Myth Busters

Is it fact or fiction? It can be hard to decipher what’s true when it comes to certain health statements.  Below are two commonly misrepresented health claims and the actual truth behind them. 

MYTH: BMI accurately categorizes your body’s health status.

Your body mass index (BMI) is a simple equation based on your weight and height.  It’ a quick assessment tool but it cannot accurately calculate your true body composition.  For example, someone could be within a normal BMI range (18.5-25) but have a higher body fat %. Or an individual with a more muscular build could have a BMI classifying them as being overweight (25.1-29.9) but actually have a lower and healthier body fat %.  

There are several methods to find out your body fat and lean body mass percentage. At No Risk Crossfit, we can quickly (and painlessly!) estimate your body composition using bioelectrical impedance analysis. This method calculates your body fat % by using a weak electric current through the body, measuring the amount of resistance it encounters.  Our bodies are made up of a large amount of water, which is mostly stored in our muscles. The device estimates the amount of water in the body and from there can calculate body fat %. 

Please keep in your hydration status can influence your body composition readings.  If at the time of your reading you were over-hydrated or recently consumed a sports drink with electrolytes the results may come out lower than expected.  If you’re dehydrated the results could show a higher body fat percentage.  

And also important to note… your body composition doesn’t tell your whole story!  

MYTH: Lack of sleep can cause weight gain.

There might be some truth to this! Several studies have found a participant’s appetite and cravings were affected by lower amounts of sleep.  This could due to certain hormones being influenced by our sleep quality. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that influence appetite and energy use, both are also impacted by sleep. 

Leptin sends signals to the brain to indicate when we’re full and starts the metabolism process of burning energy. Ghrelin has an opposite function to leptin because it tells the brain you need to eat and to stop burning energy. 

When you’re sleep deprived your leptin levels might be lower than normal, while ghrelin is increased, this combination can cause an increase in hunger.  

The good news is any extra sleep can help alleviate these negative symptoms. 

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