A recent study by Tufts’ researchers published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that regaining some or all of lost weight diminished the cardiometabolic benefits of that weight loss. It is known that losing weight improves cardiometabolic risk factors, such as HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, HbA1c, and blood pressure. Weight regain after weight loss is common, but up until now the impact on cardiometabolic risk factors was not well established.
The researchers analyzed data from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial, which provided a one-year intensive lifestyle intervention and four-year follow-up. Over 1,500 participants with type 2 diabetes who had lost at least three percent of their initial weight by the end of year one were grouped by percentage of weight regain at the end of year four. Those who did not regain any weight maintained the health benefits seen immediately after weight loss or even improved further. Those who regained weight lost some or all of the gains in cardiometabolic risk factors. People losing at least 10 percent of initial body weight—and keeping off at least three quarters of that weight loss—achieved the greatest benefit.