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Benefits of 5% Weight Loss

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Once you commit to losing weight, it is natural- and daunting- to start thinking about your end goals. But did you know that studies have demonstrated significant health benefits from just 5% weight loss? 

Refer to the chart below to find your 5% weight loss goal.

Starting weight (in pounds)5% weight loss (in pounds)Goal weight for health benefits (in pounds)
400 20 380 
350 17.5 332.5 
300 15 285 
250 12.5 237.5 
200 10 190 
150 7.5 142.5 

Benefits of 5% Weight Loss:

Improve Heart Health

  • Lower LDL cholesterol by 15%1 LDL is called ‘bad cholesterol’ because it causes plaque to build up in your arteries. Lowering your LDL will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Lower triglycerides by 20-30%1 High triglycerides increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and pancreatitis.
  • Raise HDL cholesterol by 8-10%1 The “good” cholesterol is HDL, and people with a healthy level are at a lower risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Lower blood pressure2 High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Better Blood Sugar Control

  • Lower insulin resistance2 People with insulin resistance cannot break down sugar for energy as easily as others.
  • Lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes by ∼30%4

What’s the takeaway message for you? Don’t think you have to “hit” your final weight to be healthy. Just 5% weight loss is more achievable, gives you metabolic health benefits (like heart health and diabetes), and encourages you to lose more.


Written by Amanda Herlocker MS, RDN, LDN

Owner of The Queen City Dietitian, LLC and Co-Author of Nutrition Focus at ModernWeigh

  1. Van Gaal, L. F., Wauters, M. A., & De Leeuw, I. H. (1997). The beneficial effects of modest weight loss on cardiovascular risk factors. International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders : journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity21 Suppl 1, S5–S9.
  1. Wing, R. R., Lang, W., Wadden, T. A., Safford, M., Knowler, W. C., Bertoni, A. G., Hill, J. O., Brancati, F. L., Peters, A., Wagenknecht, L., & Look AHEAD Research Group (2011). Benefits of modest weight loss in improving cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care34(7), 1481–1486. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc10-2415
  1. Van Gaal, L. F., Mertens, I. L., & De Block, C. E. (2006). Mechanisms linking obesity with cardiovascular disease. Nature444(7121), 875–880. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05487