The Many Medical Benefits of Weight Loss

Medical weight loss helps you lose the pounds and restores health.

We are constantly told about the importance of losing weight. Every day our news feeds are filled with encouragement to “shed those pounds” in order to improve your life and your health. By now we all know that maintaining a healthy weight is good for you, but few people understand why. Today, we are going to explain some of the specific health risks of obesity and the medical benefits of weight loss. 

Type 2 Diabetes: 

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes the blood sugar level to become too high. Like Type 1 diabetes, this can lead to serious health complications like kidney failure, increased risk of heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and sight loss. 

It’s well known that people who carry extra weight (especially around their middle) have an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  This is because an excess of body fat causes inflammation which interferes with the function of insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar). This link between weight and glycemia is so strong. In fact, the link is so strong that only a small amount of weight loss improves adipose insulin sensitivity. An analysis by Hamman from the American Diabetes Prevention Program showed that every kilogram of weight lost by individuals with glucose intolerance correlated with a 16% reduction in the risk for the progression of diabetes. This study showed similar results across all genders, ages, and ethnicity groups.

The studies on this topic are clear: the greater the weight loss in high-risk groups, the better the glycemic outcomes. This doesn’t mean that you should ditch your medication. Instead consider adding the medical benefits of weight loss to your existing prevention and treatment plans.

Cardiovascular Disease: 

In addition to diabetes, BMIs above 25kg/m2 is associated with a higher risk of cardiometabolic disease. In other words, heart problems. This is because excess weight is correlated with clogged arteries caused by a buildup of plaque, LDL cholesterol, and other fatty substances. This also means higher cholesterol, higher blood sugar, hypertension or low blood pressure, and adds stress to the heart. 

The good news is, weight loss can lower many of the risk factors. Multiple metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors improve weight loss as low as 5% (like with diabetes) and increase even more with weight loss between 11% – 16%. 

Weight loss decreases plasma concentrations that are risk factors for heart disease, and improves inflammatory markers. Blood pressure and cholesterol improve, leading to a healthier heart. 

Hepatic Steatosis:

Hepatic Steatosis, aka “Fatty Liver Disease”, is another serious risk of excess weight. According to the Nation Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), this is due to the “Portal Hypothesis” which states that free fatty acids released from visceral fat stores go directly into the portal vein. There they cover the liver and contribute to the abnormal lipid profile and insulin resistance. This same theory explains the connection between extra weight and Type 2 Diabetes and Non-Alcoholic Steatotic Hepatitis (NASH). 

The good news is that one of the many medical benefits of weight loss is reduced fat from the liver, and improvement in NASH activity scores. As with the other disease risks listed above, as little as a 5% weight loss shows a decrease in fat around the liver. A 10% to 15% loss in weight translates to clinical improvement of NASH conditions as assessed by a liver biopsy. 


If you experience joint pain, your weight may have something to do with it. The excess of weight puts a physical strain on your body, especially on the lower extremities. This stress causes the knee (and other joints) to wear down. This is why obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. 

The Look AHEAD study found that weight loss of 10.6% (the average weight loss of the study participants) produced “significant improvement” in pain, function, IL-6 levels and quality of life. Weight loss cannot reverse the damage already done to the joints, but it can slow further damage and decrease the symptoms. For this reason, researchers recommend early treatment and greater weight loss to prevent the onset of damage to the joints.

Sleep Apnea:

The seam physical strain that causes joint pain may also be impacting your sleep. Extra weight can increase the fat around the neck and lead to obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. If you feel like you aren’t getting good sleep, this may be the cause.

Research suggests that more than 80% of participants with type 2 diabetes also had mild to severe sleep apnea. In those same studies, weight loss of 10kg or more showed the greatest improvement in symptoms (as measured by the apnea hypopnea index). A weight loss of at least 10% is recommended for an impact in clinical symptoms. The relationship between weight loss and sleep apnea symptoms appear to be proportional, meaning the greater the weight loss, the better results will be. 

Reproductive Health and Sexual Disfunction:

The medical benefits of weight loss can also have a positive impact on the reproductive health of both men and women. The Look AHEAD study showed that sexual function was increased by lifestyle intervention. For men, there was an improvement in erectile function. In women, improvements in menstrual regularity and fertility were seen at just 2%-5% weight loss. Even more evidence showed that symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) decreased, while pregnancy and the rate of successful live births increased with 5%-10% weight loss. 

Overall, the research suggests that excess weight impacts sex hormones in the body. This leads to a decrease in sex drive, and may also be the cause of some of the ovarian issues listed above. Losing the extra weight appears to have a positive effect on those same hormones, while also increasing energy level and self-confidence. The bottom line is, weight loss can have a positive effect on your sex life. 

Weight loss can be difficult, but there are many medical benefits to consider. The research suggests that even a small amount of weight loss can improve our health, with greater benefits as weight loss continues. You can improve your health and your quality of life starting today. Contact one of our weight loss specialists at Wieghless MD to get started on your weight loss journey.