Weight Loss – Are Body Fat Scales Accurate?
If you have done any reading at all about health and fitness, you know one thing: body fat matters, body weight doesn’t. While the two do typically go hand in hand, there are always people who have high body weight and appear overweight but have a high level of muscle mass and are in fact, exceptionally lean.
If you are attempting to lose weight, it is best to measure whether you are losing fat or losing body weight. Body weight can be a mixture of fat and lean muscle mass tissue, which is less than ideal.
As you strive to improve your health, you only want to be losing body fat. So this now begs the question, should you invest in a body fat scale? It would seem to be the best solution. This way you can monitor which way your body fat levels are going. Before you run out and buy the first body fat scale you see, however, you do need to keep one thing in mind: not all scales are accurate.
Here is what to keep in mind.
Methods Of Measuring Body Fat Levels. There are many methods of measuring your body fat levels…
1. One approach is to pinch various areas of your body and determine how thick those areas are. The thicker the pinch, the more body fat: this is referred to as a skin caliper reading.
2. Another method is to put yourself through an electronic scanner, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA previously referred to as DEXA), which will determine bone density, fat mass, and lean muscle mass tissue. This is the most accurate method. However, you cannot do it yourself, and it can be costly to have performed.
3. The third method is to use what is known as bio-electrical impedance, which is where an electrical current is sent through your body, and the speed of travel is determined. The current will not travel fast through fat mass, so the slower it is, the more fat you are said to have.
The bio-electrical impedance method seems ideal in theory, but the problem is your hydration levels can throw it off. If you are dehydrated, you will appear much “fatter” than if you are hydrated. This method is the one most home scales go by. While it is beneficial to be able to check your reading conveniently, it is not an accurate one. You can follow the current trend and use one of these home scales but remember you need to be at the same level of hydration at all times. Measuring your levels first thing every morning can help out with your hydration levels being similar.
Getting your body fat checked by a DXA scanner a few times a year and relying on how your clothes look and feel, could be a better approach.