London: Maintaining stability in losing weight is the biggest struggle for obese individuals. However, according to a new study, if a person can sustain weight loss for a year, his or her body can adapt to the new regime.
The findings showed that if an overweight person were able to maintain an initial weight loss – in this case for a year – the body would eventually ‘accept’ this new weight and thus not fight against it, as is otherwise normally the case when an individual is in a calorie-deficit state.
At the end of a successful year of weight loss maintenance, the blood glucose levels of two appetite inhibiting hormones (GLP-1 and PYY) showed an increase from the before-weight loss level.
In contrast, hunger hormone ghrelin, which reported an increase immediately after the start of weight loss, returned to normal levels.
This demonstrated that the hormones GLP-1 and PYY are well able to adjust to a new ‘set point’ and thus likely to facilitate the continuation of a new and lower body weight.
“We know that obese people have low levels of the appetite inhibiting hormone GLP-1.
The good thing is that now we are able to show that you can actually increase the levels of this hormone as well as the appetite inhibiting hormone PYY by weight loss and that the levels are kept high when you maintain your weight loss for a year,” said lead author Eva Winning Iepsen, doctoral researcher at University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
The findings of the study are detailed in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
“The interesting and uplifting news in this study is that if you are able to maintain your weight loss for a longer period of time, it seems as if you have ‘passed the critical point’, and after this point, it will actually become easier for you to maintain your weight loss than is was immediately after the initial weight loss,” explained one of the researchers Signe Sorensen Torekov, associate professor.
“Thus, the body is no longer fighting against you, but actually with you, which is good news for anyone trying to lose weight,” Torekov noted.
Twenty healthy, but obese, individuals followed an 8-week low-calorie powder diet and lost on average 13 percent of their body weight.
After the initial weight loss, the participants entered a 52-week weight maintenance protocol, which consisted of regular meetings with a clinical dietician with instructions on lifestyle changes as well as diet calendar tracking.