Is just 4.5 kg of weight loss really going to help stop type 2 diabetes? 2022
just 4.5 kg of weight loss A new study found that losing 4.5 kilograms of weight could be the difference between getting type 2 diabetes and not. That’s the headline on some of the publicity surrounding the research, except, like all these studies, it’s significantly more complicated than that. To discuss it, let’s look at it. The research examined around 100,000 nurses and health professionals from several US cohort studies that started in the late 1980s. They studied up to 10 years of weight changes and tracked participants for 24 years to see if they developed type 2 diabetes.
They also looked at how those who lost more than 4.5 kilograms dieted. There were seven categories – low-calorie diet, exercise, low-calorie diet plus exercise, fasting, a commercial weight loss program, diet pills, and a combination of fasting, commercial, and diet pills. When they looked at the original results, they discovered something unexpected: Those who lost more than 4.5 kilograms had a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes than those who didn’t diet or try to lose weight. It was particularly striking for those that lost weight as a result of limiting calories, diet pills, fasting, or weight loss programmes. The researchers then split the data into BMI categories – those who were ‘normal’ weight or underweight, those who were overweight, and those who were obese.
In other words, weight loss attempts were associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in both ‘underweight’ and ‘normal’ as well as ‘overweight’ individuals. The TH Chan Harvard School of Public Health researcher Qi Sun said, “When we first saw the positive associations of weight loss attempts with faster weight gain and higher type 2 diabetes risk among lean individuals, we were a little surprised.”
The majority of people diet at some point or another, and nearly half of US adults tried to do so in 2013 to 2016, according to the study. However, most people fail or regain all the weight, which occurs in a few months. This backs up the finding. The team found that after 10 years, those who dieted (known as the weight loss strategies group) accumulated more weight than those who did not attempt to lose weight. People who lost 4.5+ kilograms were likely to gain more weight and have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not try to lose weight.
By the end of a 10-year follow-up period, all weight loss technique groups (ranging from exercise to fasting, commercial weight loss programmes, and medicines) were linked to higher weight gain than the reference group.
It’s crucial to emphasise that healthy eating and exercise are not harmful to your health. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that exercise makes us live longer and that eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods is healthier for us.
This study serves as a helpful reminder that merely losing weight—especially through methods like calorie restriction, weight reduction programmes, and weight loss pills—does not guarantee our continued health.
It’s important to read the study’s conclusion in its entirety:
In conclusion, regardless of the strategies utilised to achieve the weight loss, in obese adults, purposely decreasing 4.5+ kg of body weight was related with decreased weight gain and lower T2D risk. Lean individuals, on the other hand, did not experience similar health advantages when they lost 4.5+ kg. Exercise was the best WLS for long-term weight management and T2D prevention. Our findings corroborate current recommendations for body weight management, such as those made by the Obesity Society, which advise individuals who are overweight or obese to lose 5% to 10% of their baseline weight and exercise for 200 to 300 minutes per week to keep the weight off.