Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why do we measure fat loss success by inches lost?

Many people ask us, "Why do you measure inches lost as a metric of success with Bios Life Slim?" It's a great question. We have been ingrained that body weight is a key metric for health and appearance. This is calculateg taking body weight, in kilograms, and dividing it by height, in meters squared yielding a value known as body mass index (BMI). There are very good studies correlating lower BMI's with improved health. However, one of the key criticisms of the use of BMI is that it doesn't distinguish how weight is distributed. For example, a person in good health with lots of muscle mass will likely be penalized with a high BMI (this is usually the case for many athletes) even though there is very little health risk.

Recently, there were two articles which demonstrated the use of an alternative method for assessing body weight distribution as it relates to health risks and that is waist circumference. One of the reasons for using waist circumference is that it directly measures increased fat mass around your organs, fat known as visceral fat. Visceral fat is more metabolically active and secretes more hormones and inflammatory signals known as cytokines than non-visceral fat. Therefore - it's important to have a measure that accounts for the distribution of fat in the body.
Now, in one study - investigators from the American Cancer Society examined the relationship between increased waist circumferences (WC) and your risk for early death. They found that very high WC's (defined as > 47 inches (120cm) for men or >35 inches (90 cm) women) doubled your risk of death. They concluded that WC has a positive correlation with mortality.

In the second study, a group from Germany, wanted to see if there were differences between BMI and WC in terms of risks for developing type 2 diabetes. Through the results of their study - they determined that neither measurement by themselves is an appropriate measure for assaying the risk of diabetes. In other words - in order to accurately assess the risk for type 2 diabetes both parameters needed to be measured. Other results from this study is that individuals with a BMI >25 and large waist circumferences are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Interestingly - individuals with normal weight but large WC have the same risk as pre-obese folks with small WC's. The important point to take home is that WC matters! Start using waist circumference a measure for how you are doing in changing your body. Set your goals to be >40 inches for men and >35 inches for women. Track your Slim progress and see how Slim helps you get healthy by dropping inches off your waist.

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