Friday, February 13, 2015

Big Push for Weight Loss surgery

Tom holds photo of his daughter who died shortly after her gastric bypass - parents of patients who die or become sick, suffer very much for years after

In case you haven't noticed, there has been a big push for Weight Loss surgery in the mass media.  A Fox News article announced that "diet and exercise may not be enough to lose weight" and goes on to state that the "only proven effective treatment for obesity in the long term, is surgery."  Proven?  Hardly.  While it's true that about 5% of dieters can keep off the weight, having surgery only increases that percentage by 2% i.e. 7% of bariatric patients can keep their weight off (Mayo Clinic study, Swedish Obesity study and several others).  Hardly worth reconfiguring the digestive tract in a very unnatural manner which will deny the person much of their digestive ability.

On TV, the old "Big Medicine" shows have been regurgitated under the title "My Weight is Killing Me".  This show, although more honest about how surgical patients have to diet and exercise after surgery (which works, by the way, without surgery), still portrays surgery as "the only way" for people who are clinically obese.

Another show, "My 600 lb life" produced by Dr Younan Nowzaradan, MD (a bariatric - weight loss surgery surgeon), portrays patients who are 600 - 700 lbs - all of them "need" surgery, of course, according to the show... and after they slim down with surgery to a "svelte" 400 or 500 lbs, their lives are supposedly saved.  The show seems to ignore that weights of 400 and 500 lbs are still considered clinically obese, only now after surgery, the patient is not digesting some 100 micro-nutrients (like zinc, etc) which we need on a daily basis to stay healthy.  Not withstanding the patient after a gastric bypass is also not digesting well, macronutrients like proteins and fats.

Interestingly enough, a recent show about a lady named Susan, followed her as she lost 150 lbs before surgery and then, after surgery (gastric bypass), very little more weight and very slowly.  One wonders why they didn't just tell her to go home and continue what she was doing instead of mutilating her stomach and bowel... Well, I guess that's a no brainer - the surgeon takes home $5000 bucks (at least) with every surgery.... so if s/he does five surgeries a week - that's one a day with 2 rest days, his/her weekly pay is $250,000.00!  People have done odd things for far less money than this.

Several studies including some 30 year studies on 30,000 people by the Cooper Institute, have found that it's not weight that endangers health but rather lifestyle and that anyone with a healthy lifestyle (i.e. making healthy food choices most of the time and exercising at least 5 days a week for 20 minutes or more) can live a long life even if their weight is in the obese or clinically obese range.

That being said, Dr Rudy Leibel pointed out that obesity is mostly genetic (60% genetic).  Also being from a family where several relatives were or are overweight, I can attest to the fact that most lived long healthy lives - without having their digestive tract surgically altered.

One of my husband's cousins is celebrating her 80th birthday - she has been clinically overweight all of her adult life and totally healthy (well, in her late 70's, she had a hip replacement surgery).

There are some advantages to calorie restriction - for me, my severe GERD goes into remission as long as I mildly calorie restrict but to say "everyone" needs a digestive tract which no longer works well, is not logical...  We did not get overweight because our GI tract worked and so rendering it somewhat non- functional will only add to the original problem... another no brainer.

If you are considering Weight Loss surgery, please visit this website....  (  It gives informed consent information about weight loss surgery - you will find it quite different from what you see on TV but then, remember, TV is for entertainment, not for good education!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Gastric Sleeve revisited

The sleeve gastrectomy is the popular procedure these days.  Those promoting this surgery suggest it's safer than the gastric bypass because no bowel is bypassed.  But the problem with the procedure is that in order to promote weight loss, surgeons must cut away 90-95% of the stomach, leaving a remnant about twice as long as your thumb and the same size.

True to the "conspiracy of silence" about weight loss surgery, the dark side of this procedure has been mostly not told.

But as the procedure gets more popular, the dark side is emerging.

Some patients are beginning to tell their stories and there is a very dark side to this surgery - one patient mentioned that it's very difficult to get in even the minimum of 6 glasses of water daily and describes the shock of seeing brown urine (extremely dehydrated and hard on the kidneys). 

This makes sense because this procedure retains the lower stomach valve but the tiny thumb sized stomach doesn't really conduct the peristaltic wave very well so perhaps the valve which is dependent on the muscular movement of the stomach, doesn't really work very well (probably why they did not include it in the gastric bypass).  A swallow or two fills the tiny stomach and takes a while to empty - think of the difficulty of swallowing water slowly, a swallow or two at a time and it becomes a real chore just to get even a glass or two of water in, during the day.

Additionally, the tiny stomach likely does not do much digesting of either proteins or fats (we do need some fats) or calcium or B12.

Finally, patients describe a constant and very serious case of GERD or gastric reflux and well as problems with leaks and "fistulas".  The tiny size of the stomach would also tend to cause a detention of the esophagus, a problem seen in the gastric bypass also.

If the patients keep the weight off, it's by starvation and / or dehydration and/or illness - this is anything but healthy!

Patients should realize that doing something unhealthy is not worth getting the weight off - especially as there is no reversal possible of this procedure since the part of the stomach removed is discarded
The sleeve gastrectomy is a permanent change to the stomach in other words...

Bottom line, all that glitters is not only not gold but may not even be really glittering when you live with it... Caveat Emptor - or "let the buyer beware".