(NaturalNews) It's a normal buddy-system scenario: you find out you have type 2 diabetes, and one of the first things your doctor recommends is weight loss, especially for patients significantly overweight. While this is good advice, a new study puts the reasoning behind this advice to the test.
There are certainly some non-negotiable benefits to dropping pounds - in general and when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Among other things, weight loss lowers blood sugar, improves health, and helps you feel better overall.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Over 5,000 participants, all obese with type 2 diabetes, were divided into two groups. The first half underwent a "lifestyle intervention," while the other half were placed in a general diabetes support and education program. The participants in the "lifestyle intervention" made significant changes to their diet and exercise routines to encourage weight loss.
The purpose of the study was to find out whether losing weight for overweight diabetics would reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. All participants were tracked for up to 11 years.
It was found that the first group lost about eight percent of their starting weight (an average of 16 pounds) in the first year, and that they maintained almost five percent (approx. 10 pounds) of that loss. Those in the second group lost about one percent (two pounds) of their starting weight and maintained that loss.
Unfortunately, there was no difference between the halves in regard to heart attacks and strokes. The good news is that the incidence was lowered in both groups.
Despite the lack of difference in cardiovascular events; however, there was clear improvement in many other areas for those in the "lifestyle intervention." After four years, the study showed that Group 1 participants improved their hemoglobin A1C readings, fitness, systolic blood pressure (the top number), and HDL (good) cholesterol. This half of participants also required less medication to control their diabetes.
It was also noted that Group 2 participants, though, had better LDL (bad) cholesterol after four years, but researchers think that could be attributed to the number taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Regardless of the effects on the heart; however, there are definite benefits to losing weight for overweight, type 2 diabetics. The American Diabetes Association says losing even 10 or 15 pounds can lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and lighten the stress on hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
It is important to discuss your situation with your doctor or diabetes educator before starting a diabetes weight loss plan.
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