Body fat percentage: How much body fat is healthy?
The body fat percentage indicates the proportion of fat in relation to the total body mass. It depends on many different factors.Adipose tissue is useful to a certain extent, as it has a protective function against mechanical influences, serves as heat protection and as an energy store in the body. However, it is an extremely hormone-active tissue, which can have negative consequences for health if the proportion is too high. You can find out what these are and how much body fat is healthy in our blog post.
Why is a high body fat percentage unhealthy?
Not all fat is the same: a distinction is made between subcutaneous fatty tissue between the skin and muscles (subcutaneous) and visceral fat, which envelops the internal organs. The visceral fatty tissue (especially the fat in the abdomen) produces more than 600 different hormones and messenger substances, some of which have inflammatory properties. These can cause considerable damage, especially in the blood vessels.If you have a high body fat percentage, the fat in your abdomen also increases. This is usually noticeable in the blood count and blood pressure and can result in an increased risk of a number of diseases. These include hypertension, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as cancer and diabetes. In addition, a high body fat percentage increases the size of fat cells and reduces insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitively certain organs react to the hormone insulin. The more fat you carry around, the higher your blood levels of free fatty acids. You can find out how to get rid of harmful belly fat in the following blog post.
Children and adolescents in particular should pay close attention to their body fat. The tricky thing is that fat cells that develop in childhood and adolescence can no longer be broken down by the body; they can only be reduced in size.
Interesting to know: Some experts believe that fat pads on the hips, buttocks and thighs can intercept harmful substances that are released from the abdomen.
How can I influence body fat?
The percentage of body fat depends on many influencing factors. Gender, age, physique, diet and physical activity play a particularly important role. But stress and sleep also have an influence.With increasing age, the proportion of body fat increases due to the loss of muscle mass. The problem with this is that muscle loss also reduces the basal metabolic rate of older people. However, most people eat as before, but consume fewer calories. The result: fat deposits fill up. Therefore, the build-up of fat in old age should be counteracted by building muscle.In this context, the steroid hormone Ecdysteron shows positive results. Russian researchers investigated whether ecdysterone has an effect on muscle and fat mass in athletes. Compared to the placebo group, the athletes who took ecdysterone gained more muscle mass and lost body fat.
What body fat percentage is "normal" for women and men?
There are only approximate values for when the body fat percentage is considered healthy. In general, it can be said that a body fat percentage of around 15-25% is "normal" for women. For men, this value is around 10-20 %. In general, the body fat percentage increases with age (by around two per cent for every 10 years of life). The reason for this is the decrease in muscle mass with age and is therefore normal. A body fat percentage of at least 5 % is considered vital for men and around 10 % for women. If the percentage is below these two values, this can lead to disorders in the body.A low body fat percentage is particularly favourable for athletes, as too much body fat can have a negative impact on jumping height, sprinting speed, deceleration and acceleration.
Important: Please note that even slim people can have a high body fat percentage. This is because fat is not visible inside the body, such as around the organs and muscles.
Why do women have a higher body fat percentage?
The higher percentage of body fat in women compared to men is evolutionary. This is because the hormonal balance of young women changes with the onset of menstruation. More fat is stored in the breasts, hips and buttocks. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, these serve as energy reserves to nourish the child. In addition, men have more testosterone, which makes it easier for them to build muscle mass.
The higher body fat percentage in women is also the reason why they freeze faster. Although body fat insulates, it does not store heat, unlike muscles.
How can the body fat percentage be determined?
The body fat percentage can be determined using various methods. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a very precise method. It differentiates between bone, muscle and fat tissue. However, it is not suitable for everyday use due to the high radiation exposure. For this reason, the following methods are used more frequently: bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), skin fold thickness measurement using calipers and body fat scales. Accuracy is required when measuring with a caliper. Generally speaking, the more folds you measure, the more accurate the results will be.How can I reduce my body fat percentage?
To reduce your body fat percentage, it would be great if you aimed for an energy deficit of around 300-500 calories of your total energy requirements. You should also make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and do regular sport (a mixture of strength and endurance training). To avoid muscle loss, a protein-rich diet is a good idea. Our protein powders are suitable for this purpose.
It is important that you do not exceed your total energy requirements. This is because excess calories that the body does not use are stored in the body in the form of fat, regardless of the form in which they are consumed.
You should also make sure you get enough sleep and avoid stress. Stress causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which has a negative effect on your body. Our Omega 3 fatty acid capsules are suitable for reducing your cortisol levels.