Bariatric Surgery: Benefits Beyond Slimming Down

A new study following severely obese participants out to six years after gastric-bypass surgery shows that they had higher rates of diabetes remission and a lower incidence of developing diabetes, compared with nonsurgical controls.

Bariatric Surgery

More than 500 million people worldwide are obese, according to the World Health Organization. Other research in the journal found that children with high levels of bisphenol A, a chemical in consumer products, were twice as likely to be obese and that some types of body fat are more dangerous than others.

Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in relation to height – of at least 40, or at least 35 if they also have co-occurring health problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea. Overall, baraitric surgery comes with less risk than lap band surgery. If you are also considering lap band surgery read this article from The Bariatric & Metabolic Center of Colorado first.

Bariatric surgery works in three basic ways:

  • Restricting how much food your stomach can hold at any time
  • Preventing your digestive system from absorbing all the nutrition in the food you eat
  • A combination of these two ways.

Bariatric surgery causes weight loss mainly by forcing you to eat less. After surgery, you simply can’t consume enough calories to keep your weight up. With a tiny stomach pouch, overeating is physically impossible, or at least extremely uncomfortable. Also, what little you do eat gives a long-lasting feeling of fullness, so you tend to eat less frequently.

Mal-absorption may discourage you from eating greasy or sugary food. Bypassing part of the small intestine prevents some fat from being digested, causing severe diarrhea. Eating food with high sugar content can cause an attack of nausea, gut pain, and diarrhea known as “dumping syndrome.”

  1. Diet Management: People who’ve had bariatric surgery learn to change their diet to avoid these side effects. Doing so rules out many foods that are also high in calories. Focus on low-fat, low-sugar and low-calorie foods and continue to count your calories every day. Try to meet your serving goals for all food groups based on the 900 to 1,000 calories diet plan. To stay well hydrated, drink at least 2 liters of water or non-caloric fluids daily, unless this is contraindicated due to a medical condition.
  2. Significant Remission of diabetes: At six-year patient follow-ups, three quarters of people who’d undergone gastric bypass surgery had lost at least 20 percent of their pre-surgery weight and kept it off, researchers found. Following up with the participants of gastric bypass known as Roux-en-Y. Two years later, dramatic results were found. Those who had the surgery experienced a roughly 35 percent weight reduction—for many as much as 100 pounds or more under their baseline weight—whereas the control groups remained extremely obese. Even after six years and without other interventions, the patients who had the surgery were still about 28 percent lighter on average than before and experienced improved quality of life scores compared to the control groups. Stunningly, the procedure lead to at least an 80 percent reduction in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and a 20-times larger chance that existing diabetes would go into remission. Diabetes sufferers have higher rates of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney and nervous system disorders and amputations
  3. Weight Loss: A significant weight loss was observed, which was largely maintained at almost 28% out to six years, which is pretty major given that many cardiovascular studies that have looked at behavior modification have shown about a 6% to 7% weight loss.
  4. Lowered risk of Hypertension: Severely obese patients experience significant, long-term improvements in blood pressure as they lost substantial amounts of weight after gastric bypass surgery, according to a new University of Pittsburgh study. Half of the study patients were classed as hypertensive prior to gastric bypass surgery. The patients who were not being treated for hypertension prior to surgery experienced significant blood pressure decreases that continued to remain low 18 months after surgery.
  5. Hormonal Changes: Favorable changes  have been observed in Ghrelin, an endocrine hormone that stimulates appetite, and in GLP-1 and GIP, two gastrointestinal hormones that increase the amount of insulin released after eating.
  6. Improved Quality of life: People who had undergone surgery had much better quality of life later on than people who did not have the surgery. The improvement in their quality of life depended on how much weight they lost and also on their overall mental and physical health. Those who had the surgery reported that they were better able to function in daily life and to get exercise than those who did not have surgery.

Bariatric Surgery

General Dietary Guidelines after Surgery

  • Eat balanced meals with small portions.
  • Follow a diet low in calories, fats and sweets.
  • Keep a daily record of your food portions and of your calorie and protein intake.
  • Eat slowly and chew small bites of food thoroughly.
  • Avoid rice, bread, raw vegetables and fresh fruits, as well as meats that are not easily chewed, such as pork and steak. Ground meats are usually better tolerated.
  • Do not use straws, drink carbonated beverages or chew ice. They can introduce air into your pouch and cause discomfort.
  • Avoid sugar, sugar-containing foods and beverages, concentrated sweets and fruit juices.
  • For the first two months following surgery, your calorie intake should be between 300 and 600 calories a day, with a focus on thin and thicker liquids.
  • Daily caloric intake should not exceed 1,000 calories.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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