Optimizing Your Body Fat Composition
Most people get so focused on trying to lose weight that they overlook a more important objective—getting body fat percentage into an optimum range. Too little fat (“underfat”) is unhealthy, because fat is necessary for healthy hormonal and immune functions. On the other hand, too much fat can increase risks for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other health problems.
It’s useful to know how fat is made in our bodies. Fat is made from our bodies converting sugar or refined carbohydrates as well as from the fats in our food. Therefore it’s paramount to avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates like white foods (white flour, rice, potato, etc.) as well as unhealthy fats like lard, butter and fat from red meat. Even vegetable oils like safflower, corn and canola contain fats like omega 6 that may cause inflammation and thus should be avoided. Choose good fats such as those from nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut (a small amount), and wild-caught fish.
Men who are between ages 20 and 40 with under 8 percent body fat are considered “underfat”, whereas a healthy range is considered to be between 8 and 19 percent. For women in this same age group, any level under 21 percent is considered “underfat” and 21 to 33 percent is considered to be the healthy range. Yes, this is a very wide range! To the right is a chart of ideal body fat levels. Achieving weight wellness is about what is optimum and healthy for your particular body. Your body fat percentage should be as important as weight when you set your weight wellness goal. Do you know your body fat number?