Many modern scales have a body fat or water scale analyzer functionality that measures your body fat percentage in addition to measuring your weight. This added functionality can be helpful in determining how much weight you need to lose to be within a healthy body fat percentage range and track how well your weight loss is progressing.
How a Body Fat/Water Scale Works
Using a technique called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, these scales send a small, harmless electrical current through your body when you step on the scale. This current passes more slowly through fat than muscle, giving you a measurement of how much fat is in your body compared to the muscle, or your body fat percentage.
Using a Body Fat/Water Scale
For most body fat/water scales, you will have to enter your profile to accurately assess your body fat content. This includes entering your height, age and gender. You will need to stand on the scale barefoot to get a reading. If your feet are too cold, the scale will register an error reading and you will have to remedy the situation to get a reading. When each heel is correctly positioned as noted in the scale's user manual, the scale will pass a very weak and mild current through your body to get a reading.
The scale will then calculate your body fat percentage and weight. Many scales also include a chart on the digital readout that maps whether you fall into underweight, normal, overweight or obese categories. If your scale does not have this functionality, its user manual should have this information for you to reference and determine which category you fall into. Many scales also offer the Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement as part of the reading.
Body Fat/Water Scale Accuracy
Even the best of body fat analyzer scales is not entirely accurate. The accuracy of these scales depends on whether or not you use it at the right times during the day. However, even with its inaccuracy, this method of measuring body fat is widely used because it is much more convenient and inexpensive than other methods of measuring body fat.
The biggest factor that can affect your body fat reading is the water content in your body. Also, any blood circulation changes, such as after a shower or exercising, can also affect your body fat reading. To have the best results, you should always weigh yourself at the same time, under the same conditions. The best time is generally 2 hours after breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Even though the reading on the scale for your body fat percentage may not be 100% accurate, you can still use this information effectively to track your weight loss goals and success. The best way to make these results work for you is to look at them over time. Record your numbers daily or at whatever interval you use the scale, and compare the measurements to see how much progress you are making. Do not compare your numbers to anyone else's, as these numbers are only relevant for your body.
Even if the fat percentage is not completely accurate, it should fluctuate based on your muscle growth and fat loss, and this can be a good indicator of your weight loss and fitness progress.