Same Health Benefits with Fast or Slow Weight Loss Interview with:

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD
Associate Professor
York University
School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Sherman Health Science Research Centre, Rm 2002
Toronto, Ontario  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Traditionally, weight loss is prescribed at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week.  However, this is largely based on the observation that weight losses faster than 2 pounds per week put patients at an increased risk for gallstones.  It is unclear whether this is the optimal rate of weight loss for CVD or diabetes outcomes. Furthermore, fast weight loss has historically thought to be associated with poorer long term weight loss.  However, this was largely based on research using liquid diets.  Recent evidence suggests that faster weight loss may be similar to slower weight loss when more sensible lifestyle interventions are used.  Thus, if there are additional benefits of faster weight loss for CVD or diabetes outcomes, then there may a rationale for prescribing faster weight loss as the overall rate of gallstones is fairly low.

We observed that those who lose weight faster than 2lb/wk tend to lose more weight overall, but for the same overall weight loss, there is no difference in terms of health benefits with fast or slow weight loss.  What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Given the risk for gallstones and no additional health benefits with faster weight loss, trying to lose weight at the recommended one to two pounds per week is the safer option.  What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: I think we need to develop weight management strategies that better help people achieve sustained weight loss at the recommended one to two pounds per week rate. This will help to minimize the risk for gallstones while maximizing the benefits for CVD and diabetes risk.

No Disclosures


Jennifer L. Kuk, Rebecca A. G. Christensen, and Sean Wharton, “Absolute Weight Loss, and Not Weight Loss Rate, Is Associated with Better Improvements in Metabolic Health,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2019, Article ID 3609642, 6 pages, 2019.

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Last Updated on March 10, 2019 by weightcontrol