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Obesity

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The Three Biggest Myths About Excess Body Fat



There’s no doubt that losing excess weight can be frustrating, but what happens when every method you’ve tried seems to be failing?

With some help from one of our lead dietitians, here are the 3 biggest myths about excess body fat.

3. Body fat is unhealthy

“One of the most common misconceptions people have about body fat is, it must be unhealthy,” says Carrie Wissemeier, a Registered Dietitian and one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “People who come in all different shapes and sizes can be just as healthy, if not healthier, than someone who is their size or smaller. Just remember: there are many other factors that contribute to your overall health, besides your body weight.”

The truth of the matter is, your body needs fat to be healthy and to supply your body with the nutrition it needs. Most people don’t know this, but fat stores and carries vitamins. You also need healthy fat for energy, and to shield and protect many of our body’s most important organs.

The best way to be sure if your weight is affecting your overall health is to check other measures of health like your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s also wise to know your BMI, which takes into account your weight and height.

However, this isn’t the true test to see if you are a healthy weight. The best way to know if you are healthy for your weight is to visit either a dietitian or a physician who specializes in weight management. They can give you the best evaluation by looking at your body composition and evaluating blood work.

To start, take BistroMD’s very own BMI test to see where you stand.

2. Excess body fat is always found around your belly

In terms of physical appearance, excess weight in your abdominal area is the easiest to spot, but excess body fat can be stored anywhere.

“Just because someone is not retaining excess body fat around their mid-section, doesn’t mean they don’t have excess body fat anywhere else,” says Carrie. “Some people can also have a thinner frame, but still have more body fat than they should. This is why it is important to take body fat percentage into consideration.”

If you have a thinner frame, have a higher body fat percentage, but don’t physically see any excess weight around your belly, you could be storing excess fat in areas like your thighs, butt and arms especially if you are inactive or have poor nutritionals habits. Fat is also spread throughout your body and isn’t limited to one place, which people often forget.

Again, the best way to determine if you are healthy for your height and weight is to visit a dietitian or a weight loss physician so they can look at all markers of health.

1. Excess body fat determines your weight

While fat is part of the number you see on the scale, people often forget that muscle is always a major contributing factor.

“This is why many professional athletes, like football players, weigh much more than a normal person and appear very fit,” says Carrie. “In actuality, many of them are healthy because a majority of their weight comes from lean body mass instead of body fat.”

Ideally, you want to have the right combination of muscle and fat for your age, height and weight, but don’t forget about other factors, like genetics and your medical history. These factors can also make a difference in your overall health.

For more tips from our experts, please visit our healthy facts section for more information.

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