Friday, July 24, 2009

What to Expect from your Weight Loss Surgery

In the last blog we talked about obesity and the problems some people face in overcoming the challenges of weight-loss. To continue on this topic, below is a bit of information on different weight-loss surgeries and what you can expect from your gastric bypass surgery or lap-band surgery overseas.

Weight loss surgeries for the most part are divided into three broad categories:

Restrictive procedures, such as lap-band surgery, which reduce the amount the stomach can hold
Malabsorptive procedures, which shorten the digestive tract
• A combination of restrictive and malabsorptive procedures. Gastric bypass surgery uses this method.

Gastric bypass surgery is the most common weight-loss surgery performed, followed by gastric banding surgery. Here are some tips on what to expect from each surgery:

Before surgery
Patients will need to begin consuming a special diet several weeks prior to surgery. The diet consists of high protein, low carbohydrate and fat foods that help prepare the body for surgery. Your doctor will provide details about which foods to consume or avoid.

Immediately after Surgery
After the surgery, patients normally spend two to three days recuperating in the hospital. Patients are only discharged when there is no more discomfort and pain, and when you are already able to keep down liquids or pureed food.

Changing Your Diet
Recovering patients will be on a liquid diet for a number of weeks after surgery. As you progress to a solid-foot diet, you will need to make good food choices and learn to avoid problem foods, such as high-fiber, high-fat, and dry foods, since these are more difficult for the small stomach pouch to digest. Good food choices include fruits and vegetables, lean protein, some bread and cereal, and some dairy products.

Gastric Bypass Patients: You will feel full very quickly as you switch to a solid-food diet since the new stomach pouch will initially hold only about a teaspoon of food. Although the pouch will eventually expand, it will only be able to contain around 1 cup of thoroughly chewed food as compared to a normal stomach’s capacity of up to 1 quart. Because of this, you will only be able to eat small meals throughout the day.
You will be required to take supplements to make up for the nutrients lost, since food will now move more quickly through the digestive system.

Lap-band patients will have to modify their diets to not drink liquids during or immediately after meals as they will flush food through the reduced stomach pouch, which eliminates the prolonged feeling of satiety needed to help you eat less. It is recommended to eat only three small meals a day and make sure that these meals contain adequate nutrients. Unlike gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding does not interfere with food absorption, so vitamin deficiencies are rare after gastric banding.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Americans Overweight than Ever Before

Did you know:

-2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese?

-In 30 states, 30% of children are obese or overweight?

-The rates of obesity have risen in 23 states over the past year?

Source: “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009,” Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

It’s clear that excessive weight gain is a growing problem in the U.S. In addition to the statistics above, the study “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009” found that NO states had a decrease in obesity rates from last year. Many analysts predict that obesity rates will only continue to rise with the recession; as food prices continue to climb, some will eschew paying a premium for fresh fruits and veggies and opt for the lower-priced (but nutritionally deficient) pre-packaged meals.

Saving money on groceries this way may be the easy choice, but is perhaps not the wisest choice. The health risks associated with being overweight are numerous, increasing the risk of ailments ranging from heart problems to cancer to arthritis. For teens, being overweight has been linked to increased rates of suicide.

So we know there’s a problem, but what is there to do about it? The obvious answer is to suck up the extra cost and prepare healthy meals with fruits and veggies. But for some, this solution may just be unfeasible, and no amount of dieting has ever worked. At this point, it may be time to run to weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass surgery or lap band surgery.

Weight loss surgery is not for everyone and should generally only be a last-resort solution. But if you’re one of those people unable to lose weight with conventional methods, this may be the best option to help you preserve your future health.

Stay tuned for our next post that goes into detail of what to expect from weight loss surgery.

Till then, stay healthy!