This Makes Me Angry.

In today’s posted article, Dr. Mercola provides proof that the health organizations of the world have lost sight of their intended focus, and that the admonishment to “First, do NO harm” has become nothing more than a meaningless phrase uttered without thought. I will go one step further and declare they have lost their collective senses.

Here is a quote from Dr. Mercola’s article that has me so angry:

Instead, 45 international organizations representing diabetes specialists are now calling for gastric surgery to become a standard treatment for obese diabetics. As reported by Scientific American:6

“In a joint statement which they said constituted one of the biggest shifts in diabetes treatment guidelines since the advent of insulin, the 45-strong group said bariatric, or metabolic, surgery could have a significant benefit for thousands of patients …

The new guidelines say surgery designed to reduce the stomach and induce weight loss should be recommended to treat all diabetes patients whose body mass index (BMI) is 40 or over, regardless of their blood glucose control …

[And] those with a BMI of 30 and over whose blood sugar levels are not being controlled by lifestyle changes or medications.

The guidelines, published in the journal Diabetes Care, were endorsed by 45 international organizations, diabetes specialists and researchers, including the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the American Diabetes Association, the Chinese Diabetes Society and Diabetes India.”

 

You might be wondering why the idea of gastric surgery as a means to treat diabetes 2 and obesity has me so angry. I could probably go on for hours, but really, nobody wants to listen to that. So, instead, I will share my top three reasons:

Gastric surgery has proven dangerous. The facts are that 1 person in 50 will die within 30 days of having gastric surgery. If your surgeon has not done a significant number of gastric surgery procedures your risk of dying increased by 4.3%. On top of that, up to 40% of people who undergo any type of weight loss stomach surgery have severe, sometimes disabling,and potentially life threatening side effects.

Things like:

  • chronic malnutrition and severe vitamin deficiency
  • chronic dehydration
  • abdominal pain
  • chronic fatigue
  • gallstones
  • depression
  • liver failure
  • bowel incontinence
  • bladder incontinence
  • increased risk of infection
  • when you do get a bacterial infection it is often more severe and harder to treat
  • blackouts
  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea from eating the “wrong” foods, foods that are too dry, or not chewing food enough
  • anemia and osteoporosis
  • internal blood clots
  • difficulty breathing
  • stomach perforation
  • ulcers
  • sometimes the site narrows, and  requires further surgery to repair.
  • NIPHS — Noninsulinoma Pancreatogenous Hypoglycemia Syndrome — your blood sugar levels drop to dangerously low levels. This causes people to experience things like confusion or seizures. In some cases the only cure is pancreatic surgery.
  • People who have had any kind of weight loss surgery have a 5 times higher suicide rate than the general population.

On a personal note, I have worked with several people who underwent some sort of weight loss surgery. Whether it was the gastric band, or the gastric bypass, those people I have worked with, spoken to, and corresponded with have all regretted having the surgery.

One woman credits her weight loss surgery with “ruining” her life.  I knew her before surgery –she was obese, but happy and productive. She had a very successful career, good marriage, and fulfilling home life. After weight loss surgery this woman’s entire life changed drastically. Sure, she lost weight, but she was tired all the time, could not think straight, had bowel incontinence so severe she barely left her house. Her career tanked because she often didn’t have the mental energy to work.The severe bowel incontinence meant that she was unable to work outside the home, and the lack of energy and brain fog made it impossible for her to obtain employment in a work-from-home situation. So, she went from a successful woman who ran her own business to someone who was virtually unemployable. Family finances became difficult to manage. Her husband tried to pick up the financial slack, but they were living a two-income life before her surgery, the stress of trying to keep up with everything took its toll. Nausea and vomiting made it almost impossible for her to keep most foods down, and she was limited to eating only a hand full of different foods. Because of her limited diet, she developed severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies. At the three-year post surgery mark, she had been hospitalized for complications relating to her weight loss surgery an average of 6 times each year. Four years post-surgery, she was extremely depressed and taking more than 10 pills each day to manage her depression. Along with many other medical complications resulting from her surgery she had re-gained much of the lost weight. Her marriage had deteriorated to the point that she and her husband had separate bedrooms, and barely spoke. They remained married, that was a result of their religious beliefs, not out of any desire to repair the marriage. The last I spoke to her, she was looking at another extended hospital stay to treat yet another medical condition that her doctors told her was the result of her weight loss surgery. Her doctors don’t seem optimistic about her future.

