The body fat percentage indicates what percentage of the body is made up of fat. If the proportion is too high, the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis may increase. In such a case, body fat should be reduced – best through a calorie-restricted diet and enough exercise. We reveal how to measure your body fat and give you valuable tips on lowering the body fat percentage. In our body fat table, you can also see which values are within normal range and which values are too high.
Body fat percentage and BMI
The BMI (body mass index) puts our body weight and body size in relation to each other. It thus provides a rough orientation as to whether we are normal, underweight or overweight. However, we do not receive any information about the composition of the body mass through the BMI.
This information provides us with the body fat percentage. He indicates what percentage of body mass is made up of fat. The figure doesn’t necessarily say anything about the body fat percentage: Even slim people can have too much body fat. Because fat deposits are not always visible from the outside – in some cases, fat is also stored in internal body cavities.
Structural fat and storage fat
The body fat percentage in itself does not provide information about the ratio of different types of fat in the body. There are, however, crucial differences here. For example, structural fat is important for us, as it protects organs and joints from excessive pressure, among other things.
Storage fat, on the other hand, can be harmful to our health – at least if we have too much of it. It is stored in the subcutaneous tissue – especially on the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. In times of hunger, these fat reserves are the first to be tapped by the body. Through them, humans can survive for up to 40 days without food.
In general, the body fat percentage should not be too high or too low. Too much fat is harmful to health, but too little. Because the body fat percentage is so low that the structural fat reserves have to be attacked, the body can no longer function without interference. This is the case for men with a body fat percentage below six and for women under twelve percent.
Danger to the cardiovascular system
If the body fat percentage is too high, this can have a negative impact on our health. Because too high a body fat percentage is usually accompanied by an increase in blood lipid levels and blood pressure. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis, as well as a stroke or heart attack. The development of diabetes mellitus can also be facilitated by an increased body fat percentage.
However, body fat is not equal to body fat: Because while small poles on the thighs and buttocks only slightly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, too much fat on the abdomen is dangerous. Because here, many vase-damaging substances are produced, which significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reduce excess body fat
In order to reduce the body fat percentage in the long term, lightning diets are the wrong way. It is only by a thorough change in lifestyle habits that a favourable result can be achieved. In addition to a healthy, low-fat diet, a lot of exercise is particularly important.
If not only is your body fat percentage elevated, but you are also overweight, you should switch your diet to absorb fewer calories than you consume. For this, it is best to rely on healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains. If possible, you should refrain from sweet and greasy food.
However, a change in diet alone is not enough to reduce body fat percentage. What’s important is that you also exercise. Endurance sports such as jogging, walking, swimming or cycling are well suited. Ideally do three to four times a week for at least 30 minutes of exercise.
If you are slim and still have an increased body fat percentage, you should also do more exercise. In addition to endurance sports, regular strength training is recommended, through which muscles can be purposefully built up.