Inbody Analysis & Custom Meal Plans
Traditional weight loss programs focus solely on what it says on the scale.
A “normal” weight does not always equate to a healthy body.
Health is truly assessed by what makes up the weight. This body composition is what gives a clearer picture of a person’s wellbeing [R].
This article discusses the importance of body composition, how to improve your body make up, and why an Inbody Scan is the best tool for measuring body composition.
Weight can be assessed in two ways.
The first is by the context of the whole total weight someone weighs or the ratio of a person’s mass and height known as the Body Mass Index (BMI) [R].
The second is by assessing body composition and finding the ratio of fat mass (FM) to fat-free mass (FFM)
The Problem with Regular Scales and BMI Measurements
Body composition is not taken into account in regular weight and BMI measurements [R]. Two people of the same sex and weight can have completely different body compositions.
Weight is defined as the mass of an object [R]. BMI is an index for assessing if an individual is over or underweight. It is found by dividing the body weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. A measure of 25 or more is considered overweight [R].
Weight and BMI have no indication of body composition or the fat to lean mass ratio.
BMI does not take into account the weight of bones or muscles. Someone with a lot of muscle will have a high BMI and considered to be overweight [R].
Similarly, a traditional scale does not give you any information on body fat percentage.
Focus on Body Composition
Body composition is the best indicator of overall health and fitness [R].
What Makes Up Body Composition?
The body is composed of fat mass (FM) and fat free mass (FFM).
Fat mass is anything that consists of adipose or fat tissue [R].
FFM or lean body mass (LBM) LBM is made up of water, protein, and bone.
Dangers of Not Knowing Your Body Composition
Having too much or too little body fat can put your health at risk [R].
It will also increase your energy levels and make you feel good [R].
An imbalance of these components can lead to health risks
Complications from TOO low muscle mass include the following [R]:
- Poor insulin resistance/glycemic control
- Metabolic problems increase
- Hormone dysregulation
- Low strength
- Higher risk of hospitalization/ Longer hospital stays
Having TOO MUCH body fat has been associated with [R]:
- Early mortality
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hypertension Diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
- Back pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Menstrual abnormalities
- Shortness of breath
- Sleep apnea
- Increased LDL (bad) cholesterol & triglycerides
- Decreased HDL (good) cholesterol
- Impaired heart function
- Impaired immune function
Having TOO LITTLE body fat has been associated with [R]:
- Poor insulation
- Minimal energy stores
- Lack of cushioning for organs
- Poor cardiovascular function
- Prone to illness
- Poor recovery from exercise/illness
- Low testosterone
- Weak muscles
- Loss of bone density
Improve Body Composition
Body composition is affected by both genetic and lifestyle factors. While you can’t change your genes, you can improve your body composition with changes in nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, and alcohol consumption.
While quality is key, the quantity of food still has a bearing on the composition of your body.
The amount of calories in food is an important thing to consider when improving body composition [R]. Processed foods such as ice cream, pizza, and chips are high in calories and low in nutrients [R].
Consuming a large number of fruits and vegetables will not only give you more nutrients but will also decrease the number of calories you consume [R].
Eat More Complex Carbohydrates
Simple carbs like white bread, pasta, crackers, and sugary foods can leave you feeling hungry. Swap those foods for more vegetables and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and farro [[R].
Fiber is found in many plant foods including vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains [R
A decrease in visceral fat was seen over a five-year span in those who incorporated fiber into their diet [R].
Protein needs increase when someone has an active lifestyle or if they want to gain muscle and lose fat [R].
The more exercise you do the more your protein needs increase. Getting 0.73 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight can help increase muscle and strength [R].
When combined with resistance training, an addition of 0.64 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight saw better results for increased strength and fat-free mass in overweight adults when compared with 0.36 grams protein in a low-calorie diet [R, R].
Reducing calories along with increasing protein between 0.55 to 1.4 grams per pound may increase muscle mass while maximizing fat loss [R].
In order to maintain lean body mass during resistance training, protein intakes are suggested to be between 1.1 and 1.4 grams per pound of body weight [R].
