Small changes, Big Rewards: How losing just 5% of your body weight can be a game changer

A little bit can go a long way when it comes to your weight and health. We all know that being overweight or obese (BMI 30kg/m2 or more) can be harmful to health. It can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, even depression and other chronic diseases. The good news is that you don’t have to lose every extra pound of fat to improve your health. In fact, a recent study published in Cell Metabolism found that losing just 5% of your body weight results in profound health improvements and reduced risk of disease (that’s 10lbs for someone who weighs 200lbs).

If you have some (or a lot) of excess fat, many health care practitioners will advise you to lose 5-10% of your body weight to reduce risk of disease. It is a much less daunting task to lose 5% compared to 10% of your body weight. With this in mind, researchers asked 20 obese individuals to lose 5, 10, or 15% of their body weight. Of these 20 people, 19 lost 5% of their body weight and saw drastic improvements in their metabolic health. Specifically, total body fat and liver fat was reduced and insulin sensitivity in muscle, fat, and liver was improved. Together, these changes reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additional weight loss resulted in further improvements in insulin sensitivity and liver fat, however the biggest bang for you buck comes with just 5% weight loss.