Health & Wellbeing

A 5% weight loss could have significant health benefits for obesity

Overweight man on an exercise bike

Good news for those who struggle to lose weight, new research has found that obese people could gain significant health benefits from losing just 5% of their bodyweight.  

The risk of serious diseases increases if you’re overweight and those who fall under that category are often advised to lose a minimum of 10% of their bodyweight to reduce the risk. However, losing 10-15% of your bodyweight is challenging for those who aren’t used to dieting or regular exercise. Such a high target could even have the opposite effect on weight loss, as people who cannot lose the recommend amount may give up altogether. While shedding 5% of your bodyweight is a much more achievable goal for everybody and could have a powerful impact on people’s motivation to lose weight. 

The study, conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found that people who lost 5% of their bodyweight reduced their overall fat mass, improved the sensitivity of their liver and muscle to the effects of the hormone insulin, and also boosted the function of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The study also found that these factors continued to improve with the more weight the individual lost. 

The researchers randomly allocated 40 obese people to either weight management or diet-induced weight loss. During the study, 19 people in the weight loss group successfully lost 5% of their body weight, including three people who went on to lose 10% and 15% in total. They tested the metabolic health, diabetes and heart disease risk factors in the weight management group after six months, and they tested the same factors in the diet group once they had achieved 5% weight loss (after four months), 11% (after around six months) and 16% weight loss (after around 11 months) finding significant metabolic improvements. 

These remarkable evidence suggest that even someone who lost 2 or 3% of their bodyweight could have positive metabolic effects on the body. Although these effects will be minor from a smaller weight loss, they act as a powerful motivation tool for obese people who are beginning their own health and fitness journeys. 

Successful weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, it’s about consistency, portion sizes, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and increasing the amount of physical activity in your life. However, once all of these factors are in place then sustainable weight loss can be achieved. If we can encourage more people to take the first steps on the path to fitness, they will quickly see the benefits that leading a healthy lifestyle can have. 

If you want to take the first steps towards a fitter future for yourself, or your clients, sign up for Amaven today.