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How Much Weight to Lose?

The ultimate question! How much weight to lose? The answer is not always simple but fortunately for a lot of health complications even a tiny weight lost can lead to health improvements.

how much weight to lose

Modest weight loss (5 -10%) is associated with improvement in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and HDL cholesterol. More weight loss (if needed) produces more improvement. For other weight related comorbid conditions, a weight loss around 10% to 15% is needed to translate into clinical improvement. Those conditions could be obstructive sleep apnea, and non-alcoholic steatotic hepatitis. For polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility, modest weight loss (2–5%) can bring improvements in menstrual irregularities and fertility.


Below you can check the: Amount of weight loss needed to effect improvement in various conditions (Ryan, D. H., & Yockey, S. R., 2017).

  • Glycemic Improvement–Diabetes prevention in impaired glucose tolerance: 2.5% weight loss or more; maximal impact at 10%

  • Triglyceride reduction: 2.5% to >15%; greater weight loss associated with greater glycemic improvement; true for all BMI classes;

  • HDL increase: 5% to >15%; greater weight loss associated with greater glycemic improvement; not true for BMI >40 kg/m2

  • Apnea Hypopnea Index Improvement in Obstructive Sleep Apnea : 10%+ weight loss required for significant improvement

  • Knee pain and function in persons with osteoarthritis : 5–10% improves knee functionality, speed, walk distance and pain; >10% to improve IL-6 and CRP levels; knee MRI and X-ray findings do not change

  • Hepatic steatosis reduction: 5–15%+; greater weight loss associated with greater improvement

  • Impact of Weight on Quality of Life score : 5%–15%+; greater weight loss associated with greater improvement

  • Depression: 5–10% may reduce risk for emergent depression; individuals with depression lose as much weight as non-depressed individuals.

  • Sexual Function: 5–10% improves erectile function in men and sexual dysfunction in women

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and infertility : Improvement in ovulatory cycles and subsequent pregnancy with 2–5% weight loss, with more weight loss producing more improvements

Reminder: Reasonable and healthy weight loss is about 4 kg per month. Consult your clinical dietitian and doctor

Check this scientific article for more:

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