BMI is the body mass index used to gauge your weight according to your height. Low BMI is typically associated with lower weight and high activity levels. But recent research findings suggest that some individuals can maintain a low BMI even though they eat less and are less active. Why? Because they have a naturally fast metabolism and tend to eat less.
How did these findings counter earlier thinking about BMI?
This study observed 173 participants with normal BMI levels. Approximately 150 were considered “healthy but underweight,” with a BMI of 18.5. They screened them to see if they had any eating disorders, were ill, had HIV, or were on medication that caused them to lose weight.
For two weeks, scientists measured their food consumption and physical activities. When they compared the underweight group with the other group, scientists found that the healthy underweight people ate at least 12% less food and were also 23% less active. Usually, a high BMI is how doctors measure obesity.
Scientists expected these underweight people to be very active and consume a lot of food. But, as it turned out, these individuals ate less and did less, yet still had a high resting metabolic rate and elevated thyroid hormones.
What is BMI?
Body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Conventional wisdom says the higher your BMI, the more at risk you are for heart disease, type two diabetes, breathing problems, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Over the years, BMI has been a good tool for measuring obesity and overweight. BMI does have limitations. BMI mistakenly assumes you have a higher body fat if you have a muscular build or are an athlete. For older people who have lost muscle, the BMI overestimates body fat. The best way to get an accurate BMI is to use a BMI calculator.
Is BMI a good measure of health?
Some researchers feel that using BMI to measure overall health is useless today. It was popular in the 1800s and utilized with little change since then. But many doctors think it’s an inaccurate measure of a person’s health. That’s because someone’s body mass index doesn’t consider the weight’s location on the body. For instance, a female may carry weight mainly in her chest or thighs, which doesn’t put her at risk for specific health problems like heart disease. Proponents of a new system for measuring overall health suggest using body shape along with your BMI and something else like blood work or blood pressure measurements to gauge fitness. So BMI may be suitable as a partial measure of health combined with other factors.
What is metabolism?
Your metabolism is the process in your body that breaks down and creates energy for you to live. Metabolism is how quickly your body expends energy and burns calories.
- Every activity: Your metabolism creates energy to do your everyday life activities.
- Exercise: Exercise burns more calories.
- Bodily functions: At rest, your body still uses up energy to function. It’s called the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is, in part, determined. by your genes.
Some people inherently have a faster metabolism. They can eat more than others yet not gain weight. Your metabolism depends on your age, gender, activity, and genetics. You can increase your metabolism for a short time with exercise, proteins, green teas, and spicy foods. Eating breakfast and not skipping your meals will also help improve your metabolism. Getting enough sleep and drinking water is also essential. Your eating habits also significantly contribute to your weight gain or loss.
Is it better to have a faster metabolism?
If you have a faster metabolism means your body burns more calories when you’re resting than someone with a lower metabolic rate. However, the quicker your metabolism, the more calories your body needs. A fast metabolism isn’t good or bad for your health. Maintaining healthy eating habits is crucial, so you get enough calories to nourish and sustain your body. Good eating habits help increase your metabolism.
Does being underweight due to a fast metabolism have health risks?
According to other studies, being underweight has as many health risks as being overweight. Underweight individuals may struggle with poor eating habits, leading to not getting enough calories. As a result, you may lack vitamins and minerals. If your BMI is less than 18.5, you don’t weigh enough. Weighing too little may cause:
- Osteoporosis: Sometimes called brittle bone disease, osteoporosis makes you prone to bone fractures, skin, teeth, and hair problems.
- Getting sick a lot: You’ll lack sufficient calories if you make unwise food choices. Poor nutrition takes away your ability to fend off infection and illnesses. As a result, you’ll be more likely to catch a cold or virus.
- Fatigue: Another symptom of being underweight is constant tiredness. If you don’t get enough calories makes it difficult to keep up your energy.
- Anemia: If you’re underweight, you’re prone to anemia. This disease occurs if your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. Low red blood cells lead to headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. You may also have absent or irregular menstrual periods and even infertility.
- Stunted growth: Lacking the necessary calories and nutrients leads to poor development and stunted growth.
- Risk of mortality: Being underweight increases your risk of lack of healing if you have an accident or trauma compared to someone with a higher BMI.
If you’re lean, there’s a good chance you’re busy all the time during the day. You might fidget and always be in motion more than someone who is overweight. If you can’t seem to sit still, you may have learned this tendency or are just genetically wired to move a lot. Overweight people tend to be sedentary, making it more difficult to lose body fat.
What are alternatives to BMI?
Here are some other tried-and-true methods to measure your BMI. These tests are more popular now, in light of this new information on metabolism.
Waist circumference measurement
This old-fashioned alternative to BMI is one of the best ways to measure your abdominal fat. Carrying extra weight around your stomach puts you at risk for heart disease and other medical problems such as