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Fast or Slow, Weight Loss Has Similar Effect on Health

TUESDAY, Feb. 5, 2019 -- Losing weight quickly doesn't offer any more health benefits than slimming down slowly, a new study shows.

Canadian researchers analyzed data from more than 11,000 people in a publicly funded clinical weight-management program. They found that those who lost weight quickly or slowly had similar health benefits in terms of reducing risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

"With the same pound-for-pound weight loss, there is no difference in terms of health benefits if you lose weight fast or slow," said study leader Jennifer Kuk. She's an associate professor in the faculty of health at York University in Toronto.

Typically, it's recommended that people lose about one to two pounds a week because a faster rate of weight loss is associated with a slightly increased risk of gallstones. But there were suggestions that faster weight loss may be better in reducing heart disease and diabetes risk factors.

This study is the first to specifically examine the rate of weight loss and heart disease and diabetes risk factors, according to the authors.

"However, given the risk for gallstones with faster weight loss, trying to lose weight at the recommended one to two pounds per week is the safer option," Kuk added in a university news release.

Initially, the researchers found that people who lost weight more quickly tended to have a larger reduction in obesity and better health improvements than those who lost weight slowly. However, that was not the case after the researchers adjusted for absolute weight loss.

"The results show that we really need to look at interventions that focus on long-term weight management that can achieve sustained weight loss at the recommended one to two pounds per week," Kuk said.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Obesity.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains how to choose a safe and successful weight-loss program.

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Posted: February 2019

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