September 23, 2013

Diet As Effective As Surgery For Obese Diabetes Patients

For all those considering bariatric surgery, stop, don't. If you wish to find out what you will be able to eat, just get hold of a menu for what they are required to eat for the rest of their life and follow it for a month or more and this will tell you how diet restricted you will be. If you think you can follow this diet for the rest of your life, then the surgery may be for you. However, consider that you can obtain the same results as surgery by using the diet.

This is now proven in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and published in the journal Diabetes Care. Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, assistant professor of internal medicine and first author of the research, said:  "For years, the question has been whether it is the bariatric surgery or a change in diet that causes the diabetes to improve so rapidly after surgery. We found that the reduction of patients' caloric intake following bariatric surgery is what leads to the major improvements in diabetes, not the surgery itself."

Why people would undergo the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass bariatric surgery to achieve the same results is a puzzle for me. At least with the diet, you will have the opportunity to change lifestyles, especially exercise to help maintain weight loss instead of dealing with the restricted diet for the remainder of your life.

If you are considering gastric bypass bariatric surgery, be careful and do your homework as the surgeons are so anxious to take your money, they often do not tell you about the problems you may experience following surgery and sometimes for the rest of your life. Above all else, do your homework and find out for yourself what the problems may be as each person may react differently.

Because the surgery makes your stomach smaller, you will get full more quickly. This is the good part. The problems start occurring as the food may empty into the small intestine quickly and lead to dumping syndrome. This may cause diarrhea and make you feel faint, shaky, and nauseated. This can also make it difficult for your body to get enough nutrition.

This is where the surgeons and doctors often drop the ball and do not explain that the part of the intestine where many minerals and vitamins are easily absorbed is bypassed. With this, you may have a deficiency in iron, calcium, magnesium, or vitamins and this in turn can lead to osteoporosis. To prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, every source recommends working with a dietitian – not always the best as they will be promoting “big food”. I urge people to talk with a nutritionist or someone specializing in nutrition for bariatric surgery for best results as they will cover things more completely and also advise you which supplements are necessary since often you will not be able to consume enough food to make up for the loss of vitamins and minerals. Plus they will work to see that your doctor does test you for the vitamins and minerals to determine what needs to be supplemented. Vitamin B12 is often on the list as well.

Your doctor should, but often does not, give you specific instructions about what to eat after surgery. For the first month or longer, most doctors do not tell you it is necessary to avoid drinking liquids approximately 30 minutes before and after eating. You will of necessity need to eat slowly and chew your food very thoroughly as it will not have the stomach to depend on for breaking down your food. Also for about the first month you will be limited to soft foods and small amounts of food. Then you will need to sip water between meals to avoid dehydration.

It is common to not have regular bowel movements, but try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. Very slowly, solid foods may be added back into your diet. It is very important to chew all foods well and stop eating when you feel full. Not doing this may cause discomfort or nausea and sometimes you will vomit. If you drink a lot of high calorie liquids such as soda or fruit juice, you will not lose weight. If you continually overeat, your stomach will stretch and you will not receive the benefit from your surgery.

As you can see, there are many things to consider and many pitfalls to surgery. I believe it is advisable to develop the mind-set to use the diet approach and work to a low carbohydrate diet that you can stick to and avoid surgery.

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