When it comes to losing body fat, there is a lot of information to digest. As a result, it can be difficult to determine which strategies are best for people looking to lose weight and/or reduce their body fat percentage—especially since the answer is often not just diet and exercise (although they are part of it). Research shows that successfully achieving an ideal body fat percentage varies from person to person, so what works for one body may not work for the next.
So how can you reduce body fat and keep it at bay?
Why is body fat important?
“Fat exists in virtually every cell in the body the brain is 60% fat,” says David Friedman, a naturopathic doctor, clinical nutritionist, and board-certified alternative medicine practitioner based in North Carolina. “Also, fat provides energy for the body like protein and carbohydrates.” Fat plays a role in regulating hormones, body temperature, immunity, reproduction, insulin signaling, and nutrient absorption. What is more, the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K depend on body fat for optimal absorption?
Healthy body fat percentages for men and women:
Ø “Despite decades of research and some general guiding principles, the exact percentage of body fat for men and women in optimal health remains unknown (although we do have general guidelines),” says Michael S. Fenster, MD, a cardiologist, and adjunct professor at the University of Kansas. of Culinary Medicine at the Center for Health Sciences.
Ø with that said, general body fat guidelines for men state that 2% to 5% body fat is essential, 2% to 24% body fat is considered healthy and more than 25% body fat is classified as obese. For women, 10% to 13% of body fat is essential, 10% to 31% of body fat is healthy, and more than 32% of body fat is classified as obese. In other words, there is quite a range of acceptance based on a person’s gender and body type.
When it is safe to try to lose body fat:
a) If you do not fall into the prohibited categories listed above and your body fat percentage exceeds the healthy range, starting a program to reduce body fat can be a positive step toward better health—especially if you have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels at the same time. goes
b) “Also, keep in mind that gradual weight loss promotes greater reductions in fat mass and body fat percentage than rapid weight loss regimens,” says Dr. Alexis. “, it’s safe to lose 0.5% of total body fat per week or 2% of body fat per month.” An easy way to measure this at home is about 1 to 2 pounds a week, depending on your starting weight.
c) Also, fat loss is different from overall weight loss. The number you see on the scale is a combination of body fat, lean muscle mass, organ weight, blood volume, and skeletal mass. You can lose fat and gain lean mass but not lose a pound. “If you notice your waistline is shrinking but your overall body weight remains unchanged, don’t panic—you’re on the right track,” says Dr. Fenster.
Eat better fats:
i. Instead of eating a low-fat diet, focus on eating beneficial “good” fats like polyunsaturated fats and limiting harmful “bad” fats like trans fats.
ii. “Eating fat helps you lose weight because it slows down digestion and makes you feel more satisfied after a meal,” says Friedman. Get heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats by eating fish, avocados, olives and olive oil, eggs, nuts, and nut kinds of butter, seeds, and dark chocolate. Meanwhile, avoid trans fats, which are found in fried foods, vegetable shortening, margarine, baked goods, and processed snack foods.
Ultra-processed products and refined sugar:
Ø A recent study found that after age 5, about 70% of the average American’s diet consists of ultra-processed foods (UPP), which is not good news for body fat . “The top sources of unwanted oils and fats in the modern Western diet are not meat and poultry, but bread and baked goods, including spices,” says Dr. Fenster. “UPPs are loaded with unhealthy fats that are often added in a bewildering array and are loaded with added sugars and salt, making them hyper-palatable and addictive.” People also tend to overeat highly processed, low-nutrition, prepackaged foods like pastries, doughnuts, chips, and margarine.
Ø the average American eats 152 pounds of refined sugar per year, which can mess with blood sugar and spike insulin levels, which also affects fat storage. “Refined sugars, a staple of ultra-processed foods, are empty calories,” says Dr. Fenster. “Reducing calorie intake encourages the body to use its fat reserves, thus reducing body fat percentage.”
Watch what you are drinking:
High-calorie sodas, alcohol, and other highly sweetened liquids after 30% of a person’s daily caloric intake