Small Weight Loss Brings Big Health Gains
If you sometimes feel that the mountain of weight loss you need to climb just isn’t worth the effort, a study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis proves that thinking is plain wrong.
They found that dropping just 5 percent of your body weight will have significantly positive effects on your overall health. For the average American man and woman, that’s about 10 pounds and 8 pounds, respectively.
Researchers looked at 40 obese people. Each was randomly assigned to either a weight loss program or a weight maintenance program. Of the 20 people in the weight loss program, all were required to lose 5 percent of their body weight. Then 10 of these participants were assigned to continue losing weight, with the goal of eventually losing 15 percent of their body weight.
Those who lost that 5 percent saw improvements in risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They showed improved insulin sensitivity, lower systolic blood pressure and lower levels of triglycerides (a type of fat linked to heart disease) in their blood.
And the more weight lost, the more health benefits. The group that aimed to lose 10 percent had slightly more dramatic improvements, and the group that aimed to lose 15 percent fared best of all. Greater weight loss was associated with decreased inflammation as well as signs of a better ability to fight oxidative stress, which can damage cells.
So the bottom line is -- even if you don’t think your ideal weight is in reach, it can pay great health dividends to lose even a lesser amount.