Is 11 percent body fat good?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Is 11 percent body fat good?” and provide information on the risks of having a low body fat percentage as well as whether fat is required. 

Is 11 percent body fat good?

Yes, 11 percent body fat is good. In male athletes, 6-13 percent fat is considered to be ideal. However, if you are a woman, 11 percent fat is considered to be too low, according to American Council on Exercise. 

This is because females are supposed to have more fat compared to males. Female athletes are supposed to have 14 to 20 percent fat. Anything less than 14 is considered to be too low.

However, according to the same council, 2-5 percent of essential fat has to be the minimum range of fat in men whereas 10-13 percent fat is the minimal amount of fat that has to be present in women for optimal health.

There has been controversy over whether these minimal fat ranges are supposed to be accepted. 

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, low-fat ranges are not considered to be healthy. According to them, individuals should not have less than 8 percent of fat if they are men and less than 21 percent of fat if they are women.

However, unless you are malnourished, there is nothing to worry about. If individuals work out and consume a healthy diet, there is no need to be concerned. 

Certain individuals might have higher muscle content and lower fat percentage. Apart from this, individuals can come in different sizes and shapes. 

The limitation of the American Council of Exercise chart is that it does not give a cutoff on fat percent for age groups. Different age groups can have different fat percentages. As you age, your fat percentage can increase.

Is 11 percent of fat ideal based on the Ideal Body Fat Percentage chart?

The Ideal Body Fat Percent Chart was developed by Jackson and Pollock. If you are a man aged between 20-25 years, 11 percent body fat can be considered to be good. 

However, if you are a woman, 11 percent fat is not considered to be ideal at any age except if you are a child. Once you are aged 30, the fat percentage has to increase irrespective of your gender.

What are the types of body fat?

There are 3 types of body fat present. Subcutaneous body fat is fat present under the skin. Visceral fat is fat present around the organs. Intramuscular fat is another kind of fat. Here, the fat is present between the muscles. 

The subcutaneous fat might not change throughout your life but the amount of visceral and intramuscular fat can increase depending on your age, diet, and lifestyle.

What are some risks of having a low-fat percentage?

As 11 percent body fat is considered to be too low in women, there can definitely be some risks associated with them. 

Women with low body fat percentages can experience fatigue, weakening of bones, memory issues, and problems with metabolism. Proper body fat is also required for the absorption of nutrients. 

Some of the vitamins that require body fat for absorption are A, D, E, and K which are fat-soluble vitamins.

Apart from this, women with reduced body fat can appear extremely skinny. They also have a weakened immune system and are susceptible to developing infections.

Women who have lesser than 5 percent body fat are infertile. However, if they have as little as 11 percent fat, they can still become pregnant though the chances are lesser.

Women with less body fat percent can also suffer from amenorrhea or changes in the menstrual cycle. However, female athletes can have fat percent as low as 6 percent because they consume enough protein and carbs.

Why is fat required?

Body fat is required as it provides insulation and protection to body organs. Essential fat helps in modulating the spinal cord and bone marrow’s functions. Apart from this, it also helps in the absorption of various fat-soluble vitamins.

How to increase body fat percent?

If your body fat percentage is too low, make sure to consume small, frequent, and calorically-dense meals. Indulge in healthy fats. Fats that contain Monounsaturated Fats (MUFA) should be eaten.

MUFA is found in nuts, seeds, and certain oils. Some healthy oils include canola oil, rice bran oil, olive oil, and peanut oil. Opt to consume foods high in healthy fats like whole milk over low-fat milk.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Is 11 percent body fat good?” and provided information on the risks of having a low body fat percentage as well as whether fat is required. 


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