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How To Reduce Body Fat

When it comes to body fat, there is a tonne of information available to consider. Because of this, it can be challenging to determine which tactics are best for those trying to reduce their body fat percentage and/or lose weight—especially since the solution is frequently more complex than just food and exercise, even though both are important components. Actually, studies reveal that different people have different success rates in reaching their goal body fat percentages, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Therefore, what are some ways to prevent and reduce body fat? For professional guidance on reducing your body fat percentage in a sustained and healthful manner, continue reading.

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Why Does Body Fat Matter?

The human body needs a healthy amount of body fat to function properly. Although having too much body fat has been associated with a higher risk of cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, having too little body fat can also be harmful.

David Friedman, a North Carolina-based naturopathic physician, clinical nutritionist, and board-certified alternative medical practitioner, claims that “fat exists in virtually every cell in the body—in fact, the brain is 60% fat.” “In addition, the body uses fat for energy just like it does with protein and carbs.” In addition, hormones, body temperature, immunological response, reproduction, insulin signaling, and nutrition absorption are all influenced by fat. Furthermore, for the best absorption, body fat is necessary for the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Men's and women's appropriate percentages of body fat

Michael S. Fenster, M.D., a cardiologist and adjunct professor of culinary medicine at the Kansas Health Science Center, states that “the exact body fat percentages for men and women in terms of optimum health remain unknown (though we have general guidelines),” despite many decades of research and general guiding principles.

Having said that, conventional criteria for men’s body fat indicate that between 2% and 5% of body fat is needed, between 2% and 24% of body fat is deemed healthy, and over 25% of body fat is classified as obese. Women should aim for a body fat percentage of between 10% and 13%; between 10% and 31% is deemed healthy, while over 32% is categorized as obese. Stated differently, there exists a considerable spectrum of acceptability contingent upon an individual’s gender and body shape.

Who Is Not Supposed to Try Losing Weight?

Unless specifically instructed otherwise by their physician, anyone who are immunocompromised, pregnant, nursing, malnourished, or dealing with a cancer diagnosis should not attempt to reduce their body fat. “It’s generally recommended in these cases that a qualified medical professional be involved in the initial phases of undertaking—or deferring—a weight loss program,” states Dr. Fenster.

Seniors should use caution as well. According to Isaac Alexis, M.D., inventor of Slim Samurai Weight Loss Therapeutics, “there is a specialized form of obesity in the elderly called sarcopenic obesity, where you have the simultaneous existence of decreased lean muscle mass with increased fat mass.” “You have to be extremely cautious when managing weight loss in elders because they require all muscle mass to remain functionally independent, and rapid weight loss can increase morbidity and mortality.” Because of this risk, weight-bearing activity must be incorporated into purposeful weight loss in order to maintain muscle mass.

When It's OK to Try Losing Weight

Starting a body fat reduction program could be a good step toward better health if you don’t fit into any of the above-mentioned prohibited groups and your body fat percentage is higher than the recommended range—especially if you also have excessive triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Additionally, keep in mind that slower weight loss methods lead to a larger decrease in body fat percentage and fat mass than quick weight loss plans, advises Dr. Alexis. It’s generally safe to reduce total body fat by 0.5% per week or 2% per month. Depending on your initial weight, 1-2 pounds each week is a simpler way to measure it at home.

Furthermore, losing fat is not the same as losing weight overall. Body fat, lean muscle mass, organ weight, blood volume, and bone mass are all combined to give you the number you see on the scale. In actuality, you can gain more lean muscle and decrease fat without losing any weight. “Fear not—you are on the right path if you see your waistline shrinking but your overall body weight remains unchanged,” advises Dr. Fenster.

6 Research-Proven Strategies for Safe and Long-Term Body Fat Reduction

Fat loss that is both safe and effective takes time to achieve. According to Friedman, “people who lose weight quickly by starving themselves, joining the newest diet, or overdoing it in the gym usually gain back all—or more—of the pounds they lost.” “Weight loss results will be temporary unless you focus on the bigger picture,” pardon the pun.

