If You're Really Desperate to Lose Weight, Here's What You Need to Do

Doctors should be recommending low-carb diets, not bariatric surgery: columnists
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2016 2:48 PM CDT
If You're Really Desperate to Lose Weight, Here's What You Need to Do
Rustic loaves of baked bread are displayed for sale at a farmers market in Arlington, Va., Saturday, May 28, 2016.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When low-carb diets first came into vogue, they were seen as fad diets. But more than 40 clinical trials involving thousands of subjects have deemed the diets not just safe, but successful. And, with one in three Americans projected to be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050 and 45 international medical and scientific societies including the American Diabetes Association now recommending bariatric surgery be deemed a standard option to treat diabetes, "it's time to give [the low-carb diet] a second look," write experts Sarah Hallberg and Osama Hamdy in the New York Times. Bariatric surgery, a weight-loss procedure costing up to $26,000 that involves stapling, binding, or removing part of the stomach, used to be seen as a last resort. Many insurance plans won't pay for the surgery, and there are more costs for post-operative office visits. Plus, up to 17% of patients will experience complications.

"It is nonsensical that we’re expected to prescribe these techniques to our patients while the medical guidelines don’t include another better, safer and far cheaper method," Hallberg and Hamdy write. Diabetics' bodies don't produce enough insulin to process glucose (sugar) in the blood, so they typically take insulin and/or take drugs to control their blood glucose levels. Instead, Hallberg and Hamdy write, they could simply eat less glucose by eating fewer carbs—glucose results as the body breaks down carbs. And by eating more healthy proteins and fats instead of carbs, people also stay full longer, don't eat as much, and lose weight. Studies have found low-carb diets to be incredibly effective for patients suffering from diabetes, and Hallberg and Hamdy cite specific success stories they've seen. Yet for some reason, doctors and medical associations are not touting the diet's benefits. Click for their full column. (More carbohydrates stories.)

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