What is a Body Composition Scale?
Everyone is familiar with the dreaded weight scale. That boxy little thing that sits in your kitchen or bathroom with the sole purpose of telling you how many pounds you’re carrying around on your body. What can you do with that information? Exercise and lose weight, sure. Gain a few pounds if the numbers start to drop, yes.
But without understanding the cause of your weight loss or gain, there is no guarantee you won’t make the wrong move when it comes to your health and weight. The truth is, it can be quite difficult to determine which steps to take next. That’s where the smart scale comes in.
Unlike your bathroom scale that solely reads your body weight, a body composition scale can give you a much more comprehensive view of what that weight is comprised of, giving you a bit of a glimpse at your overall health.
These devices accomplish this feat by reading much more than just total pounds. Depending on the model, a smart scale can reveal your body mass index (or BMI), body fat percentage, bone density, muscle mass, water weight, and more.
What does this mean to you?
Each of these measurements are insight into how your body burns energy and stores fat.
Take the muscle mass reading, for example. Say you discover you have gained 10 pounds, but your fat mass has decreased and your lean mass increased. This lets you know that while your weight may be higher than it was before, you are actually becoming more fit and gaining muscle.
Without a body composition scale, you would simply see a higher number and assume you need to lose weight, which would then result in losing muscle.
As another example, if your water percentage were to fluctuate, you could determine whether a change in body weight was due to a change in total body water, helping you learn whether you are retaining water or are dehydrated, further allowing you to adjust your habits to increase overall health.
There are many body composition scales available for purchase and navigating the market to find the right one for your personal needs can be quite confusing. Let’s take a look at a couple products and break down exactly what they are designed to do and who they are meant for.
How A Body Composition Scale Works
At this point, you might be thinking a smart scale sounds like some kind of modern magic. Of course, we all understand the convenience of Bluetooth and wi-fi technology and how these weight loss apps compile data, but how exactly do body composition scales read so many specific components of your body and weight?
The answer sounds complicated (bioelectrical impedance analysis) but is actually surprisingly simple: electrical currents are sent through the body when the user steps on the metal electrodes on the scale. The signal speed varies, moving faster through hydrated muscle and slower through fat, helping create a more specific breakdown of the overall number.
Overview of the Dara Smart Scale
The FitTrack Dara Scale is a great choice for just about everyone thanks to the personalization options it offers. But to be more specific, families and sport enthusiasts should find this product to be a useful addition to their healthcare arsenal.
Modes are available for both infants and athletes, allowing you to get a customized look at your health data that is interpreted with your specific lifestyle in mind. The inclusion of multiple user profiles are perfect for roommates or teammates sharing the same device.
This body composition scale offers a wide range features including 17 health, weight, and composition readings:
- Various readings of body weight are available including standard weight, total weight, and weight without fat
- Composition readings such as muscle weight and muscle mass, body fat measurement and body fat percentage, and bone mass
- Health markers like obesity degree, protein amount and protein percentage, hydration, visceral fat, and body age
- Weight-loss tools such as metabolic rate, weight control, body mass index are provided
- Customizable user options
- 8 profiles for family use
- Athlete and infant settings
- Readings designed to accurately portray information based on body type
- Sync smartphones to keep track of weigh-ins
- Charts featuring body and health changes available in app
- Apple and Google health compatible
Overview of the Beebo Smart Scale
The Beebo Family Smart Scale can also help anyone with health and fitness goals, but is especially designed with the growing family in mind. Numerous profiles allow families to keep track of everyone’s growth using the same device, while special modes for pregnant women and infants allow you to prioritize the loved ones who need it most.
This wi-fi scale offers a wide range features including:
- 17 health and weight readings
- Keep track of a variety of weight readings such as total, standard, and fat-free weight results.
- Determine body composition with bone mass, muscle weight and mass, and body fat and percentage
- Monitor health with body age, obesity degree, protein amount and percentage, visceral fat, and hydration
- Take control of weight loss with readings on weight control, metabolic rate, and body mass index
- Family-related modes and settings
- 8 user profiles to keep track of the entire family
- Pregnancy mode and tracking
- Infant mode and tracking
- Free tracking app with convenient features
- Smartphone connectivity allows family members to individually track their health in the app
- Charts and progress detail body, pregnancy, or baby growth and changes
- Google and Apple health compatible
Track Your Health On Your Phone
According to findings presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in 2018 in Chicago, research indicated that daily weigh-ins could be the key to weight loss.
The researchers determined that study participants who weighed themselves once a week or less did not end up losing weight within the next year. However, those who conducted daily weigh-ins (at least six or more days a week) saw a weight loss of 1.7 percent within the next year.
Along with the weight loss benefits of frequent weigh-ins, smart scales could give the added bonus of health metrics and average daily weight.
Bodyweight can fluctuate throughout the day depending on diet, activity, and water retention. Tracking daily changes along with wider health information could provide users with a more accurate overview of their health and weight trends, arming them with the information needed to make smarter health decisions.
The convenience of syncing these powerful insights to your smartphone app eliminates the hassle or confusion of manually tracking your health and weight loss journey.
FitTrack fitness apps are accessible to all weight watchers. These products are compatible with both Google Fit and Apple Health, making them available to both Android and iOS users.
For an even more accurate reading, Advanced Dual BIA Technology is employed. Put simply, two frequencies are used to measure body composition and provide consumers with more accurate results.
How Accurate Are Body Composition Monitors?
The accuracy of the smart scale has been subject to debate time and again. Some products seem to work just fine, while others might over or understate their body fat readings. They make up for these errors through consistency, so that even if your fat reading is inaccurate, you will at least know when you are losing fat or gaining muscle.
FitTrack took this issue into consideration when producing some of the best smart scales on the market. FitTrack products are FDA approved and created with input from the FitTrack Medical Advisory Board and a team of dedicated engineers. This has ensured that the body fat readings are within 3 percent as accurate as a medical DEXA scan.
Body Fat Monitors Vs. Calipers
It is now clear that FitTrack technology has an edge over standard body fat scales. But what about good old-fashioned calipers. Nothing can be more accurate than going analog, right? Well, not exactly.
It is true that calipers are often considered an accurate way to measure body fat. However, the results will vary depending on the skill of the person administering the test. So if you are not well-versed in using calipers or are unable to have someone with expertise administer your test on a consistent basis, you may find yourself frustrated with inaccurate results.
Calipers can also be time-consuming. The tool pinches subcutaneous fat away from muscle, giving you a reading that is then used to formulate the fat percentage. But before the user is able to calculate this formula, readings should be taken at least three times in one area to ensure the test was administered correctly.
Some recommend multiple tests in multiple locations for further accuracy. In the end, FitTrack's accuracy and convenience might be the way to go if you’re simply looking for fast, easy, reliable weight loss tracking.