Fat is essential for the body, so the proportion should be neither too high nor too low, because we need fat mainly as an energy source and hormone component (women should not have less than 12 percent body fat, men should not fall below the 6 percent mark ). But how can the body fat percentage be determined?
With a body fat analysis, the fat, water and muscle content of a body can be accurately calculated. The ideal, individual fat content depends on several factors, i.a. Gender, age, physique and physical activity.
But how can the fat content of the body be determined? There are different methods of calculation, which are quite different in their accuracy. We present the best methods for body fat analysis.
Body fat analysis: How to determine your percentage of body fat
Without a measuring device, the body fat percentage can not be determined. The determination of body fat percentage can be quite expensive and expensive. For example, hydrostatic weighing – commonly referred to as the most accurate method (just 1.5 percent inaccuracy).
The body weight under water and the displaced amount of water is determined. This method is professionally carried out in universities and hospitals and costs i.d.R. around 150 euros. But what are the cheaper ways to analyze your own body fat?
How accurate are body fat scales?
The easiest way – whether in the gym, in the doctor’s office or at home – is probably the calculation using a body fat scale. In this are electrodes that send light current through the body. Fat, water, muscle and other tissues conduct this harmless current differently, fat has a comparatively low resistance.
A mini-computer built into the scale calculates the ratio of the values to each other. But: These scales, especially those for home use, provide i.d.R. only very inaccurate results. They measure only the lower body, but not the fat content of the other parts of the body, because the current does not reach the upper body (the same applies vice versa for body fat meters, which are held in the hand). In addition, certain factors, such. B. a full bladder or sweaty feet that affect the calculation.
Accurate are the results of body fat scales with an ultrasound scanner, which are often used in gyms and medical practices. The ultrasound is reflected at different parts of the body by the tissue layers. From these results, the thickness of the so-called subcutaneous fat, ie the “subcutaneous fat” can be determined.
Measure skin fold thickness with a caliper
The caliper forceps method is simple, popular and, above all, quite accurate: a skin fold is compressed with the fingers, the thickness of which is then determined with a caliper, ie a forceps measuring device.
At best, this measurement is performed at different body sites. For women, we recommend the skin on the hips, thighs and triceps; for men also the skin on the thigh, stomach and chest.
On the Internet, there are various body fat calculator in which the values are entered and calculated by means of an algorithm to a body fat result. There is already a Caliper for little money to buy.
Incidentally, it is recommended to measure each skin fold three times and to form the mean value. Somewhat problematic is this measurement in that when measuring regularly to record the targeted reduction or increase in body fat, it is quite likely that a few millimeters measured next to the original skin fold, this is taken at the wrong angle or with more or less pressure ,
These are factors that can affect the measurement result and so can not be made accurate statements about the change in the proportion of body fat.
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DEXA: The most accurate method for determining body fat percentage
DEXA stands for Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorption, which is an X-ray method. This method is considered to be the most accurate among body fat analyzes and is less expensive than hydrostatic weighing – but with about 50 euros, it must be calculated for this measurement.
At DEXA, X-rays are shot at the body, which are absorbed differently by the tissue, which allows statements to be made about body fat, water and muscle levels. This method can be performed, for example, in radiological and orthopedic medical practices.
Incidentally, the dosage of X-rays is very low and to compare with a long-haul flight.
Methods are based on guidelines
The presented body fat analyzes are different consuming and different costs. However, no body fat percentage is directly measured by any method: it is always a mathematical, algorithmic procedure based on statistical surveys.
The results of a body fat analysis are thus always approximations to laws established by scientists. Therefore, it is important that you look for a table of guide values, taking into account the number of individual factors (body type, physical activity, etc.) to make conclusions about a “too much” or “too little”.
Far too often, focus is on “too much” rather than “too little”. Not only in body fat, but also in the diet. Read about the consequences of malnutrition.
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