A Final Solution

The best Doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

–Jonathan Swift

Did you see the exciting news? Obesity is now a disease! O Happy Day! Our problems are solved.

I don’t want to question the motives behind this decision. I want to assume that the people involved really do think that fat people would be thin and healthy if they just realized they were fat and started doing what their doctors, their nutritionists, the government, society in general, Yahoo! Health, Google News, NBC, CNBC, CNN, Foxnews, 98% of websites, most of their friends and family, and random strangers hurling insults tell them to do and started eating less fat and more whole grains. And exercising more.

How do we know they aren’t doing that already? Because they’re still fat. What if they say they do all that? Liars. That’s the only explanation.

See that’s the beauty of the new disease declaration. All these doctors have been afraid to mention weight to their patients, you see. They’ve had to widen the seats in the waiting room, and last month Bernice brought down the examination table, but the fat people don’t know they’re fat and doctors are afraid to tell them.

It hasn’t occurred to anyone over at the AMA brain trust to look at their own history, apparently. They started telling us how to eat in 1980. They told us to eat less saturated fat and make grains the basis of our diet. They told us to eat more and more and more vegetables and fruit. They got us to change up the macronutrient composition of our diet. Coincidentally, at that same time we all started eating less filling and energy-giving fat and more insulin-spiking carbohydrate, we started wanting to eat more every day, and we started fattening like 150-day, grain-fed cattle. Now it’s day 151 and the slaughter has begun.

The intentions may be good, but the results will not be. Give it enough time and you’ll have obese people thinking there’s nothing that can be done about their “disease” unless they go see some kind of Adiposity Professional. People with blogs like mine will start being prosecuted for giving “health advice” about a “disease” only doctors are allowed to comment on. Oh wait. They’re already doing that. All our insurance premiums will go up because insurances companies will now have to provide coverage for “treatments” like gastric bypass and lap band surgeries.

So let’s talk about those surgeries for a minute.

First, have you ever seen the post-surgery diet for this kind of surgery? You’ll never guess…It’s a low carb diet.

That’s right. Because stomachs have been reduced to tiny pouches barely sufficient to hold enough nutrients to sustain human life (or several feet of intestine have been cut out, or whatever the process), the diet can’t include gobs of useless stuff like carbohydrates. All the room has to be saved for protein.

So, let me get this straight. If that’s possible. Before you got to be 400 pounds, we told you that Atkins, Paleo and any other low-carb diet were dangerous fads that would give you heart disease and leave you hungry all the time without those filling, healthy carbs your brain needs. Worse perhaps, such diets are BORING! Without being able to eat pasta and bread and potatoes, what’s there left to eat?!

But now that we’ve cut out a few feet of your intestines or stapled your stomach shut–and you’ve paid us $50,000 dollars to do it–we’ve changed our tune:

The second phase of the Lap-Band diet consists of 5 to 6 weeks of a modified full liquid diet; the key component of this phase is consuming two ounces of a protein shake every hour for ten to twelve hours a day with two ounces of other liquids such as soup, baby food, or sugar-free gelatin three times a day.

During the second six weeks following Lap-Band surgery patients may eat food that is shredded in a food processor prior to eating. The basic foods on the Lap-Band diet include meats or other forms of protein, vegetables, and salads. The Lap-Band diet does not include most bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.

Isn’t that fascinating? That last part sounds exactly like what I eat, only I eat real food, no “shakes,” and I don’t have to shred my food like an infant. I also eat all the food I need till I’m no longer hungry. I’m not limited to tiny portions, or have to eat 63 times a day to keep from overfilling my tiny stomach or dying of malnutrition. Longview Regional Medical Center actually suggests that after lapband surgery you use things like Atkins Advantage Shakes, Carb Solutions, and Isopure/Zero Carb.

In the above-referenced article on the dangers of low carb eating, Dr. Rosenbloom says you shouldn’t try low carbing because you’ll get “bored.” But did you notice the restrictions on the post-op bariatric diet?

The first 3 to 4 days following Adjustable Gastric Lap-Band surgery patients must follow a clear liquid diet…If you are a regular coffee, tea, or soda drinker you should be aware that no caffeine is permitted for the first three months after surgery…

Then you get to eat the slightly-thicker liquid diet for five to six weeks. Then you get to eat baby food and shredded meat for another six weeks. Then you should know:

Certain foods may never be well tolerated by Lap-Band patients. These foods include:

  • Meats that are especially tough such as steak and pork chops. Some Lap-Band patients have difficulty digesting other meats that contain gristle such as hamburger.

  • Oranges and grapefruits may not be tolerated unless the membrane is removed before eating.

  • The seeds and/or skins of all fruits and vegetables.

  • High fiber vegetables such as celery and sweet potatoes.

  • Spicy foods.

  • Fried foods.

  • Certain spices including cinnamon, pepper, or onion or garlic salt.

What a delight! Aren’t you thrilled you didn’t try that crazy, faddish, boring low-carb diet of steaks and hamburgers and wings and full fat dairy and anything fried in lard or butter and pork chops and bacon and coconut oil and sausages and omelettes and ham and roast leg of lamb and very nearly every vegetable that grows under the sun? (With all the spices, coffee or tea you want, by the way). No no. Much better that you have major invasive surgery.

