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AMA #17: Body Composition Methods Tour de Force, Insulin Resistance, and Topo Chico | The Drive with Peter Attia #136

Key Takeaways

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good crude indicator of health but doesn’t account for muscle mass
  • Percentage of body fat is a more accurate indicator of health versus BMI
  • Visceral fat, the build-up of fat around organs – is the type of fat to be concerned about and associated with metabolic syndrome


In this sneak peek episode of The Drive, Peter Attia and Bob Kaplan (@bobkaplan) Head of Research at Attia Medical, PC sit down for a special Ask Me Anything about methods of evaluating body composition, differentiating between different types of fat, strategies for optimizing body composition, insulin resistance, and a recent study with potentially concerning results for Topo Chico drinkers.

Note, this is a preview. The full episode is only available to subscribers.

Host: Peter Attia (@PeterAttiaMD)

Body Fat Measurements

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) correlates to health in a crude form but doesn’t tell us the whole story
  • Muscle mass is not accurately captured by BMI
  • Percentage of body fat is a more thorough indicator of health than BMI
  • BMI of 27 at 8% body fat is a healthier place to be than a BMI of 22 with a 24% body fat
  • Magnetic resonance image (MRI) would produce the most accurate account of body fat but is not a typical application of MRI
  • CT scan shows where the fat lies and quantifies where the fat resides, but a full-body CT scan is not appropriate because of the level of radiation exposure

Not All Fat Is Created Equal

  • Subcutaneous fat: fat beneath the skin
  • Visceral fat: fat around the organs – this is the fat you don’t want
  • Visceral fat shows up around the liver, kidney, spleen, and other organ and is heavily associated with metabolic syndrome
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Notes By Maryann

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