The modern fitness industry made body fat a villain to normal people. It is in trend to be in low body fat percentage. And anyone above 15% body fat seems overweight to them. They brainwashed people and made the culture in a way that people started forgetting about the importance of fat in our bodies. People’s target is to get a beach body by losing fat from the body without caring about what consequences it can bring. Because of all these bad influences along with men, women also get in the race to be a lower body fat percentage to make their bodies ready for the summer. They are trying crash diets, starving themselves, and sometimes spending hours in the gym just to lose fat from the body. Now, as women are getting in lower body fat, is it healthy for them to be in less than 10% body fat?
Here in this blog, I am going to answer the question and give my honest opinion. Also, share with you what one can face if she has low body fat. But before that let’s talk about the role of fat in our body.
Why do we need body fat?
Before we talk about body fat one thing to clear – Body fat is important for our body, and fats are not bad. Body fat is like a cushion to all our internal organs. It is not only important for brain functioning but also provides heat to the body in cold weather. The most important need for fat in our body is energy. When you are not eating or starving yourself, the body uses stored fat as energy to function properly. Here are a few important needs of fat in the body.
- Body fat can protect against all age-related issues to the skin.
- Fat helps in maintaining the right temperature in the body.
- Fat tissues are important for the proper functioning of the immune system.
- Body fat helps internal organs by stabling them.
- Body fats are the primary source of energy for the body.
Is it healthy to be in less than 10% body fat as a woman?
The straight answer is No! it is not. Being that much low body fat (less than 10% body fat) is extremely unhealthy for a women’s body. Anywhere below 10% percent body fat is as bad as being overweight (both for men and women). It is also become pretty tough to maintain that body fat throughout the year. As a woman, one can also face an absence of a period with that much low body fat.
Here are a few negative effects of being in less than 10% body fat.
Things they can encounter being in less than 10% body fat
Always feeling hungry
To be in lower body fat requires so much effort. The calories and exercise need to be on point or else one can end up gaining fat. Now because of limited calorie consumption, it is obvious to feel hungry all the time.
Again small calorie intake and low body fat mean no energy stored in the body. This is why it is common to feel low/no energy throughout the day. Along with that, it can also have an impact on the brain (mental health).
Muscle fatigue and slow recovery
Muscle fatigue and recovery become a problem with low body fat. Most of the time you will not be able to give your 100% in the gym. But even if you be able to have a good workout your muscle recovery can be delayed (because of low glycogen level store).
Increase in heart problems
Having a low-fat percentage in the body can increase the heart problem in people. For instance, according to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, bodybuilders who cut their body fat percentage extremely low for the competition saw a drop in heart rate of 27 beats per minute. That in recent times, it is common for bodybuilders to die because of cardiovascular failure during their competition season.
Increase in sickness
Lower body fat percentage can cause hamper in our immune system which leads to falling sick very often than usual.
Suffer from brain fog
The low energy level and low fatty acid level in the brain due to lower body fat percentage can lead to suffering from brain fog.
Except for these few reasons, feeling cold more often is also a symptom of lower fat tissue in the body. Also, because of less body fat, it is common to seem older and face wrinkles or any age-related skin problems. People also face regular mood shifts and less nutrient intake because of limited calorie consumption. Social isolation can also be caused by this, as one has to be so strict in terms of food choices (so almost no outing with loved ones).
What is the healthy body fat percentage for a woman?
According to the American Journal of Clinical Research, the ideal body fat for both men and women depends on their age. So women between the age of 20-39, the ideal body fat percentage would be somewhere around 21 to 30%. Where women between the age of 40-59, the optimal body fat percentage lies around 23 to 33%.
Tips for maintaining the healthy body fat
Here are a few tips that can help both women and men to be in a healthy weight/body fat category.
- Eat more water. Having more water helps trick the brain by signaling a full stomach.
- Consume both protein and fiber-rich foods. These nutrients help a person stay full for a longer period.
- Use cardio along with resistance training as a tool in maintaining or losing fat from the body. Burning off calories will allow you to have more food which eventually helps in sticking to the process.
- Try intermittent fasting. Fasting gives a small eating window which can help in staying within the calorie budget.
- Avoid junk or sugary foods. They increase your temptation to have more food.
- Replace simple carbs with complex carbs.
- Give the body enough sleep as it is important to lose weight and give the body some much-needed time to recover.
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