Health Benefits Are the Same from Fast or Slow Weight Loss :

fast or slow weight loss

Health Benefits Are the Same from Fast or Slow Weight Loss

A long-held belief has been that if you want to be able to improve your health through weight loss, slow and steady wins the race. In terms of being able to keep the weight off, that may be true. However, according to a new York University study, no matter how quickly or slowly you lose weight, your health will benefit the same way.

Health researchers at the university said that overall health improves in the same way no matter the speed with which the weight was lost. The difference is made by how much weight is lost and how long it is kept off.

Head researcher Jennifer Kuk from the York University Faculty of Health conducted an analysis of data from more than 11,000 patients from a publicly-funded clinical weight management program. What she determined from the analysis was that the people who lost weight the fastest experienced comparable health benefits to those who lost the weight more slowly. She also found that it is the amount of weight loss that dictates the benefits the patient will experience.

Doctors typically recommend a rate of weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Losing weight more rapidly increases the risk of experiencing gallstones. That said, for people who are experiencing serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it could potentially benefit them if they are able to drop the pounds more rapidly in order to reduce their risk factors in less time.

The study was conducted with a specific focus on diabetes and cardiovascular health risk factors. Pound for pound, they found that the health benefits were the same regardless of the speed by which it was lost.

That said, Kuk was careful to point out that the safest option remains to stick to 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week. This is important in order to control the risk of gallstones, but it also increases the risk of regaining the weight. Kuk referred to the more gradual weight loss as “the safer option” for those who are not at an immediate health risk from their weight.

The data used in this study was collected from 11,283 adult patients who used the services of the Wharton Medical Clinic Weight Management Program between July 2008 and July 2017.

As a final note, Kuk pointed out that it remains important to focus on long-term weight management and not just interventions that focus on the speed of fat reduction. The study was published in the Journal of Obesity.