Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss: Know The Difference

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

If you are aiming at losing weight, then you should surf the Internet which is full of a plethora of plans that could help you to lose weight quickly.

Some of these plans may require you to focus on a controlled diet, while others may require you to eat at a certain fixed duration.

However, have you ever considered if losing weight is similar to losing fat? This means when you lose weight, do you automatically lose fat around your waist?

The answer to this is a big no. There is a vivid difference between weight loss and fat loss, which we will explain in this article.

weight loss vs fat loss: know the difference

Weight loss is nothing other than the overall truncation in your weight due to a modification in any body component like muscle, fat, water, or more.

This means muscle, fat, and water in your body could play a significant role in the weight loss process. However, weight loss may even occur due to other factors like glycogen stores and body minerals.

No matter what is the reason behind the weight loss, both the terms fat loss and weight loss cannot be used interchangeably because they have different effects on the body.

So when someone loses weight, it means they may not just lose fat from their body, but it could even be muscle or water content. 

On the other hand, fat loss refers just to the loss of excess fat from the body. Speaking in terms of definition, fat loss refers to the weight of the fat molecules present in the body.

On the other hand, fat-free mass or lean body mass refers to the non-fat molecules in the body, like the bones, muscle, water, internal organs, and more.

Well, most of the time when people wish to lose weight, they are talking about losing the excess fat in their body.

The reason behind this could be because excess fat has several potentially dangerous complications and people may not want to get rid of their lean tissue.

So fat loss is more specific than weight loss, and you could easily lose body fat by truncating the number of calories you consume.

Moreover, the type and quantity of food you consume for weight loss and fat loss are also crucial.

Before learning more about the difference between fat loss and weight loss, let’s take into account the water weight in a human body.

Water Weight

Water weight refers to the extra water content held by a body. Generally, a person’s water weight is approximately 50 to 60% of his entire body weight.

One crucial attribute to remember here is that drinking less water may not mean that it could help you to lose more water weight.

On the other hand, staying hydrated and drinking more water can amplify your chances of losing weight more effectively.

The major reason behind this could be that water is required by several important functions inside the body, one of which Is the metabolism function.

Water could help to transport the protein and carbohydrates in your blood and hence help the body in metabolizing them.

However, if you wish to lose water weight, then you may aim at truncating your sodium consumption. This is because consuming excess sodium may compel your body to hold a greater amount of water.

The body wants to adhere to the accurate saltwater ratio by holding more water.

Tools To Measure Fat Loss

Using a regular scale may not help you to know whether you are losing fat because it measures your total body weight. Due to this, you could use other tools to measure your fat loss.

These tools may include a simple tape measure that could help you to measure the waist circumference, skinfold callipers that might assess fat in certain areas of your body or a body fat scale which may be designed to estimate your body fat percentage.

Other than this, if you may be looking for precise fat measurement, then you could even opt for other options like air displacement, plethysmography, 3D body scanners, hydro densitometry and DEXA scans.

These instruments may give you a closer read and hence help you to know whether you have lost fat or weight from your body.

Still, according to a review conducted in 2021 by NCBI, there is no single method that could sufficiently help to know the accurate fat loss reading.

But let’s have a look at the different methods used to measure fat loss in detail.

  • Body Mass Index- BMI is another great anthropometric measurement that could help healthcare providers to know if a person may be losing his lean body mass or body fat.
  • Callipers- Callipers are instruments that could help you to measure the fat in specific areas of the body. The major function of these instruments is to pinch the skin and to measure the fat in areas like the abdomen but they could be difficult to use.
  • Waist Circumference- Waist circumference also referred to as waist to hip ratio, could help to measure the fat around the middle portion of a person. These measurements could be obtained with the help of a tape measure.
  • Body Fat Scales- These fat scales could help to track the fat loss in an individual because they could tell the body fat percentage.

Which Is Better: Weight Loss Or Fat Loss?

In the battle between weight loss and fat loss, you should focus more on fat loss. The reason behind this might be that the real success in your weight loss journey is by keeping the kilos off and preserving the muscles at the same time.

Let’s understand the concept behind the greater efficiency of a fat loss plan over a weight loss plan in detail.

As we have mentioned earlier, our bodies may be made from some of the major components, namely fat and lean body weight or fat-free mass like bone, organs, muscle water, etc.

However, if the content of fat in your body is higher as compared to the lean muscle tissue, then it could contribute to a plethora of issues like obesity.

Not only this, it might even amplify your risk for chronic health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even heart diseases.

Due to this, it may become crucial for you to aim at a certain fat percentage in your body. The healthy fat content levels in females may range anywhere from 14 to 31% and from 6 to 24% in males.

On the other hand, you may not aim at getting rid of the lean tissue because this tissue could provide you strength and hence help your body to burn out more calories.

At the same time, water may even help you to stay hydrated and hence, ameliorate your healthy body function.

How To Lose Fat Without Losing Muscles?

Though it may be impossible to lose just fat without losing a little bit of lean body tissue, certain tips could help you to shift the balance towards fat loss while preserving as much muscle as possible.

So let’s have a glance at these tips-

  1. Focus On Protein

    Protein is a crucial component that could not just help you to maintain the muscle, but could even facilitate new muscle growth, especially in times when you are losing weight.

    Moreover, your body might even require protein to produce enzymes that could help with energy production, digestion, maintaining the health of the immune system and regulating the fluid balance in your body.

    This research also shows how the consumption of a good amount of protein could help people to lose more fat mass as compared to the people who consume a lower protein diet.

  2. Reduce Your Calories

    Another crucial tip to losing fat while maintaining your muscle is to create a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit could be created in two ways.

    The first way might be to consume fewer calories, whereas the 2nd way might be to exercise. You could either follow one of these ways or even both.

    However, following the first method of reducing your calorie consumption could lead to a greater loss of muscle as compared to fat.

    Due to this, you may gradually truncate the number of calories you consume to minimize muscle loss while facilitating fat loss.

  3. Exercise

    Exercise is another great method to focus on losing fat while maintaining your muscle. Moreover, you might even use a blend of a higher protein diet with exercise to get better results.

    Exercise might be crucial to keep up your metabolism and evade any muscle loss. You could aim at getting approximately 150 minutes of exercise in a single week.

Let Us Wrap It Up

Thus, this was all you need to know about weight loss versus fat loss. While aiming for fat loss, you may always focus on evading any muscle loss because it could have certain detrimental effects.

Moreover, losing your weight in the form of muscle loss may even truncate the number of calories you burn while your body is at rest.

Hence, this may make it easier for you to regain the weight which you could have lost as fat. In simple words, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn and hence, it could facilitate your weight loss journey.