these calories, it will become stored in the body as fat.
Also, muscle mass decreases over time when the muscles are unused. Fat mass will increase as mobility decreases.
Sitting all day, eating an unhealthy diet, and skipping workouts will result to muscle loss and fat gain. People with sedentary lifestyles are prime candidates for muscle loss and fat gain if they don’t do anything to guard against it.
In a deeper look into this matter, Michael Matthews of Muscle For Life says that people can lose muscle as well if they don’t diet and exercise the right way, such as when people practice severe calorie restriction, do excessive amounts of cardio,
or hardly do any weightlifting. If you reduce calories, while performing cardio exercises excessively, your body will start metabolizing muscle at a certain point when your body does not have enough energy.
Improving your body composition is the best way to be healthy inside and out.
Improve your muscle mass while reducing visceral fat through a protein-rich diet and weight training that focuses on heavy, compound exercises that improves lean muscle mass.
With increased lean body mass, the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) increases, as well. And the higher the BMR, the more calories your body naturally burns when it is rest.
Need help in jumpstarting that healthy lifestyle? Try ThinTea Detox and Fat Burn blends, which will help increase your metabolism and improve your energy. You’d be on your way to a healthy you inside and out in no time.