Losing 5 to 7 Percent of Your Weight Could Prevent Diabetes
Most people know that diabetes is affected by body weight. Patients with prediabetes have blood sugar levels higher than normal, but lower than full adult, Type 2 diabetes levels. Physicians advise losing weight and getting more exercise to prevent this condition from developing full diabetes.
But how much weight should people lose to bring their blood sugar down and help prevent diabetes? Harvard Medical School physician Dr. Rhonda Bentley-Lewis told the New York Times that people can lose just 5 to 7 percent of their weight and make a big difference. For a 200 pound person, Bentley-Lewis said, losing 10 to 14 pounds was all that was needed. For a man, losing ten pounds will tighten their belt one notch, and most women will lose a dress size.
Prediabetes is sometimes treated with medication, including metformin, but physicians usually ask patients to lose weight and exercise more to see if they can make improvements in their blood sugar on their own. A national Diabetes Prevention Program study found that thousands of people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight, started exercising more, and improved their diets reduced their risk of diabetes by 58 percent. The study confirmed that weight loss, diet, and exercise were more effective in reducing diabetes risk than taking metformin and making no other changes. The patients ate a lower fat, lower calorie diet and exercised for an average of 150 minutes a week, or about 20 minutes a day.
The facts are in: if you have a risk of diabetes and want to reduce it, you can lose as little as 10 pounds, make changes in your diet, and get more physical activity. You have a good chance of avoiding diabetes and having a much healthier life.