By: Dr. Anne Truong
June 3, 2019
More than 1 in 3 Americans is obese. Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, including type-2 diabetes and heart disease. These health issues stem from a range of underlying metabolic abnormalities that affect the liver, pancreas, muscle, fat, and other tissues.
It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. However, evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program.” It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
The good news is that no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars.
Even modest weight loss can mean big benefits. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5% weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obese” range, it can still decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.
Most treatment guidelines recommend that people who are overweight or obese aim to lose 5% to 10% of their weight to achieve improvements in health. A team led by Dr. Samuel Klein at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis set out to characterize the metabolic benefits when people with obesity lose 5% and more of their weight. The study was supported in part by NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other NIH components.
Nineteen participants achieved the initial target of 5% weight loss (average of 12 pounds) after about 3 1/2 months. The researchers found that these people had significantly decreased body fat, including abdominal fat and fat in the liver. They had decreased plasma levels of glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and leptin, which are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. They also showed the improved function of insulin-secreting β cells, as well as the ability of fat, liver, and muscle tissue to respond to insulin.
Markers of inflammation are elevated in people with obesity. The researchers, however, found no changes in systemic or fat tissue markers of inflammation with 5% weight loss.
Nine of the participants reached the subsequent targets, achieving about 11% weight loss (at about seven months) and 16% loss (at about ten months). The decreases in fat mass, plasma insulin, leptin, and triglyceride concentrations continued in tandem with weight loss. These participants showed continued improvements in β cell function and insulin sensitivity in muscle. Insulin sensitivity in liver and fat tissue, however, didn’t improve further with weight loss beyond 5%.
“Our findings demonstrate that you get the biggest bang for your buck with 5% weight loss,” Klein says. “If you weigh 200 pounds, you will be doing yourself a favor if you can lose 10 pounds and keep it off. You don’t have to lose 50 pounds to get important health benefits.”
So to set yourself up for success, consider all of the different ways that losing weight may improve your social life, your medical and psychological health. Make a list of the weight loss benefits that mean the most in your life and keep it in your weight loss journal. Then visit the list on the days when you feel like quitting.
In addition to the medical benefits of weight loss, you may also experience an improved lifestyle if you slim down. Many successful losers report improvement in these areas:
Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. However, if you’re ready to get started, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health.
Your first step should be to set a reasonable goal. Ask for weight loss help from Dr. Truong with our Medfit program.
Our program gives you real food that helps you burn fat. We give you amino acids and supplements that help burn fat and increase metabolism. Weight loss is easy, with minimal exercise. Our patients are losing 2-5 pounds a week in our six weeks program. We will be there to guide you along this exciting weight loss journey.
So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. This lifestyle change will help you maintain your weight loss long term.