Cutting calories can often lead to decreased protein intake. To avoid loss of muscle mass it is suggested athletes should consume 1.14 to 1.3 grams per pound of body weight [R].
Supplementing with protein may improve body composition. Lean body mass increased when consuming a combination of 35 grams of a protein supplement in addition to 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day [R].
Consumption of whey protein improved muscle growth when combined with resistance training [R]
The addition of high-quality protein supplements has been found to help increase muscle protein metabolism when taken up to two hours after working out [R].
Like changes in diet, the incorporation of daily exercise can help to burn calories. Various exercise types can burn calories and also increase lean body mass [R].
Aerobic exercise elevates the heart resulting in a more overall loss of weight and fat mass when compared to resistance training [R].
Adults who did resistance training for eight months gained more fat-free mass including lean muscle [R].
Exercise done twice a week had bigger gains in muscle mass over those doing only one day of resistance training [R].
Any aerobic activity is good for the body but sometimes you need to amp up your workout to lose fat and build muscle. Interval training has been shown to blast fat more than continuous aerobic activity [R].
Resistance & Interval Training
Aerobic & Resistance Training
A combination of aerobic and resistance training resulted in a higher increase in fat-free mass when compared with aerobic or resistance training alone [R].
Larger increases in fat-free mass were also shown in adolescents who took part in a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises [R].
Those with bad sleep habits often will have more fat mass when compared with those who get better quality sleep [R}.
The reason for this is unclear. It is unsure if better sleep results in a better body composition or having more lean muscle mass results in better sleep. Those successful with weight loss and decreased body fat tended to have better sleep [R].
Heavy alcohol intake has been linked to greater fat mass in body composition. This is because alcohol contains a lot of calories and sugar [R].
Habitual alcohol consumption also resulted in higher rates of obesity [R].
Changing nutrition, exercise, sleep, and alcohol habits can help to improve body composition but in order to know exactly where you stand with these components, it is important to get your body assessed for accuracy.
How To Assess Body Composition
There are various methods to track body fat. They range in price and some can be often hard to get access to. Read on to learn the pros and cons of each method.
Tracking Body Circumference and Waist measurements
The easiest way to track your body fat is to use a tape measure and measure the various parts of your body: waist chest, hips, and thighs [R]. Keeping track of the measurements will tell you if your body fat is decreasing.
While inexpensive it may not be as accurate as other methods. There can be discrepancies with measurements depending on the skill of the person measuring.
Another disadvantage of this is that a large portion of the fat is subcutaneous fat. This is the fat that lies just underneath the skin’s surface. The amount of deep (visceral) fat will be unknown and can result in an incorrect fat percentage [R].
These metal tools that looks like a wrench will measure fat by pinching skin folds at the waist, hips, and arms.
This pinch test will grab the subcutaneous fat around your arms, hips, and stomach. The method involves estimating the Total Percent Body Fat (PBF) based on subcutaneous fat.
The layer will be measured by thickness numbers on the calipers.
Calipers are inexpensive, easy to use, compact and travel well.
Accuracy depends on the experience of the person doing the pinch test. There could also be errors if someone has a varied body fat distribution.
Measurements can be difficult if the layer fo fat is thicker than 5 or more centimeters. The reproduction of the measurements depend on the skills of the practitioner. Measurement errors range from 3.5 to 5 percent body fat [R].
Underwater weighing calculates the total body fat by the density of the body.
It is based on Archimedes’ principle that when an object is submerged in water, the difference between the mass of the object in the air and its mass in water is the object’s volume.
Underwater weighing is regarded as the Gold Standard for body composition measurement. It is one of the only body composition technologies that have been compared directly to cadaver analysis [R].
This procedure is accurate and quick. It can be difficult or impossible for people to be fully submerged underwater. No one can hold their breath for that long.
Only has been seen tested at universities, medical settings, and certain fitness facilities so access is limited and may not be available to all of the public
Air Displacement Plethysmography
Air Displacement Plethysmography measures the volume of a human body by measuring the volume of air according to the changes in pressure in a chamber.
