Photo does not show mine worker with zero body fat

24 January 2023
What was claimed

An Instagram post shows a mine worker with 0% body fat.

Our verdict

False. The man pictured is a fitness model, not a mine worker, who does not claim to have 0% body fat.

A post on Instagram which claims to show an image of a “mine worker with 0% Body Fat” is false. 

The post, which at the time of writing has been liked more than 82,000 times, features a picture of a muscular, shirtless man wearing a safety helmet and gloves in an industrial setting.  

However, the man in the image is actually a fitness model named Helmut Strebl and this picture was taken during one of his photo shoots

Mr Strebl is known for his extremely low level of body fat which, he claimed in an online interview, is around 4% – not 0% as the Facebook post claims. 

Medical studies suggest the lower body fat limit for a healthy man is between 4% and 6%. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, this “essential fat” is found “in most organs, muscles, and the central nervous system including the brain. It helps to regulate hormones like estrogen, insulin, cortisol, and leptin; control body temperature; and assist in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. 

“When a person’s body fat dips below a certain level (about less than 5% in men and less than 10% in women), there may not be enough essential fat to perform these functions.”

Men’s Health magazine warns: “Fat is an organ, and your body needs a certain amount to function. Without fat reserves, your immune system takes a battering, testosterone levels tank and your metabolism stutters. Dip below 5% and you risk nervous system damage and brittle bones. At best.” 

Nuffield Health, a private healthcare provider, says levels below 36% for women and 25% for men are “normal”, with lower levels for younger people.  

Image courtesy of Luis Reyes

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