Everyone knows the equation, if you consume less calories you need you will lose weight. It’s true for everyone, so why do people still get the gastric band instead of sticking with a diet?
In lots of studies and in doctors offices up and down the country the gastric bypass is touted as a magical method of weight loss and reversing type 2 diabetes.
In a gastric bypass, a large part of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine are disconnected. Therefore reducing the amount someone can eat.
According to a Lund university study 90% of positive effects of the gastric bypass come from the 6 week low calorie diet before the surgery. Many changes occur after having the surgery which actually slow weight loss started by the diet due to the stress on the body of being cut open and having to heal itself.
One of the authors of the study stated ”The fact that we have now shown the effects previously associated with surgery actually arise during the preceding low-calorie diet, and not as a response to the surgery, may perhaps make gastric bypass surgery less magical.”
From personal experience speaking with clients that have had the op and reading many accounts of people that have had it, it seems the grand gesture of having an invasive surgery is the once in a lifetime motivational event needed to stick to a diet.
So we are back to the equation, consume less calories than you need to lose weight. This equation requires a high motivation level to achieve and maintain. Then we have a shortcut in the surgery to increase motivation to 100% in the short term. Not only because the surgery itself is a huge occasion but because for several months after the surgery there is a physical barrier to overeating.
Below is a very simplified flow of events that people having the surgery experience
1. Knowledge that less calories consumed than you need = weight loss.
2. Low levels of motivation = trying diets on and off sometimes for years and failing.
3. INTERVENTION - can be surgery or another change that makes motivational levels to extremely high.
4. Short to medium term weight loss.
So to answer the question in the title, it’s not gastric bypass vs Diet. It’s that the surgery is the last weapon doctors can use to make someone follow the advice they give at the beginning of treatment. Creating a calorie deficit to lose weight with the surgery itself as the hard wall at the end of the treatment and not a magic pill.