Diets might be working for some, but they aren’t working for everyone. More than 70 percent of U.S. adults age 20 or older are overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
If diets haven’t worked for you and you’re considering weight loss surgery, don’t let the myths surrounding these procedures stop you from investigating how they could change your life. This article shares scientific findings that debunk those myths and demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of weight loss surgery.
Myth 1: Weight loss surgery is unsafe
Any surgery carries a degree of risk with it, but bariatric surgery is generally safe – and the long-term benefits are striking. Take a look:
- According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the risk of death within 30 days of bariatric surgery is just 0.13 percent, or about one in 1,000 patients.
- Now let’s look at hip replacements, another common procedure. A study published in Bone & Joint Research shows it has a .30 percent risk of death within 30 days of the procedure, or three in 1,000 patients.
Additionally, a study presented at the 2016 European Obesity Summit shows that obese patients who do not have bariatric surgery are more likely to die than patients who have the surgery, over a five-year tracking period. The study followed nearly 49,000 patients; 22,581 had the bariatric surgery, and the remaining did not.
- The mortality rate among the non-surgery group was significantly higher (4.1 percent) than the surgery group (1.1 percent).
- Most of the non-surgery group died of heart disease and cancer.
- The results suggest that weight loss surgery reduces the risk of mortality from obesity-related diseases.
Myth 2: Patients just regain the weight after surgery
This is one of the most prevalent myths. The truth is, about 50 percent of patients will regain a small amount of weight (about five percent of the weight they lost) two years or more after surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
However, a November 2016 JAMA Surgery investigation found that patients who underwent bariatric surgery – particularly Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, in this study – lost 21 percent more of their baseline weight in 10 years than nonsurgical patients. The study concluded that bariatric surgery produces long-term weight loss among obese patients.
Myth 3: Surgery is the easy way out – people need willpower
Just eat less. Just work out more. Right?
Of course, those things are vital. But according to a 2015 study published in the Obesity Research and Clinical Practice Journal, factors other than diet and physical activity contribute to one’s weight. According to Harvard Health Publications, these factors include:
- Whether your mother smoked or had diabetes during pregnancy
- If you were breastfed
- Stress and the presence of emotional disorders
But, there is good news – a systemic review of 1,376 articles published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that five to 25 years after weight loss surgery, there is a significant improvement in physical and mental health among people who had surgery compared to people who didn’t have surgery.
Myth 4: Bariatric surgery isn’t covered by insurance because it’s considered cosmetic
Following weight loss surgery, you may look better, but you also experience marked health improvements from weight loss, including a reduced risk of death from type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Some insurers and Medicare will pay for weight loss surgery, including bariatric, gastric sleeve and Lap-band procedures, particularly if your excess weight is putting your health at risk.
If your doctor has diagnosed you as obese or overweight and it’s threatening your health, check with your insurer to see if weight loss surgery is covered. You may still have a co-pay or partial payment, but you may be able to get a substantial amount of the surgery paid for.
Myth 5: You’ll never eat ‘real’ food again
This simply isn’t true, and the Mayo Clinic confirms it. After healing, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to eat a healthy, normal diet, unless you have specific food sensitivities.
After weight loss surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions as you heal and get used to a smaller stomach. Here are a few tips to help you feel comfortable and lose weight:
- Eat and drink slowly to reduce the risk of digestive upset
- Eat small meals frequently, about a half a cup to a cup of food
- Begin with softer foods, such as soft-boiled eggs, softer fruits and cooked vegetables
- Chew food thoroughly
- Drink non-carbonated liquids between meals
- Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar
- Try one new food at a time
As you can see, the most common myths are just that – myths. The statistics and scientific research indicate that not only is medical weight loss surgery safe, but it’s an effective long-term weight loss solution.
If you have questions about bariatric surgery or wish to schedule a consultation, contact Soma Weight Loss.