Now I’m not saying that no one should ever get these surgeries. I leave room for the possibility that there are some people so hopelessly obese that nothing else will work for them but making it impossible for them to eat.

But come on. Isn’t it a form of malpractice to counsel your patients trying to lose weight against eating exactly how you will require them to eat after you convince them to pay you for major surgery? And how can we be sure that it was really the surgery and not the very-low-carb diet that caused the weight loss?

I love this one the most: an article that describes low carb as dangerous, while admitting that it is just about the fastest way to lose weight. But it’s so dangerous… Better you should go for bariatric surgery:

The complications of bariatric surgery are not insignificant…In one series,16 major complications occurred in 3.3% of patients, and the in-hospital mortality was 0.4%. Reoperation may be necessitated by bleeding, abscess, and wound dehiscence. A variety of late complications are recognized, generally, the consequence of nutritional deficiency. Mineral deficiencies include iron, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium, and vitamin deficiencies include folate and vitamins B1, B12, D, and E. Iron, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been reported to be the most common nutritional deficiencies observed following gastric bypass surgery.2122…A broad spectrum of neurological complications has been reported to occur in association with bariatric surgery, including the following:

Huh. Seems once you cut out all your intestines you have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals. How shocking! And I’m not going to repeat “the following” here. Suffice it to say that it includes seizures, encephalopathy and cranial nerve palsies. But here’s some more fun stuff!

The neurological complications became manifest 3 to 20 months after surgery, and all affected patients experienced protracted vomiting, a symptom that may occur in up to one third of all patients undergoing gastric bypass procedures.22

I can assure you: eating high-fat, adequate protein, low carb for the last eight months I haven’t vomited once.

I think you get the picture. If you’re even remotely considering this procedure, go up to the link and read through the whole thing. I’ve barely scratched the surface of delightful complications you too can enjoy through the Miracle of Bariatric Surgery! (And if you want to read something really funny, and insightful, try this.)

Dr. Rosenbloom also says you shouldn’t try any low-carb diet because you’ll just give up and gain back all the weight. Doctor, I’d like to ask some questions at this point:

“Um, no one does that with conventional low-fat diets?” That’s why The Biggest Loser is such an inspiration. No one ever gives up and gains back weight later…

More importantly, Dr. Rosenbloom, what do you suggest we do?  Here’s a fascinating review of a real study done with low-carb and low-fat diets, to see what the differences were. Interestingly, the low carb dieters had a lot better weight loss until they started adding back in carbs. Then weight loss evened out. Is that a surprise? They also had better blood lipid levels, better blood pressure, and didn’t lose any bone density. Of course, as they started adding back in carbohydrates they slowly lost all those advantages.

Which brings me to my personal hypothesis on why some people give up low carb. I’ve mentioned it before: they’re looking at it as a short-term fix, not a long-term lifestyle. They’re counting down the days till they can have that pizza. They’re filling their plates with artificially sweetened “carbs-that-aren’t-carbs” like low carb pasta, brownies, and coconut flour biscuits. They aren’t learning to love real food. They never get over their cravings for white flour and potatoes.

I don’t have any hard data to back that up. But if you doubt it I urge you to browse through some forums for low-carb/Atkins vs Paleo/Primal. Not all Paleo/Primal eaters are low carb, but most are. These people are in it for the long haul, and they don’t eat Xylitol, almond flour cakes and Atkins bars. They eat steaks and fresh salads and cheese. And they don’t give up nearly as often as the low-carb/Atkins people.

I can tell you my own experience, too. When I first started, yeah I sometimes craved starchy foods. But I had been warned and knew it was a passing condition. I promised myself: “Once a month, we will have pizza.” Then the first month came and I thought, “Naw, I’m doing so well I don’t really want to mess it up. I’ll just wait a bit longer.” At the second month I thought, “If I eat that, I really won’t feel good. I’ll wait a while longer.” By the third month the thought was repulsive.

It was seven months before I finally had some, and then it was only because we were out with friends. It was disgusting. It didn’t taste good, and I didn’t feel well afterward. I was uniquely disappointed in the flavor. The same thing happened with a cake at one point or another. They just weren’t delicious. The only things that tasted as I remembered them were rich, creamy desserts like full-fat ice cream or mousse. And fruit changed, too. I ate it before because I had to. I was told it was healthy and I “needed” to eat five servings a day. It was fine, but nothing special.

Now though? Fruit is amazing. It tastes like what it is: God’s gift of natural candy. You can keep your chocolate cake and your candy bars: give me a bowl of sweet, succulent cherries swimming in cream. My tastes have changed. The flour and sugar had been hiding some serious garbage, and the steaks and butter just couldn’t compete. Who on earth would want a pile of whole wheat pasta when you could have a bowl of savory bone broth?

Real food with real ingredients is healthy, enjoyable, and sustaining.

Come to the dark side…we have bacon.

 

Plato says he’s hungry

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2 thoughts on “A Final Solution

  1. Great post!! Something else worth mentioning is Overeaters Anonymous, another solution often offered to fat people. OA often defines abstinence as a diet lacking in flour and sugar. Sound familiar? Food addiction can be “cured” by eating protein and vegetables! Amazing. I wonder why.

    My tastes have changed as well, although i was never much of a sweets person. But I was a serious starch-o-holic and now the thought of a sandwich doesn’t appeal to me.

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