Are Body Fat Scales Really Accurate?

Are Body Fat Scales Really Accurate?

Many people have run into the situation where they have adopted a healthy diet and have committed themselves to a regular exercise program, without seeing the desired weight-loss results. There are a number of reasons why this might happen, one being that you’ve developed more muscle and that actually weighs more than fat.

So, instead of losing weight, all your good intentions may cause you to put on some pounds. This points out the importance of measuring your body fat while you’re tracking your weight gain or loss. By using a body fat scale, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your program is actually being successful at helping you lose fat.

While body fat scales are not entirely foolproof, they are one of the best indicators of total body fat content. In between visits to your doctor, using a body fat scale can help you track the success or failure of your adopted weight loss program.

These scales are extremely easy to use, and work just like conventional scales do. All you have to do is step on the scale, and you’ll get a reading on your actual weight, as well as the percentage of body fat.

How body fat scales work

When you step on to a body fat scale, there are sensors beneath your feet that send a small electrical current up through one leg and across your pelvis. This current is used to measure the exact amount of resistance supplied by your body fat.

Then, the current runs down through your other leg, and measures the same amount of resistance encountered by body fat on this journey. The result is a fairly accurate reading of your body fat percentage.

Some body fat scales are more capable than others and can actually be integrated with your smartphone or smartwatch. That will make it extremely convenient for you to easily check and store your body fat percentage over a period of weeks or months.

Since higher resistance equates to more body fat, a higher reading would mean that you have more body fat. Fat has less water content than muscle does, and that’s why it offers greater resistance to electrical current.

Accuracy of body fat scales

While results obtained from a body fat scale can be reasonably accurate, there are several factors that can skew the results.

Here are some of the known variables that can have an impact on the accuracy of your body fat scale:

  • Endurance and resistance training – if you’ve adopted a program that includes frequent training for endurance and resistance, it can cause inaccuracy to creep into your body fat readings. The electrical current used in measuring your body fat content becomes somewhat disrupted by the body’s reaction to the training regimen.


  • Height and stature – people who are shorter or taller than usual may have skewed readings from a body fat scale, again, because the electrical current is affected by the height or stature of the individual.


  • The person’s age – adult users of body fat scales are not typically impacted much by variations in the scale readings, but body fat scales are not intended for use by children. Results can become quite unpredictable for children, due to continuing growth factors and processes.


  • Pregnancy – it is not recommended that pregnant mothers use body fat scales, because your body is going through so many changes all at the same time that it disrupts the readings.


  • Gender – women will typically store more body fat than men, so it’s possible that the readings on your body fat scale will be somewhat inaccurate if you’re female.


  • Where body fat is stored – while body fat is typically stored in the same places on everyone’s body, the actual place where most of your fat is stored can impact the reading on a body fat scale. For instance, if very little fat is stored in the area treated by the electrical current, you could get an artificially low reading, while still having a substantial storage of fat in your body.


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