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You May Want To Pass This By

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I was in the bathroom the other morning, getting ready for work.  Beloved was in another room watching Good Morning America (because, being a man, he is usually ready before I am).  I was half listening to the program, when I heard my better half let out a long, protracted and agonizing “NNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  AAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!”

This is what was on:

Yes, you will have to sit through an inane advertisement, but please do – and watch the madness.

So, gastric bypass surgery can “cure” diabetes.  Really?  If that’s true (and many health experts doubt it), it’s because YOU CAN’T EAT ANYTHING AFTERWARDS.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.  According to mayoclinic.com‘s page on gastric bypass surgery, this is diet prescribed to weight-loss surgery patients (all emphasis mine):

Phase one: Liquid diet
You won’t be allowed to eat for one to two days after your gastric bypass surgery so that the staple line in your stomach can start to heal. After that, while you’re still in the hospital, you’ll start a diet of room temperature liquids and semisolid foods to see how you’ll tolerate foods after surgery. The foods you can eat include:

  • Broth
  • Unsweetened juice
  • Milk
  • Strained cream soup
  • Sugar-free gelatin

During phase one, sip fluids slowly and drink only 2 to 3 ounces (59 to 89 milliliters, or mL) at a time.

Phase two: Pureed (ground up) foods
Once you’re able to tolerate liquid foods for a few days, you can begin to eat pureed foods. During this two- to four-week-long phase, you can only eat foods that have the consistency of a smooth paste or a thick liquid, without any distinct pieces of food in the mixture (baby food, y’all!!). To puree your foods, choose solid foods that will blend well, such as:

  • Lean ground meats
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Egg whites
  • Yogurt
  • Soft fruits and vegetables.

Blend the solid food with a liquid, such as:

  • Water
  • Fat-free milk
  • Juice with no sugar added
  • Broth
  • Fat-free gravy

Keep in mind that your digestive system might still be sensitive to spicy foods or dairy products. If you’d like to eat these foods during this phase, add them into your diet slowly and in small amounts.

Phase three: Soft, solid foods
With your doctor’s OK, after a few weeks of pureed foods, you can add soft, solid foods to your diet. If you can mash your food with a fork, it’s soft enough to include in this phase of your diet. During this phase, your diet can include ground or finely diced meats, canned or soft, fresh fruit, and cooked vegetables.

You usually eat soft foods for eight weeks before eating foods of regular consistency with firmer texture as recommended by your dietitian or doctor.

Phase four: Solid foods
After about eight weeks, you can gradually return to eating firmer foods without pureeing them. You may find you’ll have difficulty eating spicier foods or foods with crunchy textures. Start slowly with regular foods to see what foods you can tolerate.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!  No!!  After you’ve incorporated “firmer foods” into your diet, you still have to do the following:

Avoid these foods:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Dried fruits
  • Sodas and carbonated beverages
  • Granola
  • Stringy or fibrous vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, corn or cabbage
  • Tough meats or meats with gristle
  • Breads

It’s possible that foods that irritate your stomach at first may become more tolerable as your stomach continues to heal.

Let’s not forget that you’ll only be eating about a total of 2 – 3 cups of food each day once you’ve completely healed, which can take months.

Oh, and you know what else you’ll likely never be able to eat again?

SUGAR.

A very common side-effect of gastric bypass surgery is dumping syndrome, a condition where stomach contents move too quickly through the small intestine causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and sweating.  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?  It’s caused most often by drinking liquids with meals and/or eating foods containing sugar and/or large amounts of fat.   Another strike against the procedure as far as I’m concerned – you’ll be on a very low-fat diet for the rest of your life.  This is particularly bad, since the surgery leaves your body with a decreased ability to absorb nutrients from your food, so you must take supplements.  Every day.  For the rest of your life.  The lack of fat in the diet makes this even more dangerous, since many essential vitamins – A, D, E, K – are fat soluble and you won’t be eating much, if any, fat.

Of course, the video above doesn’t even touch on the dangers of gastric bypass surgery:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Gallstones
  • Bleeding stomach ulcer
  • Hernia at the incision site
  • Kidney stones
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Leaking at one of the staple lines in the stomach
  • Narrowing of the opening between the stomach and small intestine
  • Blood clots in the legs
  • Death

Yes, death.  Death is a risk in any surgical procedure, but according MSNBC “The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in Gainesville, Florida, puts gastric-bypass surgery’s death rate at between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 200.”   I don’t know about you, but I don’t like those odds.

Even if you don’t die, you “could be in for a world of intestinal discomfort…4 in 10 patients developed complications within the first six months, including vomiting, diarrhea, infections, hernias and respiratory failure. Up to 40 percent of gastric-bypass patients can suffer nutritional deficiency, potentially resulting in anemia and osteoporosis; seizures and paralysis have been reported in extreme cases. Some of these malnourished patients experience bizarre neurological problems…”

Reading things like this makes me especially angry at the segment on Good Morning America – oh!  Just have surgery to fix it!  Everything will be all sunshine and rainbows and butterflies afterwards!  They don’t talk to people like a friend of mine who lost 40 pounds in a little under 6 weeks following her surgery because she threw up every time she ate anything at all.

If you want to get a handle on your diabetes, you have to change your lifestyle and you don’t have to go through life and health-threatening surgery to do it.  Simply change the way you eat – cut out sugar, grains, vegetable oils and soy out of your diet.  Learn to cook, give up processed crap and eat whole, natural foods, including plenty of healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow and olive oil.  You will lose weight and you will get your blood sugar under control.

