Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gastric bypass - the holy grail of weight loss surgery?

The holy grail of weight loss, is hoping that somehow food will not appeal to us so we will lose weight.  A new study states that weight loss long term ( 10 years) is better after gastric bypass than after getting the lap band.  And why is this?  Because food is not as appealing to gastric bypass patients, the researchers found.

Well, true, a good percentage of gastric bypass patients get reactive hypoglycemia which means you feel really crummy after eating a plethora of foods, not just sweet stuff. (The patients refer to this type of becoming ill as "dumping")

The problem is, if you are getting sick after eating and you lose weight, that doesn't really count.  Because cancer patients and terminal AIDS patients also lose weight from being sick, but it's so not worth getting sick to lose weight.

What they are hoping you don't know about is for one, the Roslin study which found that 3 months after a gastric bypass, the appetite comes back worse than before surgery in many patients.

This clinical study of 63 gastric bypass patients (that means the researcher, a gastric bypass surgeon himself, actually examined the patients), also found that many of these patients had "glucose abnormalities" which would, in part, explain their voracious appetites.

Bottom line - to lose weight by getting sick after you eat?  Life is just too short for that one, you may well find.  5% of people on non surgical diet nutritional programs can keep off the weight.  7% of weight loss surgery patients (all surgeries, several studies) can keep off the weight.  But that extra 2% which isn't very much of a differential, is counting those with "glucose abnormalities" and other health problems after weight loss surgery.

Dr Terry Simpson tells us that success with Weight Loss surgery (any procedure) is 10% the surgery and 90% the patient.

So after taking rather serious and sometimes life threatening risks to have one's digestive tract rearranged, you can see that it is not very much more effective in keeping off weight than is a non surgical program.

Looking at things this way, the seeker should also be aware that merely embracing a healthy lifestyle of mostly wise food choices and cardio exercise 5 days a week will keep you healthy at any weight.(Lee CD, Blair SN, Jackson AS. Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999 Mar;69(3):373-80)

Ask yourself, in view of the foregoing, is weight loss surgery really worth the risks?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We get angry letters sometimes....

We get angry letters sometimes ...

Wayne B, a gastric sleeve patient (and I would bet a "new op") writes the following:

Regarding the concern about nutrient absorption. You don't absorb nutrients in your stomach.. You absorb them in your small intestine and that is not touched by the surgery. Sue W rabbits on about here six years worth of success being enough o prove her point but demands ten years of success from a WLS recipient. Bit of a hypocritical double standard. on gastric sleeve story

Wayne, if you do not DIGEST food in your stomach then you cannot absorb it in your gut.  You digest proteins and fat in the stomach ... And vitamin B12. Before you get so self righteous, wait ten years... Wait until you get post gastrectomy syndrome... I've never met even ONE long term patient who was happy they had the surgery but because they get so much flack from the Weight loss surgery community, many are afraid to speak out...did you ever wonder why there is such a high rate of suicide among weight loss surgery patients or have you not read about that one yet?

Wayne further writes...

"SueW. You sound like a bit of a self righteous b*tch but hey thats your choice. I tried everything, and I mean everything so don't come back with some Whica health drink BS. Gastric sleeve saved my life so how about you crawl back into your health nut whole and leave people who are trying the best they can alone. on gastric sleeve story"

(Note I have left Wayne's original spelling! :) :) ) My word, Wayne, why so defensive that you feel the need to be ad hominem (that means insulting in case you wondered!).  I'm trying to get informed consent to folks like you because I have met countless patients who find about the repercussions of weight loss surgery, after the fact.  About 50% of those who know the risks, will go ahead and have surgery...the other half will skip it... (especially when they find out they need to diet and exercise to keep losing weight or at a lower weight!)  People deserve to know if there are any deal-breakers in the repercussions.  Many people who have surgery think they won't have to count calories etc to keep slim and nothing could be further from the truth.  The more invasive the procedure, the longer a patient might lose his/her appetite but when it does heal, the appetite comes back, with vengeance.

I've been in this for 14 years and from what I've seen, most of the folks who really hawked the surgery, as pre ops and new ops, when they start getting sick, (and often regain the weight), they get quiet and don't warn pre ops about what could happen after surgery.

Bottom line, no weight loss surgery saves your life...YOU save your life!  As Dr Terry Simpson says, "Success with weight loss surgery is 10% the surgery, and 90% the patient!"

And successful weight loss surgery patients do exactly what we non ops do. ...they journal or keep track of their food intake and exercise... Keeping weight off is work on a daily basis whether people have had surgery or not.  But in addition, weight loss surgery patients have to have frequent expensive blood work, drink protein shakes to avoid protein deficiency and take a lot of vitamins in addition to logging their food and exercising.

A sobering fact... A friend of mine who weighs in excess of 550 lbs says she's outlived 48 of her friends who had weight loss surgery.

According to the few studies which have looked at long term patients, only 2% more of wls patients keep off the weight they've lost.  That is 5% of people keep the weight off without surgery.  And 7% of weight loss surgery patients keep off all of their weight.

There is no such thing as "life saving weight loss surgery"... People save their lives, not any weight loss surgery.  Please don't fall for the used car hype!