And we may fundamentally have to adjust our expectations and focus on attainable medical benefits such as improvements in the level of "good" cholesterol and blood sugar. Even modest weight loss translates to real benefit in terms of how well the body metabolizes sugar; it takes only about a 7 percent weight loss to see as much as a 58 percent improvement in the risk of progressing from prediabetes to the full-blown disease, says Ryan. And even with future drugs, weight loss of just 10 percent may be the most reasonable target. "These drugs are not for cosmetic reasons," she says. "They're not for being the Biggest Loser."
[Read about the potential hazards of over-the-counter weight-loss products.]