Being skinny may seem like the picture of health.
But does just being skinny really mean that a person is healthy?
The answer is:
In fact, some people who appear thin may still have a high body fat percentage.
This is what we call being “skinny fat”.
When a person is skinny fat, the greatest danger is visceral fat.
Although everyone needs some fat to cushion internal organs and to provide a reservoir of stored energy, a sedentary lifestyle combined with overeating and the aging process itself are the main contributing factors for visceral fat accumulation.
This type of body fat builds up around internal organs and secretes dangerous inflammatory toxins.
Too much visceral fat also raises the risk of chronic diseases (1).
Body composition is the ratio of fat to lean body mass and is commonly used to indicate disease risk and overall health status.
A commonly used measure of a person’s body composition is Body Mass Index or BMI.
This method is used because it’s so simple: based on height and weight to determine if a person is a “normal weight”, “under weight,” or “obese”.
However, this method is often inaccurate—tagging some people as having a normal weight when really they are skinny fat.
Asians, for example, are most at risk of being misidentified as “normal weight” when they’re really skinny fat (2).
A more accurate method for measuring body composition is body fat percentage.
While x-ray scans are the gold standard for measuring body fat percentage, it’s a costly and time-consuming procedure.
Instead, many people turn to skin fold calipers or bioelectric impedance analysis.
Gyms and doctor’s offices usually have these tools accessible and trained professionals can conduct the measurements for you.
How To Avoid Being Skinny Fat
Don’t let ‘skinny fat’ happen to you—regular exercise with strength training is one way to fight back.
So is eating a healthy diet with the right type of protein, in the right amounts, at the right times of the day.
I’ve always been on the thin side so finding Isagenix protein shakes has helped me avoid ‘skinny fat’ and it’s helped 1000’s of others lose fat when they needed to.
Learn more about Isagenix protein shakes here
- Britton KA, Massaro JM, Murabito JM, Kreger BE, Hoffmann U, Fox CS. Body fat distribution, incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. J Am Coll Cardiol 2013;62:921-5.
- Savory LA, kerr CJ, Whiting P, Finer N, McEneny J, Ashton T. Selenium supplementation and exercise: effect on oxidative stress in overweight adults. Obesity 2011 May 19. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.83