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Small Weight Loss for Big Benefits

Small Weight Loss for Big Benefits

A new study (published in the February edition of the journal Cell Press) has revealed that losing just 5% of your bodyweight could have significant health benefits for you.

In the study undertaken at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis those who were able to lose 5% of their bodyweight saw a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

This was because their bodies reacted better to the hormone insulin, with less chance of encountering insulin resistance.

What occurred in the study?

During the study 40 obese volunteers were split into 2 groups. The first were entered into a weight loss program where they were required to lose 5% of their bodyweight.

The second group were entered into a weight maintenance program, so would need to maintain their current weight.

Of the first group, 10 of the 20 participants were asked to continue losing weight until they reached their goal of losing 15% of their bodyweight.

What did the results show?

Of those studied those who lost 5% bodyweight saw the following health benefits:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Lower risk of heart disease due to lower levels of a fat (triglycerides) linked to this condition

Dr. Samuel Klein, a professor of medicine and nutritional science at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the senior author on the study had this to say about the results:

“Our findings show that even a small amount of weight loss has important health benefits for multiple organ systems.”

This study also showed that while there were significant health benefits to be gained from losing 5% of your bodyweight, those who lost even more saw even greater benefits.

Those who lost most weight saw their levels of inflammation plummet, while their ability to fight oxidative stress improved, which meant fewer cells were damaged.

What does this study show for the future?

At present many of the major health and medical associations recommend losing between 5-10% bodyweight, however, Dr Klein thinks otherwise, stating:

“Based on these findings, we should reconsider changing the current obesity practice guidelines to stress a target goal of 5% weight loss, rather than 5% to 10% weight loss, which increases the perception of failure when patients do not achieve weight losses that are greater than 5%.”

Basically, if you aim for small successes first you will be more motivated to stick to your efforts as failing to achieve a much larger goal could leave you unmotivated and likely to quit.

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