A few years ago, a man emailed me for help. He had the gastric sleeve, and was having problems. He had recently been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibro. Like my friend, this man suffered severe and disabling fatigue and bowl incontinence. He said that had none of these problems before his surgery. He told me that before surgery he had uncontrollable Diabetes 2, High Blood Pressure, and other problems associated with morbid obesity. One year after surgery his BMI was still considered “Obese.”  One of the reasons he came to me was that he felt the gastric sleeve wasn’t working. He said he’d talked to his medical doctor about his fatigue, Fibro, bowl incontinence, minimal weight loss, and continued blood pressure and Diabetes concerns, but had not gotten any helpful advice. His weight loss therapist suggested he consult a natural health coach. When he came to me, he expressed feeling hopeless and helpless. Over time, he started losing weight again, his BMI decreased very slowly, but as he lost weight, his fatigue and Fibro pain seemed to increase. His doctor put him on pain medications, but they didn’t help. He made very slow progress, and eventually he stopped corresponding with me.

More recently, an acquaintance asked me if I’d ever worked with anyone who had gone though weight loss surgery. When I said yes, she confided that she had the surgery three years ago, and was having some health problems that she believed were a result of that surgery. She said she’d shared her concerns with her medical doctor and was told that what she was experiencing could not have been a result of her surgery. In her case, she has lost a significant amount of weight. But, three years after the surgery, she was having intense stomach pain, blood in her stool, serious disruption in her monthly cycle, intense mood swings, and mild memory loss. This woman told me that while she was happy to have lost the weight, she’s had one medical problem after another since the surgery and she wishes she had never gone through with it. She felt the reduction in her blood pressure and normalization of her blood sugar was not worth the pain, suffering and heartache the surgery caused her. She was actively looking for another doctor covered by her insurance who would be willing to consider her concerns. That was her reason for talking to me, she was curious to know if I knew anyone locally who might be covered by her insurance. I did, and gave her the name and number.

There are better, safer, simpler and more effective ways to lower blood glucose levels. 

As a degreed (not licensed) Naturopath working as a health educator, I do not *treat* anything, or anyone. The words *treat* and *cure* have legal meanings such that I am not allowed to even imply treatment. I educate people, I do not treat anyone. As a reminder, I am not a licensed Naturopath. My state has very specific licensing requirements that I do not meet, so I am not able to practice as a Naturopath in my state. I do, however hold degrees in both Natural Healing and Naturopathy. My professional degree reads “Doctor of Naturopathy,” and I am qualified to practice Naturopathy in most states in the US, as well as most countries around the world– but not the state in which I live. As a reminder, if you have questions about your health you should always consult a licensed medical provider.

Disclaimers and legal necessities addressed. How does a person heal themselves of Diabetes 2? The short answer is simple, but not easy. By changing their diet, and not eating foods that cause blood glucose to rise. It can be difficult, and is certainly not a quick fix. But diet changes do reduce high blood glucose, and many people start to see solid results after about a month. I have done this myself, and countless other people have achieved blood glucose levels consistently in the “normal” range without medication, without drastic surgical methods. Simply learning what foods cause high blood glucose, and avoiding those foods will normalize hormone production to stabilize blood sugar levels.

There are better, safer, simpler and more effective ways to shed excess weight.

