Fat is NOT bad for you. Fat is a vital part of our body composition. Fatty tissue is in our brains, under our skin (known as subcutaneous fat that acts like a cushion for shock absorption,) and is lined around your kidneys and liver. Fats are part of cell membranes and they store energy for later consumption. The nervous system also needs fat as fat is the conduit used to transmit signals throughout the body. So no matter what we do, we need to have fat in our bodies in order to survive. And believing these myths about body fat isn’t helping:
1. Fatty foods increases body fat: Fat found in food and body fat are completely separate from each other. After we hit puberty, our bodies have accumulated all of the fat cells it will ever have. Should our bodies increase in size, it’s because our fat cells grow in size not quantity. In fact, eating foods high in the healthy unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat will actually help you LOSE weight!
2. Fat weighs less than muscle: A pound is a pound. A pound of bricks weigh just as much as a pound of rubber bands, and the same applies to muscle and fat. The difference between fat and muscle is that fat is higher in volume, which is why muscular people look leaner.
3. Muscle can turn into fat if I don’t work out: It’s physically impossible for a muscle to turn into fat, as they are two separate bodily components. Now if you don’t engage your muscles with physical activity, then that muscle mass can shrink in size. But it won’t be replaced with fat.
4. You can target where you want to lose fat: spot reduction is a myth concocted by the many infomercials and snake oil products promising to help you “lose that pesky fat in that unseemly part of your body.” No matter what exercise you do, you are targeting multiple muscle groups. There’s no way to isolate on specific area. So if you have a pesky lower belly, all of the crunches in the world won’t make it go away.
5. Low body fat percentages are good: This is a potentially dangerous mindset. As we mentioned earlier, our bodies NEED to have a certain amount of fat in order to function properly. Body fat percentages are also different based on your height, gender, and age. A pregnant woman in her 30s will not have similar body fat as a man in his 20s.
There’s no magic food, product, or exercise that will melt your body fat. A structured diet with healthy foods and no junk food along with a regular exercise regimen will get you the body you want.