fbpx
Category

Body weight regulation

ww_dieting

Dieting -warning issued..!

By | About obesity, Best Weight, Body weight regulation, Food and drink, News

Virtually all our patients have tried to lose weight at some point before they eventually come to us. The stricky thing about all the calorie counting/dieting (“just move more and eat less…”) is that it seems to work at the beginning -you lose weight the first 1-2-3 weeks. Then sooner or later there will be a plateau phase, followed by a gradual weight gain, as a rule, to a higher final weight than the one you started at. The biological cause is the body’s internal weight thermostat (“set point”), which we told in more detail about in previous posts (see, for example, this blog from us, this article from Baribuddy or this information film). The result is that the risk of weight gain within five years after a diet is 95-97%. (This risk is something that the dieting industry never tells you about. And for obvious reasons: they have a turnover of 300,000,000 SEK per year in Sweden alone.).

Yo-yo dieting

The end result, weight down and then up again, is what you call “yo-yo-dieting”. But is it that simple? “Yo-yo” indicates that you easily regain your weight after a diet, but also suggests that you may not have very much to lose – the worst thing that can happen is that you are back on “square one”. Or?

… set point up

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. What typically happens after a failed diet is that the brain’s set point is elevated by 2-5-8 kg (you regain more than what you lost in the beginning). Thus, the dieting triggers the brain to want to weigh even more. Most patients we meet describe how the first half of their gained weight probably came from genes + environment + a trigger (knee injury, smoking cessation, disease, etc.) -but that then the repeated yo-yo diets themselves pushed up the brain set point the remaining extra kilos. A diet risks triggering the body’s defense against starvation, and afterwards the set point is even higher. (It would therefore have been better to avoid the diet and instead accept the original weight.)

Permanently altered biology à la Biggest Loser

The next problem is that several of the mechanisms that counteract weight loss never disappear – even though you regain weight. The most famous study of this was done in the United States on a season of Biggest Loser participants. The study measured the contestants’ metabolism as well as various weight hormones before competition (when they had a large body), at the end of the competition (when they had done massive weight loss) and six years later (when all but one had regained all the weight again). Results: metabolism and the saturation hormone leptin were -as expected -clearly lowered immediately after the competition. What surprised however was that six years later, despite weight regain, the participants still had a lowered metabolism and lowered leptin(!). Dieting had thus permanently impaired the weight physiology of the participants.

Yo-yo dieting causes a change in body composition

For example, if you lose 10 kg with any traditional diet, you have not lost 10 kg of adipose tissue; you have probably broken down 7-8 kg of adipose tissue but at the same time 2-3 kg of muscle mass. Less fat is good, but less musculature is definitely not good. When you then regain the kilos back, let’s say 12 kg up, then in the worst case it is 12 kg of adipose tissue –no muscle mass. Failed dieting thus remodels the body’s composition for the worse. If you imagine that a person living with a large body makes repeated diets maybe 5-10 times in life, then you understand better why muscle pain, fatigue and impaired strength is so common -the person has lost more and more muscle mass.

… and lower self-esteem

In the end, we have the psychological aspect: repeated failure at weight loss is extremely psychologically stressful for the person himself. Most people blame themselves for weight failure (you have “lack of character” and so on) and people around them (often including health care staff) indirectly confirm this by agreeing, or not contradicting.

Dieting -warning issued!

Thus: one can defend the idea of one serious weight loss attempt through changing lifestyle habits or some type of diet program. This is to see what your particular set point for weight in the brain “accepts” regarding weight loss: 3-5% of us have a set point that is more flexible (and one can then imagine that weight loss can persist even in the long run). The other 95-97% will have a fixed set point corresponding to their higher starting weight -thus it will be a yo-yo effect. If you experience this, repeated new dieting attempts are potentially dangerous to your health: set point will be pushed upwards more and more, the body metabolism will be lowered and the level of saturation hormones will be lower, your body will be remodelled to less muscle mass and you will feel worse and worse psychologically. Better if possible to accept the weight you have and instead try to avoid further weight gain (here the concept “Best Weight” can be used, read more about this here). The alternative will be to choose treatment methods that lower the brain’s set point, i.e. medical treatment or obesity surgery.

What we are strongly opposed to is the almost reckless view of diets as something where the customer has “nothing to lose”: weight loss advertising and products are marketed through pharmacies, tabloids, commercial operators online, apps on the phone – but also by the health care system itself. This as a rule without the slightest warning about the risks we reported above, and never ever with information about what set point is. This problem needs to be highlighted and discussed more in society in general. Feel free to share!

Dieting

Gastric bypass surgery, pros and cons

By | Body weight regulation, Operating methods

The gastric bypass (GBP) operation has actually been around for more than 50 years, the American surgeon Edward Mason published “Gastric bypass in obesity” in 1967. The first decades this was open surgery, nowadays it is always laparoscopic. We have gained the most knowledge about the long-term effects of the operation from the Swedish SOS study (Swedish Obese Subjects study). In SOS, a small proportion of patients had gastric bypass surgery, the rest had had gastric banding surgery or a VBG. Gastric banding and VBG (vertical band-reinforced gastroplasty) both had the same principle in common, so-called “restriction”. In plain language: make the stomach smaller, so the person with obesity is forced to eat less and lose weight.

Now, however, gastric bypass proved to be in every way superior to banding and VBG in SOS and upcoming studies; it produced better weight loss and more other positive effects on health: including highly effective treatment of type 2 diabetes (even at BMI less than 35).

