Bariatric surgery is performed on people who are dangerously obese. Techniques include gastric banding, gastric bypass, or sleeve gastrectomy, which reduce the size of the stomach in various ways.
According to Science Daily:
“A total of 6,953 bariatric procedures were carried out during the study period. The number of procedures rose more than ten-fold from 238 in 2000 to 2,543 in 2007.”
The prospect of losing weight can be daunting if you are obese. Typically, a healthy weight loss goal will be one or two pounds a week, which may sound like an insignificant amount if you have 80 pounds or more to lose.
Further, many people who are obese have been struggling with their weight for a lifetime … which makes the prospect of losing weight quickly via surgery a very tempting option.
And there's certainly no shortage of people desperate to shed their excess pounds as easily as possible. Remember that one-third of the U.S. population is obese and in some states one-third of the people are obese.
As rates of overweight and obesity continue to climb, so have rates of bariatric surgery. In fact, the use of weight loss surgery has increased 10-fold since 2000.
Now, according to Reuters, gastric banding is a $300 million to $400-million market, and manufacturers are eager to expand it to over a billion dollars a year as soon as possible.
Think Twice Before Going Under the Knife to Lose Weight
Weight loss surgery, which includes gastric banding and the more invasive gastric bypass, may seem like a quick fix, but it is NOT a safe solution because of the many negative long-term health consequences inherent with either of these surgical options.
Over 40 percent of weight loss surgeries result in major complications within six months, including black-outs, malnutrition, infection, kidney stones, bowel and gallbladder problems, liver failure, and, worst, an increased risk of death.
In case you skimmed the last paragraph let me state that again in different words.
Nearly HALF of those having the surgery have MAJOR complications.
In fact, whereas all surgeries have inherent risks, bariatric surgeries seem to have a much higher ratio of complications. In fact, you are far more likely to suffer an adverse event from these types of surgeries than not.
According to LapBand.com, one American clinical study that included a 3-year follow-up reported that a staggering 88 percent of gastric banding patients experienced one or more adverse events, ranging from mild to severe.
Gastric banding consists of surgically inserting a band around the top section of your stomach, and cinching it into a small pouch. Common complications from gastric banding included:
- Gastroesophageal reflux, 34 percent
- Band slippage and/or pouch dilation, 24 percent, (which means you'll need another surgery)
- Stomach obstruction, 14 percent
- Esophageal dilation and reduced esophageal function, 11 percent
- Difficulty swallowing, 9 percent
- Leaking or twisted access port into the stomach, 9 percent
- Band eroding into the stomach, 1.3 percent, which requires band removal
The complications are often so debilitating that patients opt to have the bands removed completely. In the study noted above, 25 percent of the patients ended up getting the lap band permanently removed, two-thirds of them due the adverse events suffered.
This is another important point that you need to understand before the surgery. ONE IN FOUR of the patients who had the surgery had the bands removed.
Whereas gastric banding is at least reversible, gastric bypass is not. In this procedure, a section of your small intestine is typically removed entirely, and your stomach is reconnected further down your intestine, bypassing the duodenum.
Your duodenum -- that first section of your small intestine -- is responsible for the majority of nutrient absorption. Hence malnutrition is a common concern after this type of surgery.
So with half of the patients having major complications, and one-fourth of the people actually having the band removed, logic would dictate that this is simply not an acceptable alternative to obesity. Especially since it in no way, shape or form even begins to address the underlying cause of the problem.
My guess is that sometime in the future this medical procedure will be prohibited from ever being done and any physician who performs it will have his license reprimanded or revoked.
Bariatric Surgery Condemns You to a Lifetime of “Food Jail”
Even if you were to be one of the fortunate few who makes it through bariatric surgery without significant side effects, you are not home-free from there.
Remember, the surgery has significantly modified portions of your digestive system in ways that nature never intended. As a result, you can kiss your old ways of eating goodbye.
Now, I am all for making changes toward a healthier diet, but some of the guidelines expected after bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass are incredibly restrictive.
According to the Barrington Bariatric Center, not only will you need to exist on a diet of solely pureed food for at least two weeks, but even in “Stage 2” of your transitional post-surgery diet you may only be able to eat 2 ounces of ground chicken breast before feeling full.
