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Maintaining Muscle Mass as You Lose Weight

April 28, 2023

woman flexing with weight after bariatric surgery

Are you losing weight from a bariatric procedure and trying to keep your muscle mass? Understandable and, you may be surprised, feasible. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; it’s straightforward. Watching what you eat, workout routines, and even specific exercises at home can all help you burn calories while packing on muscle or at least maintaining it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that with a significantly reduced caloric intake, your body needs to consume something to get energy, and often the target is muscle.

Check out how to stop that from happening below.

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Beef Substitutes: Legit or All Hype?

April 14, 2023

red meat being cooked on stove next to spices

With excess weight and obesity running rampant in modern-day society and no end or significant improvement in sight, we have become a culture obsessed with dieting and physical health. For many of us, years of living with obesity make it very difficult to lose and keep weight off over the long term. This is why about 90% of patients who follow a diet and exercise program may lose weight but ultimately regain it once their diet and exercise program becomes unsustainable.

Of course, many individuals and companies have pounced on a focus on diet and health as well as the myriad social media influencers to develop new, innovative food products. A beef substitute is a great example, created partly to be sustainable while offering an alternative to red meat. The highest-profile beef substitutes include products from Beyond Beef and Impossible Burger amongst others. But as bariatric surgery patients, or even preop patients waiting for surgery, does it make sense to substitute our beef consumption with these plant-based products?

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Will We Remove Your Gallbladder During a Primary Bariatric Procedure?

March 31, 2023

Surgeons in the operating room handing off surgical scissors

Of the many questions you will want to ask before surgery, understanding gallbladder disease and how it relates to your bariatric procedure should be on your list. It’s well known that obese female patients in their fertile years – prime candidates for bariatric surgery – are at significantly higher risk of developing symptomatic gallstones. To answer this question, we must distinguish gallstones from symptomatic gallstones. Gallstones are extremely common and can form in just about anyone. Typically, there are several risk factors, the least of which is yo-yo dieting, which many patients experience throughout their lives before having bariatric surgery.

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Wegovy®, Ozempic®, MounjaroTM – Dissecting the Diabetes / Weight Loss Medication Trend

March 17, 2023

Injections scattered and lying across blue backdrop

In this article, we’ll discuss a new trend that started online and has taken the social media world by storm. The trend is so popular that patients, once relying on the injections we are about to discuss, now have difficulty finding them to manage their diseases. This trend is using newer diabetes and weight loss medications, including Semaglutides like Ozempic and Wegovy, and other diabetes drugs like Mounjaro for weight loss, even if the patient does not qualify by FDA standards.

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Uncovering the Truth About “Acid” Reflux

February 21, 2023

Woman taking PPI medicine for GERD pain

Chronic acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) is a significant and worsening condition affecting millions of Americans. As a result of the persistent obesity epidemic in the United States and worldwide, reflux has affected more and more of the population than ever before. While reflux may seem relatively benign, it can lead to far more severe consequences.

The constant wash of acid from the stomach into the esophagus can create a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. This is where the lining of the esophagus begins to resemble the lining of the stomach. A small proportion of those with the condition will eventually develop esophageal cancer, which can be very aggressive if not caught early.

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Is Agave Syrup a Healthy Sweetener Alternative for Bariatric Patients?

February 7, 2023

Spoon with dripping agave syrup into clear bowl

Agave syrup has taken the sweetener world by storm. Because it is low on the glycemic index, it has been put forth as a beneficial sweetener and is often touted as better than table sugar, honey, and maple syrup. After all, it comes from the same plant that gives us tequila! It’s the perfect sweetener, right? Not quite.

Let’s Start by Understanding What Agave Is

Agave is a succulent found in North and South America and has been used for thousands of years as a sweetener and to make tequila. It has even been explored for its potential medicinal properties. However, like many other new-to-us foods, it only arrived on the American table in the past few decades and, in doing so, has made quite a bang. While the agave plant has objective health benefits, many of these are negated and lost during the processing of the plant to convert its sap into the sweetener we use at home. For example, much like some whole fruits, the agave plant, in its simple form, has plenty of fiber, which is lost when the sap is extracted from the plant and boiled down into fructose.

