People’s overall health may benefit a lot even by losing just five percent of their total body weight, according to a new study.
In the study – published on Monday (Feb. 22) in the Journal Cell Press – the researchers found that individuals who lost five percent of their body weight saw improvements in how well their body reacted to insulin – some people have insulin resistance (IR), a pathological condition in which cells do not respond properly to the hormone insulin – in how well specific cells in the pancreas worked, and in various risk factors that could lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Samuel Klein, senior author on the study and a professor of medicine and nutritional science at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that the new findings are evidence that even a small amount of weight loss can have impressive health benefits. The greater the weight loss (when needed), the greater the health benefits, Dr. Klein added.
The researchers stated that insulin sensitivity among the study participants improved even more with greater weight loss, and so did the levels of inflammation in the body, which saw a decrease.
For the study, forty adults were assigned to one of two groups: one that had a weight maintenance program, and one that had a weight loss program. The twenty participants in the weight loss program had to lose five percent of their body weight. Of the twenty people, ten of them continued losing weight until they managed to lose fifteen percent of their body weight – which was the final goal, according to the researchers.
The results showed that the people who lost five percent of their body weight has lower levels of triglycerides in their blood, lower systolic blood pressure, and better insulin sensitivity. The same improvements were a lot greater in the participants who lost more than five percent of their weight. The ones who managed to lose ten percent had fifteen percent of their total weight saw even greater improvement, according to the researchers.
Moreover, a better ability to fight oxidative stress, as well as decreased inflammation, was also linked with greater weight loss, the study found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and the leading national public health institute of the United States), the American Heart Association (AHA) (a non-profit organization in the U.S. that fosters appropriate cardiac care), and other major medical and government organizations, stated that people who are obese should lose five to ten percent of their body weight.
Dr. Klein said that, based on the new results, the current obesity practice guidelines should be changed from a five percent to ten percent weight loss, to a target goal of five percent weight loss. When people do not achieve weight losses that are greater than five percent they usually feel as though they failed to reach their final goal, according to Dr. Klein.
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