Interestingly enough, eliminating foods that spike blood glucose, like grains and sugars have the added effect of helping the body rid itself of excess fat. Weight loss can be further encouraged by eliminating man-altered fats and man-made “food” stuff. If a person eats real food, in as natural as state as possible, and uses only healthy fats like coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, olive oil and avocado oil, in reasonable amounts, excess weight will come off and it’s likely the person will not suffer from abnormal hunger, cravings or other such struggles that typical dieters face.

Other factors to weight loss include medications, gut bacteria, thyroid function, hormone balances, artificial sweeteners, FDA approved food additives,and recognizing/acknowledging food sensitivities.

Exercise/movement should be increased slowly as the person begins to feel better. Simply walking more– intentionally increasing the number of steps taken on a daily basis is enough to start with. As health and energy improve body weight exercises will build muscle.

Again, I speak from both personal and professional experience here. I admit that at my heaviest my BMI was “only” 30 so I have no personal experience with BMI above that. However, I have educated and coached many clients who have had BMI of significantly more than 30. Those people who eliminated processed foods, grains, sugars, man-altered oils, and moved to a diet of whole, real food, including health promoting fats lost the weight.

Does it sound “too good to be true?”  Not really. Changing your eating habits is HARD work. It takes effort, and motivation, and determination. But, it is attainable.

I believe doctors are wrong to recommend weight loss surgery to all diabetes with a BMI over 40 as a routine treatment. I’m not denying that having a BMI over 40 can be a life threatening situation. I’m not denying that Diabetes 2 significantly increases many health risks. I’m not even saying that weight loss surgery is not truly indicated in some situations.

But, weight loss surgery should be an absolute last resort. Even if the person loses the intended weight, they will likely experience significant negative health effects as a result of the surgery. It is far better to teach people about how hunger and metabolic hormones work so they can learn to eat those foods which feed their body, without spiking blood sugar levels. Modern medical providers still have a responsibility to “First, do NO harm.” I believe that weight loss surgery DOES harm. There are far less invasive, and far less dangerous ways to help someone lose weight and obtain normal blood sugar  levels.

Yes, on a general level, America has an obesity problem. But, let’s look at where that problem comes from , shall we? Many years ago, the federal government released dietary recommendations that included eating very little fat, and eating up to 9 servings of grains each and every day. It was a misguided attempt to reduce the rate of heart disease in the US. American’s have been following this advice for 20 years, and growing steadily fatter.

Why?

First of all, grains cause a spike in blood glucose. Elevated blood glucose causes an increase in insulin. Chronically elevated insulin causes other hunger hormones to be thrown out of balance, and creates as situation where the body can not access it’s stored fat for fuel

Second, people started avoiding healthful fats like butter in favor of man-altered “pseudo-foods.” Take margarine for example. It is made from a liquid fat that has been hydrogenated, to make it act like butter. Then they add chemicals that were never intended for human consumption to make this pseudo-food taste like butter. It was marketed as “healthier” than real butter because it contains no saturated fat.

This kind of chemical adulteration of our food has happened in almost every type of processed food. They removed a healthful fat and then replaced it with man-altered chemicals, sugar (in one form or another), and artificial sweeteners. These chemically made “foods” have a negative impact on the human hormonal system. Hunger and satisfaction hormones are thrown out of balance, and the body comes to rely on glucose for energy. Which means, the people who follow these recommendations are always hungry. Hungry people eat more often. It’s a never-ending cycle.

When you think about it, the current problem has been caused by the very medical professionals who now recommend weight loss surgery as a treatment for diabetes.

No. It’s time for people to say enough, and learn how to eat real food again. But, first, they need to learn what real food is, and what it’s not.

If the American medical establishment really wants to reduce obesity and diabetes, (and all the things that to with them) in this country, they need to educate people about the mistakes made in the past, and teach people to eat real food, avoid sugar, grains and man-made “pseudo foods.”

That is the only way to lower the collective weight and blood glucose in this country.

 

 

 

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