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What If My Insurance Doesn’t Cover Bariatric Surgery

January 24, 2023

piggy bank, calculator and stethoscope lie infront of a light blue backdrop

When patients think of surgery, the first thought that pops into their minds is the cost, and rightly so. Surgery is, by any measure, an expensive proposition. When it comes to semi-elective procedures like bariatric surgery, there may not be the immediate desire to pay out of pocket, unlike more urgent surgical needs where there’s simply no choice. As such, patients quickly look to their insurance company to see if bariatric surgery is covered. The sad truth is that many insurance companies have bariatric surgery exclusions in their policies, which may vary between policies, despite being under the same parent company. The result is often frustration when patients hear that friends or family members with the same insurance company have coverage while they may not.

However, the insurance landscape is very different today than even a decade ago. Patients have more options if their insurance does not cover bariatric surgery.

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Addiction Substitution After Bariatric Surgery

January 10, 2023

woman talking about her addiction substitution with therapist who is taking notes

We know that food, particularly sugary foods, can be addictive. Some studies suggest that the addictive properties of sugar are as powerful, if not greater than some illicit drugs. It is, therefore, no wonder that it is so difficult to “just lose weight.” While many of us start a new diet with great enthusiasm and success, a few weeks or months later, this focus tends to fall by the wayside, and we eventually regain the weight, sometimes adding even more weight afterward. Of course, there are several reasons for this weight regain, not least of which are the stresses and anxieties in everyday life and a concept known as metabolic adaptation. Still, it would be fair to say that some patients suffering from obesity are also addicted to food.

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Can Hormone Levels Be the Key to Maintaining Your Weight Later in Life?

December 22, 2022

Hormone injection lying amongst hormone pills

The endocrine system of the human body is a finely tuned machine. Hormones secreted throughout the body regulate everything from our mood to heart rate and even how much fat we accumulate (and where). When we gain weight and add visceral or bad fat (typically around our waist), we can often throw our bodies out of balance and cause hormonal changes that affect our metabolic system significantly.

Both men and women are affected by hormonal imbalances. For example, some of the newest research on obesity and its hormonal consequences revolve around sexual function. In men, obesity can cause erectile dysfunction and infertility. In women, obesity can increase the risk of miscarriage, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and infertility. In fact, one of the most satisfying parts of our jobs is seeing couples that could not conceive before surgery do so afterward. But it doesn’t end there. Dysregulated hormones can promote the development or increase the severity of certain forms of cancer, including breast and colon. Inflammatory secretions from visceral fat can cause our joints to degrade more quickly. The list goes on…

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New Bariatric Surgery Guidance Released by ASMBS and IFSO

December 8, 2022

blue measuring tape coiled across white scale

While excess weight and obesity are some of the most researched topics in modern-day society, mainly due to the incredible rise in weight-related comorbidities, we do not often get the exciting news of new surgical guidance or suggestions from influential organizations. When they happen, it’s a big deal and something we should consider carefully. Just that happened last month when the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) released joint guidance intended to update federal guidelines since 1991. In your research of bariatric surgery, you’ve likely come across these older guidelines, which essentially state that patients with a BMI of 35 or over with one or more obesity-related comorbidities or patients with a BMI of 40 or over regardless of comorbidities may be eligible for bariatric surgery. While these guidelines have been in place for the best of three decades, they have also limited access to bariatric surgery for millions of patients suffering from excess weight-related conditions but with no qualifying BMI. How is this possible?

Ultimately, the reason for this is the inherent inaccuracy of the BMI calculation. The BMI was never intended to be used as a measure of obesity. The larger question is, what exactly is obesity? Arbitrary BMI levels very loosely define obesity – there’s little empirical evidence behind it.

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