By Dr. Mercola
If you're significantly overweight, you may feel you'd be willing to do anything to get the weight off, even resorting to surgery. And with rates of obesity skyrocketing -- two-thirds of all U.S. states already have obesity rates exceeding 25 percent -- the use of bariatric (weight loss) surgery has increased 10-fold since 2000 in some areas.
But before you decide to go under the knife, you must understand the risks involved -- and know that they can be severe and even deadly. Due to complications from weight loss surgery, the woman in the video above lost both of her legs, while others, like 55-year-old Paula Rojeski, have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives!
These are not rare events.
Since 2009, five people have died after Lap-Band surgery from one group of weight loss clinics in California alone. Please understand that you, too, could be forced to make a similar sacrifice if you opt for weight loss surgery, which is especially tragic because there are safe ways to lose weight that can help virtually everyone. You don't need to risk your life, or your limbs, to achieve your weight loss goals!
Nearly Half of Weight Loss Surgeries Result in Major Complications
All surgeries have inherent risks, but bariatric surgeries seem to have a much higher ratio of complications. In fact, nearly 40 percent of patients who undergo weight loss surgery experience major complications, including:
✓ Band erosion
✓ Kidney stones
✓ Bowel and gallbladder problems
✓ Liver failure
✓ Increased risk of death
✓ Abnormal band expansion
Complications occur for both types of surgery, gastric banding and the more invasive gastric bypass. Gastric banding consists of surgically inserting a band around the top section of your stomach, and cinching it into a small pouch. This is often touted as a simpler, less invasive procedure to gastric bypass, and whereas gastric banding is at least reversible, while gastric bypass is not, the complications are often so debilitating that patients opt to have the bands removed completely.
A study published earlier this year found that:
- Nearly 50% of patients required removal of their bands
- Nearly 1 out of 3 patients experienced band erosion
- 60 percent needed to undergo additional surgery
As such, the researchers had no choice but to conclude:
"LAGB [laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding] appears to result in relatively poor long-term outcomes."
Even according to LapBand.com, one American clinical study that included a 3-year follow-up reported a staggering 88 percent of gastric banding patients experienced one or more adverse events, ranging from mild to severe. Common complications, from gastric banding included the following -- and keep in mind that excess weight increases your risks even further, which means everyone who undergoes weight loss surgery is at even greater risk:
✓ Gastroesophageal reflux
✓ Band slippage and/or pouch dilation
✓ Stomach obstruction
✓ Esophageal dilation
✓ Reduced esophageal function
✓ Difficulty swallowing
✓ Leaking or twisted access port into the stomach
✓ Band eroding into the stomach
One in 50 Die after Gastric Bypass
Would you risk an elective surgery if you knew you had a one in 50 chance of dying within 30 days? This is the actual risk reported for gastric bypass surgery by a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. You had also better hope that your surgeon knows what he or she is doing, as risk of death was associated with surgical inexperience. Within the surgeon's first 19 procedures, the odds of death within 30 days were 4.7 times higher!
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, hence the name "gastric bypass." Your duodenum -- that first section of your small intestine -- is responsible for the majority of nutrient absorption. Hence, if you make it through the surgery, malnutrition is a common concern after this type of surgery.
You should also know that once you receive this surgery, you will not be able to eat normally for the rest of your life. 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.
Gastric Bypass Will Wreak Havoc on Your Digestive Processes and Ability to Absorb Nutrients
Gastric bypass involves stapling your stomach into a pouch that's only a half-ounce in size, so it literally cannot hold much. The idea is that you'll feel full faster, since your stomach will be unnaturally tiny, but it also 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. 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. Snacking is also expressly forbidden after gastric bypass, as 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.
- Red meats
- Membranes of oranges or grapefruit
- Skins of fruits and vegetables (this is where the bulk of the antioxidants are!)
- Fibrous vegetables such as celery and sweet potatoes
- Chili and other spicy foods
This is simply NOT a healthy way of eating, and the long-term implications are just as severe as the short-term risks. Likely because of the related malnutrition, a possible link between gastric bypass surgery in adolescent girls and an increased risk for neural tube defects, which can lead to varying degrees of disability such as paralysis and mental retardation due to damage to the nervous system, in their future children has been revealed. People who receive bariatric surgery also more than double their risk of fractures, and are about three times more likely to break a hand or foot than normal.
A FAR Better Alternative -- Lose Weight in Three Steps
Overall, 75 percent of American adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are currently obese or overweight … and weight-loss surgery centers are seeing dollar signs as their customer base keeps rising. But you can count yourself out of these statistics, and spare yourself from the potentially serious and even deadly consequences of weight loss surgery, by losing weight naturally. I believe there are three primary recommendations that could make all the difference in the world for most people.
- Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet
- Increasing healthy fat consumption
- Engaging in Peak Fitness exercises
In terms of your weight, calories from fructose are just about as bad as they come, as they will turn off your body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") nor stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"), which together results in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.
My recommendation is to keep your total fructose intake below 25 grams of fructose per day if you're in good health, and below 15 grams a day if you need to lose weight.
Fructose is also "isocaloric but not isometabolic," according to Dr. Robert Lustig. This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. This is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate.
This is why counting calories alone is often not enough to lose weight successfully!
When you eat according to my nutrition plan, most people will lose weight without counting calories at all because it's all about eating the proper ratios of the right types of food. This includes eating healthy sources of fat, because eating healthy fats is conducive to weight loss.
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they actually slow down your food absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry.
Case in point is the fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), found in grass-fed beef and full-fat raw dairy products from grass-fed cows (raw butter, raw milk, raw-milk cheese, etc.), which is associated with reduced body fat and weight. Again, you can get all the details of a healthy diet that will naturally propel you toward your ideal body weight by reading through my comprehensive nutrition plan.
The foods you choose to eat will be the driving force behind successfully achieving your weight loss goals, but exercise is still important, especially the right type of exercise. It's important that you are engaging in high-intensity activities like Peak Fitness exercises, which engage a certain group of muscle fibers that you cannot engage through aerobic cardio. Engaging these muscle fibers causes a cascade of positive health benefits, including improved fat burning, and you only need to do them for 20 minutes, three times a week.
There is simply no need to resort to surgery for weight loss -- virtually everyone who restricts their carbohydrate consumption (including fructose, sugar and grains), increases their intake of healthy fats, and engages in proper Peak Fitness type of exercises will slim down safely and naturally, and enjoy better health and increased longevity because of it.