That long ago, on March 8th, 2008, I lost a friend. He died from complications about a month after gastric bypass surgery.
I bring this up because Fat Head has a post today about weight loss surgeries. He posted a month ago about the topic too. But it struck me this time because I just saw a show on TLC, Half Ton Mom, that followed the story of a 29-yr old woman who had a gastric bypass and died a month later of a cardiac episode after losing about 60 lbs (not positive on that number).
Harris was the name of friend. We’d lost touch for several years and then reconnected the summer of 2007. During our reconnection he mentioned he was seeing a doctor about getting a gastric bypass surgery done. He had to get his weight lower before the surgery though so he was eating protein and vegetables and he dropped about 25 lbs in 2 weeks.
I feel funny about elective surgery, especially when parts are being removed and rerouted, so I tried to talk him out of it, but I could rarely talk Harris out of anything once he’d made up his mind. He’d struggled with his weight for most of his life and was tired of the fight. He had the surgery in late January or early February of 2008. Even though he was dropping weight on the diet, even though that was working for him.
How much do I wish Harris’ surgeon had said “let’s wait, give the diet some more time.” And how often do people not even get diet counseling before their surgeries. It’s wrong, irresponsible, bordering on unethical and malpractice.
In the case of the woman on the TLC show, she weighed over 900 lbs and typically would not have been able to get the surgery. Except a surgeon thought she needed it and agreed to do it. There was no weight loss requirement or diet counseling (at least from what they showed in the special).
The procedure that Harris had done, he’d said there was something different about it, that the surgeon used a different procedure to complete the bypass. Did the surgeon’s desire to experiment with the procedure cloud his judgement and endanger Harris?
It makes me SO ANGRY that conventional wisdom clings to the low-fat, high-carb dieting. Piles of evidence are stacking up against this way of eating but the so-called experts turn a blind eye and refuse to acknowledge it. In the meantime, the obese population labors under the experts assertions, trying to do what’s “right” but not seeing results.
What’s worse, the experts don’t believe the people following the low-fat, high-carb diet are being honest about what they’re putting in their mouths or how much they’re exercising when progress stalls. The diet COULDN’T be failing so it MUST be the dieter. They’re lazy and gluttonous anyway and will probably fail but maybe if we add some behavior modification training to their regimen they’ll get their act together. FINALLY! <grumble, grumble> stupid fatties <grumble, grumble>.
And when the “experts” throw up their hands in ignorant exasperation, surgeons are there to offer an alternative. I can’t blame people for wanting surgery, especially when they meet attitudes that declare “you’re lying!” So I blame the industry that keeps us fatties chasing the carrot.
And I’m so thankful for the nay-sayers that stand up and say the conventional wisdom is wrong. Thank you Dr. Eades, Gary Taubes, Tom Naughton, Mark Sisson, Nora Gedgaudas and everyone else who stands behind good science and real food.