Two calculations are done to get to body composition. First, the weight and volume of the person are used to calculate body density. Then Percent Body Fat and the fat-free ratio are calculated.
The procedure is quick taking only about 3 to 5 minutes. The subject is able to breathe normally in the chamber.
A bathing suit or skin-tight clothing must be worn in the chamber to get an accurate measure.
It is not readily available and can be quite expensive. It is only available at universities, medical settings or certain fitness facilities.
Has an error rate of 2 to 4 percent body fat [R].
Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans
Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans is an imaging method measuring body weight in terms of bone mineral content (BMC), lean, and fat based on the decrement of X-ray on the images obtained by exposing to two different X-rays.
Photons of the X-ray beams of different energy levels scan the patient.
The procedure takes about 5 to 30 minutes and has a high accuracy similar to underwater weighing.
It measures bone density, fat, and muscle for different body parts.
The technology in this scan is advanced not only differentiates between lean and fat mass but can decipher the body composition in body regions other devices may not such as the arms, legs, and torso [R].
Getting an appointment can be time-consuming. Scans are only done at a hospital or clinic that has a DEXA device. It can be quite expensive and generally not available to the public. They also deliver some radiation which can be harmful.
Accuracy is more consistent than other methods with a 2.5 to 3 percent body fat error rate [R].
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is an imaging technique where the body water may be mapped but not measured.
The body is scanned in slices to predict the whole-body value. MRI considered the most accurate tool to measure body composition.
It can measure fat and skeletal muscle. Fat can be further subdivided into visceral and subcutaneous distinctions.
Metal cannot be placed in the machine. So those with any metal surgical implants or joints cannot use this device.
It does not emit radiation and is a preferable option for the elderly and children.
It can be very timely with the whole procedure and analysis taking about 3 and a half hours [R].
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a method of measuring body composition of fat and muscle mass through the use of an electric current [R].
A low-level electrical current runs through the body. The voltage is measured by the amount of water present in the body [R].
BIA devices measure how the signal as it moves different types of body tissue. Muscle has a higher conductivity while fat has a slower signal [R].
This non-invasive method consists of placing electrodes are placed on a person’s hands, feet, or both [R].
BIA provides estimates of body water from which body fat is calculated using selected equations [R].
BIA is a great device to get a quick accurate composition reading for the whole body including the torso which may be high in visceral fat [R].
BIA devices range in cost, size, and accuracy.
Typically in regular handheld BIA units, there can be an 8 to 10 percent body fat error [R].
Modern medical-grade BIA devices are able to measure the entire body and can be extremely accurate. Their measurements are closely aligned with the “Gold Standard” procedures without all the hassle they come with and can perform analysis the whole body.
InBody BIA scan is one such BIA device.
Go beyond the traditional scale with this revolutionary technology that gives an accurate account of body composition.
What is Assessed in the InBody Scan Analysis?
Body fat percentage comes from the analysis of the body composition.
This analysis will give you a breakdown of the components in your body and a snapshot of your health.
It will assess fat and fat-free mass components (water, protein, and mineral).
Fat Mass (FM)
Body fat is necessary to live. It is needed to insulate organs, store energy, regulate body temperature, and metabolize fat-soluble vitamins. Having too much or too little can be unhealthy [R].
Body Fat Mass
This is all of the body fat tested. It includes both the surface level (subcutaneous) and internal (visceral) fat.
The Muscle-Fat Analysis measures three components: total body weight, skeletal muscle mass (SMM), and body fat mass (BFM).
SMM is the total weight of the body’s skeletal muscle. You can increase SMM with muscle gain. Body fat mass is how much body fat is present as a combination of surface and internal fat.
The Muscle-Fat Analysis also tells if there is a healthy balance of SMM and BFM with respect to the total weight.
Fat-Free Mass (FFM)
Fat-Free Mass is all the other components of your body that are not fat. This includes internal organs, skeletal muscle mass, and water. It is also known as Lean Body Mass (LBM)
Increases in LBM mean increases in muscle.
Those with abnormal water body ratios may have increased LBM due to swelling from certain health conditions [R].
The body is more than 50 percent water. Fat, muscle, blood, and other bodily fluids all contain water. There are two types of water that are measured. Together they make up total body water (TBW).
