Obesity and being over weight in general can lead to many health issues such as diabetes or heart disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Experts are emphasizing the importance of carrying a healthy weight now more than ever before.
CBS news reports on the importance of weight loss. Researchers are saying that even a little weight loss would be great; they are stressing the importance of maintaining a weight that is below the obesity level.
Experts from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis published reports showing that dropping just five percent of body weight can help decrease the threat for diabetes and heart disease and improve insulin sensitivity in liver tissue, muscle, and fat.
Dr. Samuel Klein, the director of Washington University's Center for Human Nutrition, told CBS News, “Just a little bit of weight loss goes a very long way to improving their health.”
What do current medical guidelines on obesity state? Today’s U.S. guidelines state that obese patients lose five to 10 percent of their body weight for better health, according to Dr. Klein; however the new data helps make the smaller five percent a more manageable target to take in at the beginning of a weight reduction program or plan.
Dr. Klein described the current recommendations as ‘very vague and broad range’. He also said that it would be easier to lose five percent than 10 percent. He expressed the importance of people having a realistic goal and that five ‘percent’ can mean profound results.
How was the study conducted?
The researchers had forty participants who were randomly assigned to either stay at their current body weight or to follow a diet to lose five, 10 or 15 percent of their body weight. Not even one of the participants had diabetes, however they all showed signs of insulin-resistant glucose metabolism, a huge characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
Experts say that blood glucose levels usually increase after consuming a meal. CBS explains, “When beta cells in the pancreas kick in and release insulin into the blood, which stimulates muscle, fat, and liver cells to take up the excess glucose.” However when it come to individuals who experience insulin resistance, the glucose increases in the blood rather than being absorbed by the cells.
Out of 40 individuals, 19 individuals lost five percent of their body weight, and the beta cell function greatly improved, and so did insulin sensitivity in fat, liver, and muscle tissue. Nine of the participants lost extra weight and their beta function improved even more.
Dr. Klein said, “This is not a cosmetic outcome. It's a health outcome. Losing five percent, you may not look that much better on the outside, but you will look much better on the inside.” The results were published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Klein also said he plans to conduct additional research.