1. Consume More Healthy Fats

Eat more healthful “good” fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, and restrict detrimental “bad” fats, such as trans fats, rather than following a low-fat diet.

“Since it slows down digestion and increases feelings of fullness after meals, eating fat actually aids in weight loss,” claims Friedman. Eat foods such as fish, avocados, olives and olive oil, eggs, nuts and nut butter, seeds, and dark chocolate to get heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In the meanwhile, stay away from trans fats, which are present in processed snack foods, vegetable shortening, margarine, baked products, and fried foods.

2. Give Up Highly Processed Items and Refined Sugars
Ultra-processed foods (UPPs) make up over 70% of the average American diet starting at age 5 according to a recent study. This is bad news for body fat. According to Dr. Fenster, “breads and baked goods, along with condiments, are the top sources of unwanted oils and fats in the modern Western diet,” as opposed to meat and poultry. “UPPs are highly appetizing and addictive due to their high fat content, which is often combined with added sugars and salt in an astonishing variety and quantity.” Additionally, highly processed, low-nutrient, pre-packaged foods like cookies, doughnuts, chips, and margarines are frequently overindulged in by people.

The average American consumes 152 pounds of refined sugar annually, which can significantly alter blood sugar regulation and raise insulin levels, both of which impact the storage of fat. According to Dr. Fenster, “refined sugars, a mainstay of ultra-processed products, are empty calories.” “The body uses its fat reserves when calorie intake is reduced, which lowers the percentage of body fat.”

3. Reconsider Your Drinking
According to Dr. Alexis, high-calorie drinks, alcohol, and other highly sweetened liquids can make up as much as 30% of a person’s daily caloric consumption. These beverages also frequently include high-fructose corn syrup, which has been connected to fatty liver disease and other illnesses in humans.

Rather, increase your water intake. According to Friedman, “more than half of American adults don’t drink enough water because they are too busy, forget, or don’t track it.” “Burning fat from food and drink as well as stored fat requires drinking water.” Indeed, a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition discovered that drinking more water enhanced lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat, and decreased the formation of new fat.

What volume of water is required? According to Friedman, “the general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.” In other words, aim to drink 75 ounces of water a day if you weigh 150 pounds.

4. Increase Protein
Rich protein diets can aid in weight loss by encouraging satiation—the sensation of fullness—maintaining muscle mass while reducing body fat, and boosting diet-induced thermogenesis—the process of burning calories during digestion.

Consuming protein also aids in lowering ghrelin production, which may help you crave fewer carbohydrates and sweets. According to one study, cutting cravings by half and up to 25% of daily calories from protein could help people lower their late-night snack desires in half. Increasing the amount of protein in your diet may also help your body burn more calories throughout the day by increasing metabolism. 

Friedman suggests consuming 15% to 25% of your daily calories from high-quality protein sources to aid in weight loss, contingent upon your age, gender, and degree of physical activity.

5. Look for More Fiber
Compared to sugars, proteins, and carbs, fiber makes you feel fuller and takes longer to digest. According to research, dieters who followed a diet consisting solely of 30 grams of fiber per day experienced a notable reduction in weight. Friedman states, “In addition to helping people lose weight, fiber is heart-healthy, beneficial for gut health, and can lower risk of diabetes and certain cancers.” She suggests foods such as oats, legumes, fruits, beans, and wheat bran.

Additionally, research suggests that fiber is an excellent way to lose stubborn belly fat. This is significant since having too much belly fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among other health problems. 

6. Add Vinegar and Ferments as Supplements
According to Dr. Fenster, “a healthy gut microbiome is a critical link in healthfully losing body fat and keeping it off.” Consuming foods that are naturally fermented, such as yogurt, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir, provides the gut with beneficial bacteria and the substrates they require to flourish.

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