Gastric bypass effective

Why was gastric bypass more effective than the older methods of banding and VBG? All three procedures give the operated person a smaller stomach, but gastric bypass is different as it at the same time fundamentally counteracts the body’s own defense against weight loss: a GBP leads to the body’s so-called set point for weight (our “weight thermostat”) in the brain being lowered towards normal levels. This is achieved via a variety of positive hormonal effects in the body, which in itself come out of the intestinal bypass that is done during a gastric bypass (but not during banding or VBG). You could say that the operation has its main effect on the brain – even though you only operate in the abdomen!

Gastric bypass benefits

What are the benefits of a gastric bypass operation? It is extremely well proven and over the years refined. We know very well how a GBP should be performed technically by the surgeon. The operation provides very effective weight loss and it lasts a lifetime. You get health effects at all levels (life is extended on average 6.7 years, it is effective treatment of type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea syndrome, osteoarthritis, PCOS, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, gout and more. In women, the risk ofdying from a cancer ishalved .).

… and cons

What are the disadvantages? Yes there is initially about 3% risk of serious complications (mainly bleeding and leakage). These can be remedied but often require new surgery. The long-term surgical risk is ileus (in this case also called mesenterial herniation) which comes from changing the anatomy of the small intestine during bypass surgery. Ileus results in acute blockage of the intestine and one must seek emergency medical care. They can be cured, but require a new operation. In the past, this was relatively common, the risk was 5-10%, while today it is prevented at the initial operation (one “closes the mesenterial defects“). Today, the risk is instead 1-3% approximately. Other more medical disadvantages are the risk of dumping (lowering of blood sugar and blood pressure after eating certain foods), increased sensitivity to alcohol and impaired vitamin uptake. The latter is easy to prevent with vitamin supplements -but studies prove this to be difficult to maintain for life for patients (who otherwise feel excellent as a rule and perhaps have lost their previous medicines…). More about both pros and cons can be found in the annual report from the Swedish Obesity Surgery Register SOREG.

Gastric bypass or gastric sleeve?

In recent years, gastric bypass has had a “cousin” namely sleeve gastrectomy (SG). We will talk more about this in the upcoming blog. Which of the two is best? Well, both are excellent, both have disadvantages. Exactly when which of them is “best” … we actually don’t know for sure. This is being studied in Sweden via the BEST study (where GB Obesitas is involved).

Want to know more? Join us for the next information meeting!

Sleeve gastrectomy -operation, pros and cons

By | Body weight regulation, Operating methods

Gastric sleeve is the alternative name of this operation. It began to be performed in 1988, then as open surgery and as the first half of a more extensive surgery in severe obesity (biliopancretic diversion with duodenal switch). In the late 1990s, sleeve gastrectomy (SG) began to be made laparoscopic and after the turn of the millennium it was increasingly realized that a sleeve “alone” without subsequent bowel disconnection performed well for effective weight loss. After this, gastric sleeve quickly gained a rising popularity and is today the most common obesity surgery in the world, in Sweden it accounted for 45% of all obesity operations in 2018.

Why did sleeve gastrectomy quickly become so popular? Firstly, it is easier for a surgeon to learn (you avoid the intestinal disconnections in a gastric bypass operation), it is perceived as “milder” than bypass with less risk of dumping and no postoperative ileus.

Gastric sleeve mechanisms of action

How does a sleeve work? It is a gastric operation, where you surgically remove 85% of the stomach (you remove the “outer curve” of the stomach). However, you do not operate at all on the intestine. Removed part of the stomach is taken out of the body. There are several mechanisms of action: at the beginning it is clearly restrictive, i.e. the stomach is very small and limiting. In the long run, however, the effect on our hunger hormones is central; just as with gastric bypass, a gastric sleeve lowers our set point for weight in the brain stem to more normal levels. The daily routines required after an SG are the same as after a bypass -you have to adapt to the new anatomy of the stomach, as well as what you can now tolerate or can not tolerate eating and drinking: 5-6 small meals per day, at least 1.5 L of water per day, be physically active and take daily vitamin supplements.

Sleeve gastrectomy pros and cons

This is an excellent operation,as well as with bypass, it has pros and cons. There have been some misconceptions about sleeve gastrectomy; sometimes it has been described as “being able to eat the cake and still keep it” (i.e. gain effective weight loss without having to exert so much, avoid dumping risk and not have to take vitamins) which is definitely incorrect: a sleeve operated person needs to do their daily routines in exactly the same way as a bypass operated one. Exactly when a sleeve is the best to choose we do not know (that’s why GB Obesitas is included in the BEST study). But the following has been our view based on clinical experience so far:

Gastric sleeve does not result in any increased ileus risk, unlike gastric bypass. You generally don’t become as dumping sensitive (which is a bit for better or worse, some patients like that they can dump sometimes). Vitamin uptake is impaired, but probably less pronounced so than after a bypass.

The disadvantages are the risk of worsened reflux symptoms (heartburn, acid reflux) and unclear long-term effect on weight. The operation is also not possible to restore to normal anatomy. However, the effect on wieght loss of a sleeve if necessary (usually due to weight gain) can be strengthened with an additional operation: it can be turned into a gastric bypass or a SASI.

Will sleeve gastrectomy continue to be the world’s most common obesity operation in 10 years? The future and -BEST study -will tell us this. Follow us!