The Skinny on the Health Benefits of Weight Loss

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Several studies have indicated that even a small amount of weight loss can lower your risk of a variety of diseases including diabetes and heart disease. By losing 10 pounds or just five (10% of your body weight), you can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Let me give you the “skinny” on the benefits so you can start the holidays in the right frame of mind.

  • Losing weight can lower your cholesterol. Overweight and obesity are linked to high levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the cholesterol you want to keep low. High levels of this cholesterol in the blood can lead to cholesterol deposits forming in your arteries. When these deposits get large enough, they can lead to clotting that cause heart attack or stroke.
  • Losing 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure. That protects your heart and kidneys, which can be damaged by chronically high blood pressure. In New Orleans everyone has a family member that is on some sort of medicine for high blood pressure. A big reason for that is the rampant obesity in our community, which contribute to higher blood pressure. As a community, we have got to lose this weight. Put down the po’boys! You can have one, just not every day.
  • Losing 10 pounds reduces risk for heart attacks, heart disease and heart rhythm problems.
  • Losing 10 pounds can help reduce your joint pain. Being overweight puts huge pressure on your joints, especially the hips and knees. In fact, overweight and obesity are major risk factors for arthritis later in life. Each pound you lose takes the equivalent of four pounds of pressure off of your knee. If you lose 10 pounds, that’s 48,000 fewer pounds of pressure per mile.
  • Losing weight can reduce your cancer risk. Obesity increases cancer risk for a variety of cancers including colon and breast cancer. Fat cells release a variety of hormones like leptin and adiponectin that influence how energy is used in the body and can lead to insulin resistance and chronic low-level inflammation. They also trigger the release of certain growth factors that might fuel cancer growth once present.
  • Losing 10 pounds can also reduce your risk for diabetes. The more excess weight on your body, the less sensitive your cells become to insulin, probably because of hormones made by fat cells. This is why so many people with Type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese.

Armed with this knowledge, go out and do your best to lose a little weight. Remember, even five to 10 pounds can make a big difference.