Fat Fiction Fat, lies and measuring tape


Barbaric bariatrics

They tie a knot in your stomach like this. Probably

In years to come, they're going to look back on gastric band stapling as something akin to medieval torture, I swear. Gastric band is supposedly the last resort of obesity; you get so fat you staple the stomach to stop people eating. The positive is - they stop eating, and lose weight. The negative? Requirements for tons of vitamins to compensate for the loss of absorption in the GI tract, plus hundreds of tales of general misery (google away for tales of woe).

So, whenever you hear positive stories about gastric band surgery, you can bet your big mac that there's some vested interests at play. And so today, a report comes out that type 2 diabetes falls in gastric band surgery. Who's behind these findings eh? The National Bariatric Surgery Registry.

It's like asking weapons manufacturers how we should solve international disputes.  Funny enough, they always have the answer that involves nuking the nearest city. What the NBSR neglected to say in their publicity is that 12% of patients develop depression after gastric band surgery. But leaving that aside for a moment, something interest about what happens to gastric band patients:

patients who undergo gastric bypass have been shown to feel hungry less often after the operation, eat fewer meals and snacks per day, and voluntarily reduce their intake of calorie dense foods such as fats, high-calorie carbohydrates, high-calorie beverages, red meat, and ice cream. These alterations occur despite the fact that patients report no change in their perception of the deliciousness of high-calorie carbohydrates (i.e., sweets) or in their overall enjoyment of food. This finding suggests that other mechanisms beyond gastric restriction contribute to the loss of appetite and body weight caused by gastric bypass.

Hmmm. So by taking part of the GI tract out of operation, people are feeling less hungry. This isn't to do with feeling full, this is actually wanting less food.

This got me thinking. I firmly believe that lack of nutrients are behind obesity, and processed food and sugar is what drives it. The first statement is contentious I know, the second, increasingly most people agree. But there's something more.

So far, because the links between white flour, sugar and obesity are so strong, and because it had such a dramatic effect on me, I've assumed that phytic acid plus damage to the GI tract lining was responsible, which in turn leads to loss of asbsorption of key nutrients (driving hunger). But... while I think that plays a part, if it was the full story, would cutting it out have such an immediate impact? It couldn't be instant reparation of the GI tract could it?

What if bacteria were feeding off the nutrients you needed to burn body fat/regulate body weight?  There's already microbes specifically related to obesity so it doesn't seem that far fetched to me.

What do you reckon?

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  1. Whack out a bunch of carb like “high-calorie carbohydrates, high-calorie beverages, … and ice cream” and chances are, you’ll be less hungry because you won’t have spiking and falling blood glucose. It seems fairly common among low-carbers to be able to go all day without eating, if the LC blogs I read are any indication. I observed something similar when I started my low carb diet last year: before, with a protein/fruit shake for breakfast, I was starving two hours later. Now, with just a chai latte plus vitamins for breakfast, I’m full until midday. Some critics of low-carb diets say that the diets work because people voluntarily reduce their calories…as if that’s worthy of criticism.

    Whack a bunch of fat our of your diet, and it can make you depressed. Been there, too.

    Another part of feeling full is how distended your stomach is. Maybe that’s what initially makes these patients feel less hungry.

    If the patients are taking a gaggle of antibiotics after surgery, that could affect gut bacteria.

    • Hey Lori, this is where it might – I think – all start tying together. Most processed foods are carbs, and if there was something microbial that was feeding off these foods and your body’s nutrients, cutting them out would make perfect sense. Then – a knock on effect would be dying off of these microbial foods, followed by a decrease in appetite, ability to regulate glucose (because of increased availability of nutrients). Maybe. Just maybe.
      Hope you’re doing great.

  2. Perhaps there is also the placebo effect at work. People used to have internal mammary surgery for heart disease. No more.

    “A sham operation was compared to ligation of the internal mammary arteries in patients with angina pectoris. Patient improvement was identical. The exercise electrocardiogram was not altered by either procedure.”


    And yet…

    “CONSIDERABLE relief of symptoms has been reported for patients with angina pectoris subjected to bilateral ligation of the internal mammary arteries.1 2 3 4 ”


  3. “Watching the C4 series “Embarrassing Fat Bodies” one of Bariatric Surgeons commented that part of the purpose of the operation was to limit the stomachs ability to release hormones. The only gastric hormone I can think of is of course ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” However there would appear to be very much more to ghrelin, due to its neurotrophic properties (it can enhance learning and memory) in addition to stimulating growth hormone. Ghrelin has also been shown to assist in the recovery of spinal cord repair. I tend to agree with you. I think gastric band surgery is a barbaric operation, that must indeed by highly lucrative for the surgeons that perform it. People really need to be taught how to deal with ghrelin, and indeed “rejoice” in its effects, so to speak. By the way found your excellent blog from the gnolls.org site, which made me look at ghrelin in an entirely different way. Before I’d regarded it as a bit of nuisance for making me feel hungry!”

    • Hi Paul,
      I watch about 5 mins of tv a week, but I randomly saw a bit of EFB. They’re not joking either – I tuned in when I big woman was akimbo coughing and following through pissing to prove she had a prolapsed vaginal wall. OK! We get it!
      I actually know someone who had gastric band surgery. She swore by it but I can’t help thinking it’s going to disappear once we get right to the root cause of obesity. Fascinating about the neurotrophic properties of ghrelin – I had no idea. Possible unknown side effects of gastric bands – forgetfulness and impaired learning… Surely diets have to be better.

  4. I would say alot of what they medical community calls procedures for health are barbaric, chemo theapy for one, gastric bypass for obese, hysterectomies etc all because they hate to admit they have their theories all wrong on the causes of the problems so they try to force the body to comply to their bias. this is barbaric. so much for enlightenment, no better than the so called shamans or those whom they term quacks.

    frankly the medical community and those who support it have blood on their hands. they are responsible for the deaths of millions of people not the mention the suffeirng tha went with it, and it is all perfectly legal if still downright unlawful. while they do some good that doesn’t excuse the bad. it all comes down to a willingness to change one’s perspective and goals as new knowledge is gained and old ones are proven wrong. trouble is pride tends to get in the way and money too.


    • My experience is pretty different Rose. Most of the medical people I know are well-grounded, open-minded and necessarily sceptical. Like any industry it has its share of belligerent egotists, fraudsters and fakers, but they’re quick to root them out and usually – hang them out to dry. Which is a good thing. But where the medical profession has come a cropper is with prevention. Diet forms virtually no part of a GP’s training in the UK, and yet it’s one of the key preventative measures of ill health. Because of this lack of knowledge, all kinds of shills have raced into to fill in the gaps, and all kinds of wrong cures get doled out to solve ones that should have been prevented in the first place.

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