How Can I Lower My BMI? What Is An Unhealthy BMI?

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How Can I Lower My BMI? What Is An Unhealthy BMI?

I just got my BMI (Body Mass Index) measured and it was 27. What is an unhealthy BMI? How can I lower my BMI? Thanks for all your help! You are the best!

BMI is a scientific measure, which uses the height and weight of an individual. A variable, which the BMI scale fails to recognize is lean body mass (LBM). A healthy, muscular individual can show an obese reading when using the BMI scale. If you are an athlete you should use another source of measurement to determine your LBM to fat ratio.

BMI below 20:

This reading indicates a “lean� BMI. This means that you have relatively low amounts of body fat. Athletes, consider this to be desirable, but if you are not athletic, a lean BMI may indicate that your weight is to low. A low body weight may be an indicator of low immunity status. If this pertains to you, you should attempt to gain weight utilizing diet and exercise programs, which promote the increase of muscle mass.

BMI between 20 and 25:

This reading indicates the “ideal�, level of body fat associated with longevity, and a low incidence of illness. Coincidentally, this reading seems to be perceived as the most aesthetically pleasing.

BMI between 25 and 30:

This reading indicates that you are a “Hefty� individual. You should seek ways to lower BMI, using diet and exercise. You may be at an increased risk for illnesses. A change in your diet and exercise program is encouraged.

BMI over 30:

This reading indicates an unhealthy condition. You may be at risk for serious medical problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gall bladder disease, and some cancers. A change in your diet and exercise program is encouraged (1).

Lowering The BMI

Utilizing exercise programs such as the pedometer program is an excellent way to begin your journey to a lower BMI. However the bulk of the results will be found in your diet. You are what you eat! One of the simplest ways to improve your diet is to begin to cook for yourself and limit eating out. By doing this you will learn to cook in a healthy way, appreciate the real taste of food, can make dining a family event and promote healthy eating to your loved ones, save money, and lastly lower your BMI. Fast food and foods that are consumed at restaurants are loaded with hidden fat. These people want their food to taste great so you will keep coming back. But look at it this way a pound of fat has 3500 kilocalories, depending on how much you eat and how frequent you eat out this is not too hard to consume considering that a gram of fat has 9 kilocalories.

By cooking at home you have total control over your intake of fats, particularly saturated fats. If a recipe calls for an ingredient you can modify the recipe to make it more nutritious. Reducing or substituting ingredients is common practice. This sheet will show some ways to lower the amount of fat, kilocalories, and sugar in your favorite recipes. Additionally, it will teach you how to raise the fiber content in your recipes. Recipes are guidelines, not rules, experiment (2)!

Decreasing total fat & kilocalories

Reducing fat in baked products

**Reducing the amount of fat in baked goods can be done by reducing 1/4 to 1/3. Example, if a cookie, bread, or muffin recipe asks for 1 cup of oil, use 2/3 cup (2).

Applesauce can also be substituted equally in baking. Example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil you can use one cup of applesauce as a healthy substitute (3).

Vegetable oil instead of Saturated solid fats

Instead of using shortening, lard, and/or butter, utilize vegetable oil. Vegetable oils come in various types to include: corn oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Use 1/4 less than the recipe requires replacing solid for liquid fats. Example, a recipe asks for 1/4 cup of shortening or butter, which is 4 tablespoons, use 3 tablespoons of oil instead.

Decreasing sugar

Reducing sugar in baked goods & desserts

*Sugar can be reduced by 1/4 to 1/3 in baked goods. Items such as cookies, breads, and cakes can be baked this way. Simply substitute flour in place of the omitted sugar.

Increase spices for flavor

You can increase some spices for flavor. Adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla to recipes will enhance sweetness.

Increase fiber

Choosing whole grain for your ingredients verses highly refined products will assist you in increasing you fiber. Whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, and whole cornmeal are great sources of fiber. Whole-wheat flour substitutes up to 1/2 of all-purpose flour. Example, a recipe calls for two cups of flour, use 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1-cup whole-wheat flour (2).

These tips are a few on many ways that you can use cooking to your advantage in attempt to lower your BMI.

**Note: Do not use method in yeast breads & pie crusts (2).

*Note: Do not attempt to decrease sugar in yeast bread because the sugar feeds the yeast for rising and necessary chemical actions (2).


1. Ben’s unpretentious self-indulgent homepage. Ben’s unpretentious home page. 30 Oct 2002.

2. Flasher W. Preparing healthy food: how to modify a recipe. Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet. 30 Oct 2002. Ben’s unpretentious self-indulgent homepage. Ben’s unpretentious home page. 30 Oct 2002.

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