Weight Loss Research Throws Previous Ideas Into Doubt

November 12th, 2012
Weight Loss Research Throws Previous Ideas Into Doubt

Scientists have found that advice often given to Type 2 diabetics may not be right after all.

It seems that they are told to lose weight in order to cut their risk of heart attack or stroke, but this may not be true after all. However researchers were surprised to find other medical problems could be improved.

Diabetes is known to cause major medical problems such as heart attacks, strokes, neuropathy, blindness, and so on if it is not managed effectively. One of the associated problems for most (but not all) type 2 diabetics is obesity.

As such, it was previously believed that going on a weight loss regime can help the first two in the above-mentioned list. But scientists now think this advice may be wrong.

Speaking with reporters, Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behaviour at Brown University in the USA said: “We did show the benefits of weight loss for improving depression, quality of life, sleep apnea, incontinence, fitness, physical function and blood sugar control.”

The Brown University research was an 11 year longitudinal study involving 5,145 obese people with type 2 diabetes. They were divided into two groups. One group was asked to go on a proper diet and exercise regime while the second group was offered basic diabetic education.

The results were rather surprising. Although the diet and exercise group had better results on various tests such as cholesterol, haemoglobin levels etc, it was found that they could reduce their medication.

However in the education group their own level of ‘bad’ cholesterol was better than the experimental group. This seemed to indicate that exercise and diet had little effect on the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Referring to the control (education) group, Dr. Wing added: “The fact that they had lower rates of cardiovascular disease than we expected probably reflects improvements in medical management of diabetes.

But we don’t know from this study whether larger weight loss would have better impact, and we don’t know if these weight losses would have decreased the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people without diabetes.”

The diet group lost about 8 percent of their starting weight in the first year. Patients in the diabetes education group only lost about 1 percent of their starting weight, but they kept it off.


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