Getting into an intensive weight loss program and shedding pounds can be a good idea even if you regain some of the lost weight, a new study has revealed.
It is very well known that obesity increases the risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure, which can be a precursor for cardiovascular disease, as well as insulin resistance. It is estimated that 2.4 million people died worldwide due to obesity in 2020.
In the latest study, published in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, researchers found that weight loss can help in reducing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes for at least five years, even if some of the weight is regained.
The team evaluated the systolic blood pressure levels, total cholesterol-to-good cholesterol ratio and HbA1c levels (blood sugar levels over the previous three months) of the participants who lost weight through intensive behavioral weight loss programs. They compared it with the values of another set of participants who followed less intensive programs or no program at all.
Systolic pressure was around 1.5 points lower one year later and 0.4 points lower five years later among participants in the intensive programs compared to the control group.
The HbA1c levels dropped with weight loss and even after they regained some weight, their levels were much better when compared to the control group.
The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol showed improvements with weight loss, although they were smaller when people regained weight, NBC News reported.
“Many doctors and patients recognize that weight loss is often followed by weight regain, and they fear that this renders an attempt to lose weight pointless,” co-author Susan A. Jebb said. “This concept has become a barrier to offering support to people to lose weight. For people with overweight or obesity issues, losing weight is an effective way to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Although the improvements in values begin to reverse with weight regain, Jebb observes that the weight loss helps to reduce “the metabolic burden on your body for a period of time,” which will be “enough to delay the onset” of diabetes and heart diseases.
The team said more information and long-term study are required to evaluate the long-term benefits of weight loss.
“The present study has interesting implications for the impact of weight regain that may occur after pharmacologic therapies. What is still unknown is whether these temporary improvements in weight and cardiometabolic risk factors after weight loss intervention (behavioral or pharmacological) lead to long-term clinical benefits. In other words, is it better to have lost and regained than never to have lost at all?” the research team said.