Intracellular Water (ICW)
Intracellular Water (ICW) is the water found within the body’s cells. ICW helps transport organelles inside the cell.
Extracellular Water (ECW) is water outside the cells. An increase in ECW could be the presence of internal swelling and or inflammation. ECW helps control the movement of electrolytes, allows oxygen delivery to the cells, and clears waste from metabolic processes.
Dry Lean Mass (DLM)
Dry Lean Mass (DLM) is the weight of the protein and mineral content in the body. An increase in DLM increase does not mean a gain in muscle.
This tells how much protein is found in the body’s muscles
Minerals are found in the bloodstream and inside bone tissue
Why Use Inbody Scan
InBody’s medical-grade body composition analyzers rely on four pillars of technology to provide clients with accurate and precise direct segmental measurement multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (DSM-MFBIA) results that have been extensively validated to gold-standard methods.
Total body water (TBA) is stored throughout the body and made up of 2 compartments.
Intracellular water (ICW) is all the water inside the cells of the muscle, bones, organs, etc. This is the majority of the total body water. Extracellular water (ECW) is water in the blood and outside of the cellular area.
BIA devices would use a single 50 kHz frequency to calculate TBW but this is not strong enough to pass through the body's cells resulting in an inaccurate measure of ICW.
So often ICW was estimated based on the ECW. The estimated ECW was used to determine TBW, lean body mass, and fat mass.
Intracellular water was based on the average ratio in healthy adults of ICW to ECW which was 3:2. Body compositions vary greatly in unhealthy adults (obese, chronic disease, elderly) and have a higher ratio of ECW. So relying on the 3:2 ICW to ECW ratio can cause large errors.
Inbody does not rely on this method and instead uses multiple frequencies from 1 kHz to 1 MHz to provide precise body water analysis.
Inbody quantifies how different electrical frequencies react with different cells.
Low frequencies are better for measuring ECW and high frequencies can pass through all membranes to measure ICW getting the TBW.
The measure of TBW and analyzation of ICW verse ECW gives a more individualized body composition.
8-Point Tactile Electrode System
The design of the hand electrode plays a role in the accuracy of the BIA. Products lacking a thumb electrode will result in measurements that start in the palm. Palm measurements have inconsistent measurement starting points and reducing the reliability of results.
InBody uses strategically placed electrodes to ensure that measurements are accurate and reproducible. Their grips are similar to the human hand which will initiate current flow at the thumb electrode instead of the palm.
This BIA also featured separate hand and foot electrodes to keep the point of measure the same even if the user moves the position of their hands and feet.
Direct Segmental Measurements
Handheld devices only take into account your arms and part of the torso. The remainder of the body is estimated which can result in errors in total body water changing the composition of fat and lean mass.
Other BIA devices view the body as one cylinder not accounting for the torso. It assumes the distribution of lean body mass and fat are the same across the whole body.
The torso accounts for several pounds of body mass. Not isolating this body part will lead to substantial errors.
The shape and length of the arms, legs, and torso differ so the body should be counted as five separate parts.
InBody provides independent measurements for each of the body’s 5 cylinders (left arm, right arm, torso, left leg, and right leg) to provide you with accurate and detailed results.
No Empirical Estimations
There can be a lack of certain measurements and the inability to differentiate between body water compartments. To compensate for this some BIA devices will use empirical equations to calculate a user's body composition. Empirical data includes age, gender, and ethnicity.
If the user has a typical body shape for their age and gender this data can be an accurate estimate. For example, we know that muscle mass will decrease with age and that males often have more muscle mass than females.
The problem with using this data is that results are pre-determined despite the actual body composition.
Inbody does not rely on these equations. Instead, they actually measure each part of five body parts and the distribution of body water.
The results from this measure are not affected by age, gender, ethnicity, athleticism, or body shape.
Accuracy of InBody
Because of its technology, InBody has been found to be one of the most accurate BIA devices on the market. In fact, it has been found to have a high correlation of 0.99 to DEXA for lean body mass in a population of normal-weight adults. [R].