Is 0% Body Fat Possible ?

Last updated on June 6, 2023

Want to achieve a relatively low body fat percentage? Many people think that having an extremely low body fat percentage is healthy. But it isn’t always true. Did you know that there is a certain amount of fat essential for your body’s functioning? While talking about the lowest body fat percentage, the first thought that comes to mind is 0%.


It is not possible to achieve 0% body fat because, at this percentage, your body won’t be able to work. Many organs like the brain, heart, and gastrointestinal organs can get affected at a low body fat percentage. The immune system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system all need a certain amount of fat.


If you want to know the lowest possible body fat percentage, then you are in the right place. There are many pros and cons of having a low body fat percentage that you must know before deciding for yourself. So, let’s learn all about it!

Lowest Possible Body Fat Percentage

Having high levels of fat in your body is harmful as it can cause diseases like diabetes and hypertension. However, having low levels of body fat is equally dangerous. Many parts of the body require a certain level of body fat to function properly. So, if your body has less than the required amount of body fat, it can’t function the right way.


Age(Women) Low Fat Ideal Fat Over Fat Obese
20-29 < 14% 14-21% 22-27% 27%+
30-39 < 14% 14-24% 24-29% 29%+
40-49 < 14% 14-27% 27-31% 31%+
50-59 < 14% 14-30% 27-34% 34%+
60+ < 14% 14-31% 27-35% 35%+
Age(Men) Low Fat Ideal Fat Over Fat Obese
20-29 < 8% 8-18% 18-23% 23%+
30-39 < 8% 8-21% 21-24% 24%+
40-49 < 8% 8-23% 23-26% 26%+
50-59 < 8% 8-24% 24-27% 27%+
60+ < 8% 8-25% 25-28% 28%+



The lowest possible body fat men can achieve where their body can work properly is 3-5%. The lowest possible body fat for women is higher as they need fat for their reproductive system. So, 8-12% body fat is healthy for women.


The fats that your body needs for multiple essential purposes are called “essential” fat. Your body can’t make it on its own so it comes from the food you take.

Essential Body Fat

Here are some of the areas where your body needs essential body fat:


  • Blood clotting
  • Brain functioning and development
  • Inflammation control
  • Energy storage
  • Cell growth and protection


Without the essential body fat, the body can’t maintain itself. The cell membrane (outermost covering of our cells) is made up of fat as well. So, it isn’t possible to cut off all the fat from your body. Without that fat, our cells would burst and stop functioning.


Moreover, it is also required for the growth of our body cells. Your body replaces billions of cells per day and without fat, this routine function isn’t possible.


Bone marrow, nerves, muscles, and membranes of organs store essential fat and use it for absorbing vitamins. Fats provide energy that is required for every function occurring in your body. Without this energy, you can’t even move in your daily life.


Fats play a significant role in hormone regulation for reproductivity. Due to all these reasons, essential fat is extremely important for your body.

Advantages of Low Body Fat Percentage

If your body fat is low (not too low), you can get many advantages from it. Low body fat doesn’t mean having single-digit body fat. It means that you have an ideal body fat percentage according to your body. There are different ways to measure body fat percentage. Some of the best ways are:


  • Skinfold Calipers
  • Hydrostatic Weighing
  • 3D Body Scan
  • Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
  • Bod Pod


If your body fat is too low according to your weight, height, and age, you can face many issues. Therefore, you must find your ideal body fat percentage and try to maintain it to live a healthy and balanced life. Now, let’s find out some advantages of low body fat.


If you have an ideal body fat percentage, you can expect advantages that revolve around having a healthy lifestyle, better physical appearance, and features, sharp and defined facial features, etc.

Better Exercise

When you have low body fat, you can do more exercise without facing many difficulties. Having too much fat in your body can slow down your capabilities of working out. It can make you out of breath in no time.


But when your body fat percentage is low, you wouldn’t need to overcome your body weight. As a result, you can work out more, run faster, and add in more weights.

Healthier Life

Less body fat saves you from a lot of diseases. So, people with less body fat have more chances of leading a long and healthy life. Having high levels of fat in your body increases your risk of heart diseases and diabetes. So, to save yourself from these diseases, reducing your body fat percentage would be an ideal first step.


People with a high body fat percentage are more likely to get such diseases at an early age such as their 50s. Though, a low body fat percentage doesn’t mean you will never have diseases however they can be much delayed.

Aesthetic Physical Appearance

When your muscles are toned, your overall body appearance looks aesthetic. Many people like to have defined muscles and sharp jawlines. All this can come from low levels of fat if you are working out to gain that.

Such people feel more confident in their bodies which provides them with better mental health too. Moreover, low body fat maintains a healthy mental state itself.

You may also be interested in Melt Love Handle Fat.

Better at Athletics

People with a healthy body and low body fat percentage can increase their athleticism. It’s because, at a low body fat percentage, you can run faster without getting tired earlier. Such players can be proven to be better for their team and themselves.

Disadvantages of Low Body Fat Percentage

Having a body fat percentage that is less than your ideal percentage is harmful to your body. Many body functions and organs can’t work without essential body fats. So, let’s find out how low body fat can harm your body and adversely impact your lifestyle!

Low Energy Level

As your body takes energy through fats, low body fat can make you run low on energy. You can take more time than usual to do even minor tasks. If your body fat percentage is lower than ideal, your body’s functions can’t obtain an adequate amount of energy. Moreover, exercising and running can become harder.


Your productivity level gets low as you don’t feel energetic. If you want to spend a whole day doing your desired tasks, your body should have enough energy for it. Otherwise, your mind and body don’t allow that to happen.

Hormonal Irregularities

In men, low body fat can cause an imbalance of testosterone hormone. Due to this imbalance, men can face infertility, improper development of sexual characters and organs as well as lack of sexual desire.


In women, low body fat can disturb the menstrual cycle by causing hormonal imbalance in the body. It can affect reproductivity and fertility too.

Higher Risks of Diseases

Your normal cardiovascular system can be disturbed due to low body fat. This means the risks of heart diseases increase.


Fats are important for blood clotting. If your body loses the ability of blood clotting then even a minor cut can make you bleed tremendously.


Brain functioning becomes dull as the brain requires essential fats for proper functioning. Moreover, the immune system gets affected and the body feels weak.


In short, if you have too much body fat percentage and if you have too less of body fat percentage, in both circumstances, you can face similar issues. Therefore, you must find a healthy balance to lead a wholesome life.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible to Have 3% Body Fat?

3% body fat is possible and many bodybuilders aim for this percentage. Usually, this body fat percentage is achieved for competitions.

Is Low Body Fat Percentage Healthy?

Having a body fat percentage that is lower than your ideal percentage can have detrimental effects on your body. For men, 3-5% body fat percentage is necessary. In women, 8-12% is important.

What Can Happen at 0% Body Fat?

At 0% body fat, the risk of heart and gastrointestinal diseases is too high. The brain becomes foggy and can’t function. The nervous system and immune system get affected as well.

Final Thoughts

Having a body fat percentage that is too low according to your age, weight and height can do more harm than good to you. Therefore, you should think about making your body healthy, balanced, and in good shape. Having a ripped body with a lot of muscles is entirely a personal choice. But one shouldn’t opt for ways that can be harmful and damaging for your body.

About the author  Steve

Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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