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Weight maintenance: Modest weight loss does not improve weight maintenance
Tuesday, September 07, 2004 8:59 am Email this article
Modest weight loss does not improve weight maintenance according to a new study.
The study lasted 10 months and involved four phases.
Phase 1: Discussed benefits of modest weight loss
In Phase 1, the women discussed the benefits of modest weight losses and the potential adverse effects of unrealistic expectations.
Phase 2: Taught cognitive behavioral methods
In Phase 2, the women were provided instruction in traditional cognitive behavioral methods of weight control.
Phase 3: Focus on body image and self-esteem
In Phase 3, the women focused on methods to improve body image and self-esteem.
Phase 4: Skills for weight maintenance
And in Phase 4, the women were given skills to help maintain their weight loss.
Weight loss after 10 months: 5.7 percent
After ten months, the women lost an average of 5.7 percent of their body weight.
Weight loss after 1 year and 10 months: 2.9 percent
One year later, the average weight loss was 2.9 percent.
Conclusion: Modest weight loss does not improve weight maintenance
“Having participants seek only modest initial weight losses does not appear to facilitate weight maintenance,” the researchers concluded.
Subjects: 17 obese women, 47-years-old, BMI 35
The study involved 17 women who on average were 47-years-old and had a body mass index (BMI) of 35.
Comment: Higher goals lead to greater weight loss
I agree with the conclusion of this study.
Other research suggests to me that the greater a person’s weight loss goal, the more weight they lose.
Comment: The faster a person loses weight, the more weight they lose
The research also suggests to me that the faster a person loses weight, the more weight they will lose.
Most studies find that people lose weight for about six months, and then slowly start to gain it back.
Therefore, the faster you lose weight, the more weight you will ulitmately lose.
However, rapid weight loss increases the loss of muscle, and increases the risk of gallstones.
To minimize the health risks of losing weight too rapidly, and to minimize loss of muscle, researchers suggest that a person should lose no more than about 1 percent of their body weight per week. This would be 2 pounds per week for someone 200 pounds, or 3 pounds per week for someone 300 pounds.
(See the interview with Dr. VanItalie who describes how rapid weight loss increases muscle loss.)
This slow rate of weight loss reduces muscle loss, and reduces the risk of gallstones.
However, as noted above, the research suggests to me that the slower you lose weight, the less weight you will lose.
Therefore, you need to weigh the benefits of greater weight loss against the increased risk of gallstones and possibly other health risks of losing weight too rapidly.
Comment: Risk of gallstones can be minimized with 10 grams of dietary fat at a single meal
The increase in the risk of gallstones is because the bile is saturated with cholesterol, and because the gallbladder does not empty its contents according to Gebhard et al (1996).
However, a recent study found that eating at least 10 grams of fat at a single meal once a day maximizes emptying of the gallbladder, and reduces the risk of gallstones.
Therefore, a person may be able to lose weight more rapidly while still minimizing the risk of gallstrones by following this rule of making sure that they eat at least one meal per day containing at least 10 grams of fat.
Studies have also found that increasing protein intake also helps to reduce the loss of muscle.
Foster G, Phelan S, Wadden T, Gill D, Ermold J, Didie E. Promoting more modest weight losses: a pilot study. Obes Res. 2004 Aug, 12(8):1271-77.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
3535 Market Street, Suite 3027
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Gebhard R, Prigge W, Ansel H, Schlasner L, Ketover S, Sande D, Holtmeier K, Peterson F. The role of gallbladder emptying in gallstone formation during diet-induced rapid weight loss. Hepatology. 1996 Sep, 24(3):544-48.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Department of Medicine
Minneapolis VA Medical Center
Minneapolis , MN, USA
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