Weight loss: How losing just 5lbs can halve your risk of diabetes

It doesn't take a massive weight loss to see the health benefits: one study shows you can halve diabetes risk by losing 5lbs

Woman losing weight
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Healthy weight loss, as we know, comes with a whole host of benefits, When you're at a healthy weight, you look and feel good, and you're less at risk of health problems like heart disease and type-2 diabetes. 

But if you're currently very overweight, or just starting on your health and fitness journey, it might seem daunting trying to lose weight so you no longer feel at risk.

Fortunately, you don't have to lose too much weight to start feeling those benefits. A study from the University of Birmingham looked at how much weight loss was required to halve the participant's risk of developing type-2 diabetes. 

The report said: "The research trial tested a simple lifestyle intervention, which helped people make small achievable lifestyle changes that led to a modest weight loss, and increases in physical activity. Importantly these changes were sustained for at least two years and the weight lost was not put back on."

The results were very encouraging. After a modest weight loss of between two and three kilograms (about 5lbs), the study found people's risk of type-2 diabetes was halved. It shows diabetes prevention is very possible with a few sustainable choices. 

Man exercise

(Image credit: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash)

The report writes "These findings are important as they show that a 'real-world' lifestyle programme really can make a difference in helping people reduce their risk of Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes."

This is great news for those who feel like they're struggling, and not seeing much benefit on their weight loss journey. Shedding a few pounds, and keeping them off, can drastically reduce your risk of getting diabetes. 

However, in order to maximise your health benefits, make sure you're losing weight right. One study published in the journal Circulation looked at people reducing their weight in order to alleviate risks of heart disease. Those who lost fat mass and reduced their waist line improved their heart health better than those who lost "lean mass", comprised of muscle tissue. 

If you carry on your weight loss journey, and try a session or two of resistance training each week, you'll continue to build lean mass while losing fat mass. The end result is a lower risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes, while staying strong and fit. 

if you're just getting into resistance training for the first time, fear not: you can start bodyweight training, no equipment required, with our how-to guides below. 

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.