Mannatech®, a global health and wellness company committed to transforming lives to make a better world, is calling on the weight loss industry to focus on body composition as a more accurate element in approximating overall health and abandon the use of the obsolete body mass index (BMI) or scale weight as leading health indicators.
Mannatech’s embrace of body composition is due to overwhelming evidence that BMI and scale weight are no longer as credible in determining healthy weight management and overall health. Focusing on developing lean muscle mass and fat-loss was the vision behind Mannatech’s TruHealth™ Fat-Loss System, but moreover, long-term body transformation, good health and wellness habits are at the core of Mannatech’s philosophy.
“We saw that there was this pervasive focus on BMI and scale weight that was only serving to put people on a weight gain and loss cycle,” said Alfredo “Al” Bala, Mannatech’s President and CEO. “We saw a lot of fad and crash diets that ignored health and wellness. So our focus is to make sure that those who participate in our TruHealth program are on a path to develop healthy habits that create a long-term prospect of wellness. That is why body composition is so important. Building lean muscle and cutting fat won’t always translate to the scale, but it may contribute to better health and inches lost.”*
Not everyone is aware of the value of body composition, but many scientists and physicians have begun using this as a more accurate measure of health over BMI and scale weight.
1. Fat is the enemy, not weight
Excess fat is bad, and that is pretty obvious, but what this means is that those considered “overweight” on the scale need to focus on the fat they are carrying not their scale weight or BMI. You can be at the right weight, according to BMI, but be carrying too little muscle and too much fat in the wrong places on your body.
According to a team of Canadian researchers, it is the flab, not the pounds, that is the enemy. The Canadian study of more than 50,000 people, mostly women over age 40, found that high levels of body fat – more than 35 percent fat for men and 38 percent fat for women adversely effected overall health.
2. Lean muscle is good
Again, a pretty obvious statement, but for those who are trying to lose weight and measure their success against the BMI or scale weight may not gain the benefit of adding muscle, which is considerably heavier, 20 percent heavier, than fat.
The American Council on Exercise reports that after the age of 20, people generally lose around a half pound of muscle per year. Less muscle can result in an increase in fat and the potential for a reduction in overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that body composition – building muscle, helps you maintain good health and well-being, supports healthy joints, and helps to support and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
According to the Mayo Clinic, body composition that includes lean muscle mass can increase your metabolism to help you burn calories. A higher percentage of muscle mass can help you burn as much as 15 percent more calories per day. Weight loss programs and dieting tends to slow down a person’s metabolism, but replacing fat with lean muscle will help support weight maintenance or loss.
“This is where a fat-loss program is much more valuable than a typical weight loss program,” said Dr. Steve Nugent, Mannatech’s Senior Global Wellness Director and Chairman of the Mannatech Global Scientific Advisory Board. “If you don’t build lean muscle with a high protein regime and exercise, your weight will quickly rebound. This is because as you diet, your body’s metabolism slows, reducing the amount of calories you burn at rest. Adding lean muscle will help aid your efforts to burn calories at rest and maintain your metabolism, making a possible effect of a fat-loss program longer lasting than your typical diet plan.”
4. Higher Energy Levels
Excess body fat, especially around your body’s midsection, will likely contribute to increased fatigue and difficulty in performing some physical exertions such as standing or walking for long periods or climbing stairs. More muscle mass can improve how much endurance your body has to daily activities and will help your joints to carry your body mass.
5. Look good
Body composition may not show up on the scale, because as you add muscle, you will add weight. But because muscle takes up less space and looks tighter than fat tissue, added muscle mass will give you a toned and lean look. Fat is also bulkier and takes up more space than muscle, so dropping fat in favor of muscle will result in lost inches around your entire body. This will help your clothes to have a better fit, or if you are slim or skinny adding muscle will increase your strength while giving you a more healthy and stronger appearance.
“There is no better feeling than putting on a pair of pants that you couldn’t fit into before,” said Bala. “It is a joy that is hard to find a comparison to. But we want to make sure that we keep that feeling of happiness, and you can’t do that if you have a yo-yo diet plan that only helps you lose weight for only a few weeks or months. That is why we believe body composition is so important. Don’t go into a program to improve your health depending just on scale weight. Dump the scale and work on a diet and exercise program that builds muscle and loses fat. Also, look for a diet supplement program that includes high protein and natural ingredients to help you make it on your journey to a more healthy life.”