Dieting and Weight Loss Provides Long-Term Health Benefits

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A healthy lifestyle provides long-term benefits. Photo by: National Institutes of Health

Looking to shed some unwanted pounds this year? If so, you are not alone – many Americans resolve to lose weight and become healthier in the New Year. Even when you succeed in initially losing weight, you may find that you regain a portion of the weight despite your best intentions. The good news? All the health benefits of that success aren’t lost, even if you gain back the weight, according to a new study released online in Diabetes Care. This study suggests that dieters shouldn’t just focus on the amount of weight loss, but also pay attention to the health benefits of successful dieting, such as elevation of ‘Good’ cholesterol, that go along with a healthier lifestyle.

Long-Term Weight Loss

The study, “Two Patterns of Adipokine and Other Biomarker Dynamics in a Long-Term Weight Loss Intervention” studied biomarker patterns in 322 people for two years. The participants were randomly assigned to three different groups that followed three different diets; low fat, Mediterranean, or low-carbohydrate. Participants in each group had significant weight loss in the first six months and then either plateaued or had a small regain during the remainder of the study (18 months). Participants were weighed every month and had their blood drawn after a 12 hour fast at the begining of the study, at six months, and at 24 months to measure biomarkers.

Researchers found two different patterns. Pattern A consisted of biomarkers that corresponded to changes in body weight. These biomarkers improved during the weight loss phase, but then began to decline when participants began to regain weight. Pattern B biomarker’s continued to improve even when participants began to regain weight during the last phase of the study (seven to 24 months). These biomarkers help improve cholesterol levels, insulin, triglycerides, and cardiovascular function. These patterns were seen across all three of the diet groups. With these findings, researchers concluded that adopting a healthy lifestyle has benefits beyond the weight loss phase.

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