You don’t have to believe me, though.  Next Friday I should have a guest post by my young diabetic friend who is a walking, talking, breathing testament to this.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday


21 comments

Be says:

You missed some of the things that upset me the most about this:

1) Causation! What caused the weight loss, removal of half an organ or the diet? Had she gone on the diet (or a better one) in the first place that the self inflicted procedure required her to in recovery she wouldn’t have needed the surgery.

2) GMA pretended that this was based on “experts” and presented the Chief of Bariatric Surgery – sure, there is no bias there. And as you pointed out as is so common, never an opposing position. Oh, and don’t even suggest that their “staff doctor” is anything but a Dr. Oz wannabe.

3) GMA went further to suggest how terrible it is that not all insurance plans cover this $20,000 – $30,000 procedure. Is THIS what we have to look forward to under socialized medicine? Should my insurance dollars, let alone tax dollars pay for a voluntary surgery that really is nothing more than self inflicted mutilation? Should their fellow stakeholders (in insurance or government) pay the elevated costs of the horrid side effects of this procedure?

I think not.

If you live and eat dangerously and expect a quick fix to your problems, all the power to you and your self illusions, but pay for it on your own dime.

Sorry to rant, but GRRRRRRRRR!

Jan says:

Don’t be sorry – rant away. You articulated those points better than I could have, anyway.

chuck says:

I know 3 people who have had gastric bypass or banding. One was my uncle. He was told to eat a lot of protein after his surgery. That type of diet would certainly help with diabetes. Interestingly, 2 of the 3 people I know who got it, are now obese again.

Jan says:

Chuck, that’s another thing that peeved me about this whole thing on GMA – no mention whatsoever of how many people just regain the weight. And I believe your experience is pretty normal: it’s at least 2/3 of the patients.

Sigh. I heart you. I wish more people would realize that the benefits come with such huge drawbacks.

Jan says:

There isn’t ANYTHING achieved by bariatric surgery that can’t be be achieved much more safely (and almost as quickly in some cases) by a change in diet and exercise. NOTHING.

Lisa says:

Oh give me a break. You have to wonder, did they have ANY perspective?

Jan says:

In a word – NO.

Linda says:

What Be said.
Plus…(because I can’t just let it go). Should I have risky/life threatening surgery, (BTW a former boss had this surgery and DIED!) take pills for the rest of my life AND maintain a seriouly restricted diet? Or skip the surgery have my jaw wired and eat all my liquid, no fat meals through a straw for the next 3 months? No? Maybe I should just get off my ass, learn to cook healthy, balanced meals and take up walking everday?
Sorry for the rant but I am SO with you & Be on this.

Mama Badger says:

Well, there goes my plan for a diet of Twinkies and Yoohoo and the surgery to fix it all. Geez, Jan, way to burst that bubble.

What’s killing me right now is that everyone is demanding “honesty” and “transperancy” from financial people, who only deal with money. But very few are screaming are demanding it from doctors and the food industry, who deal with our lives. So, what our elected officials are saying is, money is more important than health. Hmmmm.

Jan says:

Sorry about the Twinkie and Yoohoo thing, MB.

I’d love to see more transparency in our food system – it’s one of the reasons I’ve started sourcing 90% of my food locally. Will it last? Not if the USDA and FDA have anything to say about it. It’s going to be interesting watching that town in Maine that’s declared “food sovereignty” – will they be allowed to keep it? One can only hope.

You mean the government that subsidizes corporate farming and corn production with the farm bill? That government?

Linda says:

for me this is a “no shit, sherlock” moment. LOL

Jan says:

LOL – yes, indeed.

To me, gastric bypass should only be a last ditch effort to save someone’s life. (As it was for my brother in law, who would have died from obesity without it. He has now been thin, and extremely fit and healthy for several years post-surgery.) I don’t understand how anyone could consider such a major, extreme, surgery under other circumstances. (Lap band surgery, which is less extreme than gastric bypass, is all the rage here.)

Jan says:

Then your BIL is one of the lucky few – 40% of patients develop horrible complications (Google bariatric beriberi) and many bypass patients gain a lot, if not all, the weight back. I have a friend that had lap band – far less risky than bypass surgery – and damn near died of a side-effect she wasn’t even warned about.

Erin says:

This is why television is evil. Particularly the newsertainment side of things. Dumbasses.

Jan says:

To be perfectly honest, I loathe television. The only reason my TV exists is to hook up a DVD/Blu-Ray player and however many gaming systems my sons choose to play at any given time. Network television is horrid and the news is even worse. I love the term “newsertainment” – entirely apropos.

Anne Gibert says:

I shelled out $10,000 to pay for lap band surgery for my morbidly obese granddaughter (she is 4″ 10″ and weighs about 300 lbs). She said, “Granny, you saved my life.” That was 3 years ago. Today she is as fat as ever. When I try to talk to her about it she just shrugs her shoulders and says, “I have an eating disorder. It’s like drug addiction. Nothing to be done about it.” Then she munches away on candy and cookies all day. She isn’t diabetic yet, but it will come.

Jan says:

Anne, does she really believe that there is no help for those with drug addictions – or eating disorders?

Frankly, if she eats sugar all day, her problem is more akin to drug addiction than an actual eating disorder. And there is plenty that can be done about it. She just needs to give it up. Easy? NO. But it can be done, and her life will be better for it.

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