A study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that commercial weight loss programs may not necessarily work for diabetic patients. While these programs have resulted in promising effects to some type 2 diabetic patients, more research is still needed before including it to a diabetic’s health regimen.

Apparently, earlier research that recommended weight loss for patients only based its effects after incorporating strict lifestyle interventions as well, such as strict diet and coached exercise. This is impractical to all since these interventions are inaccessible to many type 2 diabetics. On the other hand, while commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers may be more accessible, many diabetics, particularly those in other countries than the US, cannot afford it.

Moreover, previous studies did not take a look at the commercial weight loss programs’ glycemic benefits. Glycemic benefits are the positive consequences on a person’s blood sugar concentrations.

weight loss programs

Aerobics class. Credit: Marshfield Area YMCA

The study published on May 26 in the journal Obesity Reviews involved analyzing previous research about the benefits of commercial weight loss programs.  The research team found that most of the previous studies did not assess the effects of the weight loss programs on an individual’s blood sugar. However, those that did actually did not substantiate their findings.

The researchers concluded that commercial weight loss programs still need to be backed up by more intensive studies to spare a patient from spending a fortune on something that may not actually work. People have to shell out hundreds of dollars each month to join a commercial weight loss program because apparently, it is not covered by insurance.

In the US alone, weight loss programs were estimated at a value of $60.5 billion or AU$ 82.5 billion back in 2014. The team adds that further investigations about the weight loss programs’ glycemic effects are still needed before physicians start recommending them to type 2 diabetics.