A little weight loss goes a long way
Forget about grandiose weight loss goals and start thinking small for big results. According to a new study published in the journal Cancer Research, overweight, pre-menopausal women who shed just 5% of their body fat have a better chance of decreasing their cancer risks, no matter how much they weigh.
Being overweight or obese has long been associated with an increased risk of many cancers. In fact, an estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the U.S is linked to inactivity or being overweight. What hasn’t always been known is why? Many experts believe that inflammation may be one of the possible culprits.
“We think that the inflammation produced in fat tissue and released into the blood stream might be, in part, responsible for the consistent associations seen between obesity and cancer,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, co-author of the study and director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Four hundred overweight women were divided into three groups – one group exercised, one restricted calories and the third group combined both. Researchers then examined the effects of these lifestyle changes on two biomarker proteins; C-reactive protein, which elevates when there is inflammation in your body, and Interleukin-6 which your body produces to regulate immune functions.
The women who both dieted and exercised experienced the biggest reductions in inflammation with close to a 42% decrease in their C-reactive protein and a drop of just over 24% in their Interleukin-6. The diet only group saw substantial changes as well. However, women who only exercised saw little to no change on their inflammation biomarkers. McTiernan believes this may be because exercising without dietary modifications does not produce the greatest fat loss results.
Even minor body fat loses seems to influence risk, which is good news for everyone out there struggling with their weight.