What is it?
Body composition is the set of components that form body mass. The evaluation of the composition of our body is performed to quantify the main components of the human organism: water, bones, muscles and body fat.
What can modify body composition?
The main factors capable of modifying the body composition of individuals are diet and physical exercise. Overall, physical training results in a healthier body composition, reflected in the reduction of body fat, especially in overweight and obese individuals, however, there is little or no long-term effect on body weight. Diet is another way to modify the body composition of individuals, since it aids in fat loss when the caloric deficit strategy is employed.
How to evaluate body composition?
The evaluation in office usually takes place in two ways: by bioimpedance or by the evaluation of skinfolds, since checking only the weight does not say much about how this weight is distributed in the body, what the fat-free mass, etc. Bioimpedance is the ability of a biological tissue to prevent the electrical current – the tissues with more water and ions in its composition, such as blood and muscles, have less resistance to the electrical current – and from the passage of an electric current through the body, one can estimate the body composition. By the skinfold method, the thickness of subcutaneous adipose tissue is evaluated in several parts of the body, and by means of formulas, the total body fat of the individual is estimated.
When do you need to supplement?
In individuals who do physical training, it may be interesting to add individualized supplements with scientific evidence to their routine, such as creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine or even protein powder (Whey protein, pea protein, etc.). It is always important to evaluate the level of training and diet time and individual needs to accurately determine the supplementation that can benefit each patient.
Item: Westerterp KR. Exercise, energy balance and body composition. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Sep;72(9):1246-1250. Doi: 10.1038/s41430-018-0180-4. Epub 2018 Sep 5. PMID: 30185845; PMCID: PMC6125254.
Bioimpedance or skinfolds: which to perform?