A Completely Unnatural, and Unhealthy, Way of Eating
Because gastric bypass involves stapling your stomach into a pouch that’s only a half-ounce in size, it literally cannot hold much. This means you’ll often be eating meals that are sorely lacking in nutritional requirements.
A small opening is also created to allow food to empty slowly from the pouch. Because the opening is so small (made this way deliberately to keep the small amount of food you’ve eaten in your stomach longer, making you feel “full”), food must be chewed very thoroughly or it won’t be able to fit through the opening, leading to vomiting.
You’ll also be instructed to eat the protein portion of your meal first, because you very well may get too full to fit in a vegetable or anything else. Even liquids must be restricted for up to 45 minutes before and after a meal, lest they take up what little space you have to consume actual food.
And, as you might suspect, because bariatric surgery patients can consume very little roughage, constipation is often a problem. It is even described as “normal” to have a bowel movement only once every two or three days!
Hair loss and muscle loss are also common after the surgery -- both signs that your body is not receiving proper nutrition. If this, plus constipation and vomiting are not enough to make you think twice, you should also know that certain foods, including tomato sauces, mayonnaise, fruit juice, dressings and others, will lead to “dumping syndrome,” aka cramps, nausea and diarrhea.
By the way, snacking is expressly forbidden after gastric bypass, you’re only allowed three small meals a day, and you may have to write off certain foods entirely because your body just can’t digest them anymore. This includes:
- Red meats
- Membranes of oranges or grapefruit
- Skins of fruits and vegetables
- Fibrous vegetables such as celery and sweet potatoes
- Chili and other spicy foods
If these “guidelines” sound a bit restrictive, it’s because they absolutely are. The procedure severely limits the amount of food you can consume, and the rapid weight loss that follows is essentially the natural effect of forced starvation. You cannot eat more than a tiny amount because it will make you physically sick.
Weight Loss Surgery Still Depends on YOU Modifying Your Behaviors
In the short-term, weight loss surgeries do produce significantly greater weight loss compared to lifestyle modification alone. But unless you address the emotional aspects of your eating, you could very easily stretch your stomach to again be able to accommodate increasing amounts of food, effectively negating the entire surgery.
There will also be changes asked of you both before and after weight loss surgery. Many centers will require that you exercise after the surgery, and prior to the surgery that you stop smoking, drinking soda and eating fast food. Many will also require you to lose weight prior to the surgery!
If you can lose weight for that, you can continue on and reach a healthy goal weight without any type of medical intervention whatsoever. Since success depends on your ability to modify your behavior anyway, why not simply modify your behavior without going through the surgical procedure and taking all those health risks?!
How to Lose Weight Without Surgery
I guarantee that modifying your lifestyle to achieve safe and effective weight loss -- through a healthy diet and exercise -- is going to be FAR easier, and more effective, than the rigorous starvation routine you have to follow post weight loss surgery.
The healthy lifestyle that will help you to reach your ideal weight naturally requires just three basic steps:
- Eat a healthy diet that's right for your nutritional type, paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down, primarily by avoiding fructose as much as possible.
When you eat for your nutritional type, you eat the foods that are right for your biochemistry, and these are the foods that will push your body toward its ideal weight. (By the way, these foods may be high in fat, high in carbs, heavy on protein or heavy on veggies, it all depends on YOU).
- View exercise as a drug. When you're trying to lose weight, a casual walk here and there is not going to cut it. There are a number of routes you can go here, but ideally, you need to exercise each and every day.
It is simply impossible to optimize your health and weight without regular exercise. Very few of us have active enough jobs to meet our movement requirements so we need to “exercise” to substitute for the fact that someone else is growing our food for us, and doing all the manual labor that our ancestors used to do, including using cars instead of our feet to get us around.
Fortunately, there's a highly effective exercise strategy that can dramatically reduce your workout time and maximize your weight loss; it's called Peak Fitness.
- Manage your stress. Tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are your friend and ally when it comes to losing weight. For some, emotional eating is more complex and an experienced EFT practitioner may be able to help unravel some of your deeper emotional issues that are impacting your weight.
This plan is a veritable piece of cake compared to going through an invasive, risky surgery and then trying to adhere to an incredibly restrictive post-surgery diet.
Best of all, as you transition over to this new healthier lifestyle, both your mind and body will flourish, triggering weight loss and bolstering the natural processes that will protect you from a number of chronic diseases and health problems down the road.