The REAL Science behind BIA Devices

Don’t risk your business’ reputation by not being aware!

Don’t Believe the Hype

In a world full of eye-catching marketing, gimmicky slogans and each brand saying that their product is better than the next, it’s hard to know where to look and who to believe when it comes to finding the best products for your business.

The world of body composition analysers is no exception, and with an increasing number of body composition analyser players emerging on the scene, how do you really know what to look for?

How do you know you are buying a genuine brand that is backed by science?
How do you know if you are getting something else altogether that perhaps isn’t what you thought it was, as it may have someone else’s brand stickers on it covering up the real manufacturer?
How do you know which device is the real deal, and which one is just marketing hype?

Let’s have a look at how you can be sure you are getting what you pay for.

What is Science?

One of the most important areas to research when purchasing or using body composition devices is the science that backs-up the product.

Merriam Webster defines Science as “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.”

Scientific Research is defined as:

Research conducted for the purpose of contributing towards science by the systematic collection, interpretation and evaluation of data and that, too, in a planned manner is called scientific research: a researcher is the one who conducts this research.   Ceyda Özhan Çaparlar and Aslı Dönmez  Published online 2014 Oct 24

BIA – A Brief History

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis has been around since the 60’s – and the progression in technology over the years has taken it to a whole new level. Originally, it used one single frequency which only measured extracellular water, and it only measured one side of the body.

While it was advanced for its time, they still needed additional information to then calculate ones Body Composition. Intracellular water levels were guessed by using the standard ratio; this left room for error as the ratio for each individual can vary, particularly if one had any health conditions. Because only the left hand side of the body was measured, they assumed that the right hand side of the body was the same.

Due to the fact that this technology was not precise enough to actually measure the entire body, it was then decided that age and gender be added into the formula to better estimate body composition.

Does the use of age and gender make your body composition scan more accurate?

Short answer is NO. As technology has evolved, the use of age and gender empirical estimations are no longer required, however devices that use inferior technology will still use this age and gender empirical estimation method.

InBody’s unique, patented technology measures you for you – just as you are.

Measurement, Estimate, Calculation

It’s all the same isn’t it?

It’s often mistaken that adding age and gender makes your scan more accurate, however this is not the case, as the addition of this data can actually alter your scan results in a negative manner. Some devices use this age and gender information in conjunction with software programs to calculate what your body composition should be for someone based on your age and gender, rather than giving you your actual body composition when you scan.

An excellent way to test whether your age and gender are being used to assume your measurements is to do a scan 4 times in a row. Each time you scan, change your age, gender or both.

You will see that the measured impedance levels of your body (resistance levels) listed on the scan result sheet will remain in the same vicinity over the 4 scans, which means that your actual body composition has not changed over the duration of the scans.

If your actual body composition has not changed and yet your personal measurements do change on your result sheet, then it means that this age and gender data is being used to assume your body composition, rather than just measuring you.

Your body composition will not have changed in that time, and nor should your results.

No Empirical Estimations

InBody does not rely on empirical estimations based on age, gender or ethnicity to predict results. With the high level of precision achieved with the aforementioned technological advancements, InBody removes population-associated assumptions when determining body composition to ensure results are based solely on the individual, increasing sensitivity to the individual’s unique makeup of muscle and fat, enabling effective tracking of changes.

Research, Research, Research

It is vital to do your research on the body composition device that you are using or purchasing; the impact it can have on your business can be detrimental.

When you are looking at BIA devices, there will be many devices on the market that claim to have science behind them. It is very important to investigate all areas; check for peer reviewed and validated studies, find the scientific studies they reference – do they exist? If you find the study, check that it relates to the exact brand of technology being used.

Another thing you should consider is where the product is found. Does it span over a broad spectrum of industries?

InBody is well represented in many different areas – including medical, universities, fitness, educational, corporate, government and military organisations, while also being used by elite level sporting teams and trainers. Checking the companies that use the product can provide great insight into the quality and reliability of the device.

Many business owners spend years and years building trust and rapport with their clients, and the use of an inferior device can quickly destroy the reputation of your business. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – and if you’re using a device that isn’t actually measuring you correctly, you’re just guessing and that could result in a very expensive lesson if your own business reputation is damaged by that.

So, where can I find the real science?

Science is always advancing, and there are always new studies coming out – make sure you do your own research, ensure that you have the most up-to-date research and studies available to you.

Make sure that any data you are presented with is searchable online, and actually provided and conducted in the correct scientific format including citations and references as required by highly regarded medical journals.

References that are only listed as “Work of [so-and-so] et al” or similar vague references that do not provide author details or links to actual published studies should be a clear sign of illegitimate or non-existent research.

Trusted scientific references should always include all author details and links to the research and journals where they are published.

Don’t be fooled by fake studies or so-called “predatory” journals, which are more sinister – in these journals the peer review process is either superficial or non-existent, and editors essentially charge authors for the privilege of publishing.


A simple way to find published, peer reviewed scientific papers and journals is to use dedicated search engines such as: PubMed and Google Scholar.


comprises over 29 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE (the U.S. National Library of Medicine® (NLM) premier bibliographic database that contains more than 24 million references to journal articles in life sciences with a concentration on biomedicine.)

Google Scholar

provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research.

Simply type in the brand name of the product that you are looking at into PubMed and Google Scholar and you will instantly be presented with an abundance of science to back-up those items (if indeed there really is any).

For example, try searching “InBody” in either of these, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of science behind this technology.

Enjoy Your New-Found Knowledge

It is vital that you do your research when purchasing a body composition device. Do all the tests, look at any studies that have been referenced, find out where they are being used.

All in all, we should feel confident that important science is solid due to peer review, transparency, scrutiny and reproduction of results in science publication.
The endless scrutiny by other researchers, together with the proudly guarded reputations of authors and journals, means that, the scientific method of testing remains more reliable than all the others.

Look for the science and you’ll find the answers you need!


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