6 Health Benefits of Losing Weight
People choose to lose weight for various reasons. Maybe a doctor recommended it to help improve your health or maybe you took it upon yourself to lose a few extra pounds to feel more confident and have more energy. Whatever the reason may be, you've made a great decision. Losing excess weight benefits the body in many ways. Here are six important things that happen to your body when you lose a healthy amount of weight.
Lower Your Diabetes Risk
Losing just 5% of your weight can have a big impact on your overall health says Dr. Samuel Klein, MD, professor of medicine and nutritional science, and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine. If a person weighs 200 lbs, they would only have to lose 10 lbs to significantly reduce strain on their body. A study conducted by Dr. Klein showed how losing weight decreases the risk of diabetes, a condition marked by high blood sugar. “The beneficial effects include decreased total body fat, intra-abdominal fat, and liver fat and increased insulin sensitivity in liver, muscle, and fat tissues,” Dr. Klein says. Your body needs insulin to properly absorb and use blood sugar. When you have better insulin sensitivity, you can better control your blood sugar.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association reported that losing as little as 5-10 pounds in overweight people (those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater) may help lower blood pressure. Other research supports this claim as well. The American Heart Association said that when someone is overweight, they put extra strain on their heart which increases the risk of damaging blood vessels and developing high blood pressure. Weight loss reduces strain on your heart. “Being obese also increases the body’s demand for oxygen and increases blood volume,” says Ali Webster, Ph.D., RD, associate director of nutrition communications for the International Food Information Council Foundation.
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Improve Your Heart Health
Research shows that losing a bit of weight not only helps lower your blood pressure but also helps improve your overall heart health. “The results from our study demonstrate that even a moderate 5 percent weight loss in people with obesity has considerable health benefits by simultaneously improving metabolic function in multiple organ systems and decreasing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including plasma triglyceride concentration,” Dr. Klein says. People who are obese typically have high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol. “Each of these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a group of conditions that includes coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes,” Dr. Klein says.
Lower Your Cancer Risk
Weight has a big impact on many different systems in the body. It impacts your hormones, immune system, and factors that regulate cell growth. All of these are linked to cancer risk. “The relationship between cancer and weight is complex, and several different mechanisms are involved,” Dr. Webster says. “According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8 percent of all cancers in the United States, as well as about 7 percent of all cancer deaths.”
Relieve Pressure on Joints
Extra weight can speed up wear and tear on joints. “The more weight that’s on a joint, the more likely it is to wear down and be damaged,” Dr. Webster says. “For example, for every pound of excess weight, four additional pounds of pressure is exerted on our knees—so if someone is carrying around 20 pounds of excess weight, that’s an additional 80 pounds of stress on the knees.” When you lose weight you lower the amount of pressure on your joints which decreases your risk of developing arthritis.
Some inflammation in people who are a healthy weight can be good for the body. Inflammation has the ability to help fight off infection. For people who are overweight or obese, inflammation can actually be harmful. Inflammation can get out of control in these people which increases insulin resistance as well as the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. “Excess body fat, especially when it’s located around the abdomen, is strongly linked to inflammation,” Dr. Webster says. If you lose even 5 to 10% of your body weight, you can reduce adipose fat tissue which releases inflammation-causing molecules.