Why your scales don’t give you the full story

It can be disheartening to try so hard to lose weight all week, only to jump on the scales and see no change. But don’t lose hope! New research shows that you might have a good reason to doubt your bathroom scales — a long-term study has shown that you can lose fat in some of the most high-risk areas of your body without budging the needle.

Published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, the study details how participants lost fat in several high-risk areas of their body, improving their health and fitness, but which was unrepresented by the scales

In response to moderate exercise and a Mediterranean diet, participants in the study shrunk their fat deposits in and around their abdomen (visceral), liver (intra-hepatic), heart (intra-pericardial) and pancreas. It’s well known that organ fat is one of the most high-risk types of fat, and can lead to a variety of problems and diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Fat deposits were measured with an MRI, which gave a much clearer picture of bodily changes than any other methods to date.

“Weighing patients or using blood tests to detect changes hasn’t, until now, given us accurate pictures, literally, of how different fat deposits are impacted disproportionately by diet and exercise,” said Prof Iris Shai, the primary investigator of the study.

“These findings suggest that moderate exercise combined with a Mediterranean/low carb diet may help reduce the amount of some fat deposits even if you don’t lose significant weight as part of the effort.”

The study shoes that any effort to improve your lifestyle, even if you don’t see the physical changes, is all the better for your body and your health, so don’t lose hope.