Saturday, April 24, 2010

One more reason NOT to get bariatric surgery


Bariatric surgery--the practice of deliberately mutiliating the gastric anatomy in order to lose weight--is being pushed harder than ever these days. The latest claim: it cures Type II diabetes instantly.

Not so fast. Apparently the issue is more nuanced than that. Researchers at the University of Washington recently found that people whose fasting blood glucose levels came down after having the surgery were still spiking diabetes-level glucose levels after meals.

The money quote:

"I don't think the procedure cures whatever it is that's causing diabetes in the first place," said Arthur Chernoff, MD, chair of endocrinology at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, who wasn't involved in the study.

SHocking, isn't it? Fat may not be the only cause of diabetes.

In fact, the weight-diabetes link is one of doctors' strongest arguments against fat acceptance and health at every size. Bariatric surgery is very serious business--and I mean that in both senses of the word. It's a multimillion-dollar industry based on the premise that it's a good idea to take out part of your guts--forever. Once you've had the surgery, your body is unable to process nutrients the way it used to. You may or may not become thin (some people lose weight only to regain it after); you may or may not experience some of the serious complications of the surgery; you will be permanently malnourished.

And now you may not have an instant cure for Type II diabetes after all. Because the equation may be a bit more complex than fat = bad, thin = good.

9 comments:

Ashley said...

I always thought it was already known that diabetes doesn't just come from fat...but I guess some people didn't realize that.

Deja Pseu said...

The argument that excess weight causes diabetes just makes me nuts! It's far more likely that some of the metabolic processes that make some people more likely to gain weight are also making them more likely to become diabetic.

Personally, I think low-fat/high-carb diets may eventually be implicated. I've known a few people who became type II diabetic later in life. None of them were overweight, but almost all of them followed a LF/HC diet, including lots of "white" foods.

vesta44 said...

I've been questioning this ever since I've heard it touted that WLS "cures" type 2 diabetes. I'm not a scientist or a doctor, or even a nutritionist, but even I can figure out that WLS might change fasting blood glucose but not do anything for post-prandial blood glucose numbers. After all, type 2 diabetes is about insulin resistance, which happens in the cells, and I don't see how WLS could affect insulin resistance, especially if a type 2 diabetic thinks they're "cured" and quits counting carbs and doing all the other things they did to control their diabetes before the WLS.

familyfeedingdynamics said...

I also noted on Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution that the Dad that died from "obesity" actually died from complications of WLS...

Anonymous said...

Bravo! You are so right. Ive had Gastic Bypass Surgery and have regained the weight plus and extra 50lbs. The surgery fast-tracked my fibromyalgia symptoms and has left me chronically malnourished. Hope this helps someone else.

Rita said...

Misinformation scares me, period and common sense isn't so common. I know two ppl who had the surgery and watched them throw up when they were transitioning back to food and would overeat by accident. It's scary to watch. One has regained the weight and the other regained 20lbs or so.

When will people realize that weight isn't usually about the food. I think the processed garbage that we call food has a lot to do with it. Those white foods for sure and that brown rice and whole wheat bread are not of the devil. The body does need carbs to function, just the right ones.

Great post.

kcd said...

Great article, and important. I wanted to clarify one medical thing: only gastric bypass induces lifetime malabsorption of nutrients. Lap banding cannot do so as it does not involve the small intestine or any other parts of the gut. (unless, of course, complications occur, which of course they do sometimes. ). I'm against both, but g-bypass is hugely worse for the body than lap band, which is a mechanical means of food intake restriction.

lisalgreer said...

I JUST saw a huge article on how people should have GBP in a major magazine. Ugh. I believe folks like me (termed obese) are sugar sensitive... or react to certain foods differently than others (see Kathleen Desmaisons' work). I am using balanced nutrition and IE to work on my nutrition and weight/health. It's going well for me so far. I will NOT have gastric bypass!!

Erin said...

Read the first link, the third comment on the bottom -- that person's 'solution' to this problem is to just refer people for bariatric surgery sooner. Because apparently, making you live with permanently mutilated inner organs for even longer is absolutely the best course?!