The Complexity of Obesity

People generally assume that obesity is strictly the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. That kind of thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as a health condition.

Obesity is a very complicated condition. About 50 to 70% of one’s risk of obesity is genetically determined. You can make choices that make it better or worse, but that’s just like any other chronic disease. When the blame and shame that is so common gets in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

A lot of health plans have broad, blanket exclusions for obesity, thinking that it is a cosmetic condition. However, the rise in the prevalence of obesity over the last 3 decades has made it clear that it’s creating a burden of chronic disease ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to many cancers.

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudice so often come from thinking that obesity is caused and sustained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles present in efforts to achieve sustainable weight loss. The prevailing societal and media messages that reinforce blame on obese persons need to be replaced with messages that obesity is a chronic disease with a complex etiology. Obesity is a lifelong condition for most people who are overweight or obese.

Several studies have consistently demonstrated that experiencing weight stigma increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors and lower levels of physical activity, both of which exacerbate obesity and weight gain. Among youths, studies have demonstrated that overweight children who experience weight-based teasing are more likely to engage in binge eating and unhealthy weight-control behaviors compared with overweight peers who are not teased, even after control for variables such as BMI and socioeconomic status. 

Other research has consistently documented a positive association between weight-based victimization and eating disorder symptoms and bulimia. Weight-based victimization among overweight youths has been linked to lower levels of physical activity, negative attitudes about sports, and lower participation in physical activity among overweight students.

If you’re looking for treatment for this very real, physical disease, contact VipSurg for an appointment. Our expert team understands the complexity of obesity and all the issues that come with it. We can help find the right treatment for you.

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GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

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Diet Recommendations for After Weight-Loss Surgery

A gastric bypass diet helps people who are recovering from sleeve gastrectomy and from gastric bypass surgery — also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass — to heal and to change their eating habits. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can talk with you about the diet you’ll need to follow after surgery, explaining what types of food and how much you can eat at each meal. Closely following your gastric bypass diet can help you lose weight safely and keep you feeling well too.

The gastric bypass diet is designed to:

  • Allow your stomach to heal without being stretched by the food you eat
  • Accustom you to eating the smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can comfortably and safely digest
  • Help you lose weight and avoid gaining weight
  • Avoid side effects and complications from the surgery

Diet recommendations after gastric bypass surgery vary depending on your individual situation. A gastric bypass diet typically follows a staged approach to help you ease back into eating solid foods. How quickly you move from one step to the next depends on how fast your body heals and adjusts to the change in eating patterns. At each stage of the gastric bypass diet, you must be careful to:

  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Wait about 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Eat and drink slowly, to avoid dumping syndrome — which occurs when foods and liquids enter your small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea.
  • Eat lean, protein-rich foods daily.
  • Choose foods and drinks that are low in fats and sugar.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as directed by your health provider.
  • Chew foods thoroughly to a pureed consistency before swallowing, once you progress beyond liquids only.

The gastric bypass diet can help you recover from surgery and transition to a way of eating that is healthy and supports your weight-loss goals. Remember that if you return to unhealthy eating habits after weight-loss surgery, you may not lose all your excess weight, or you may regain any weight that you do lose.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team are ready to help you on your way to a healthier, happier life.

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Eat Healthy/Live Healthy

One of the ways that weight loss surgery works is that after one has had a bariatric procedure, it takes less food to fill up and keep satisfied. As time goes on, though, it will take more food to make you feel full. This a normal part of the process. During the first two years after surgery, the capacity for food you can eat will go up from a few teaspoons to 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of food. Whether you eat a little or a lot, eating healthy is the most important element.

A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
  • Controls portion sizes

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, finding the right kind of foods is essential. The goal should be to eat healthy foods that will fill you up for the longest amount of time.

Feeling hungry every 3 to 4 hours is normal. You’re supposed to feel hungry that often, and eating the right types of foods helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Fruits and vegetables are filling. They are not only low-calorie, but also high in fiber. Foods such as carrots and hummus have fiber, flavor, and fat to keep you feeling full longer. They also help us absorb nutrients. Nuts like pistachios, almonds, pecans, and seeds all offer healthy fats as well as protein. Proteins can be a healthy snack choice as well as a meal option. Foods high in protein, such as lean chicken, ham or turkey will help satisfy hunger.

 If you are looking for ways to treat obesity in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

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Eating Your Way to Healthy Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects 1 in 3 American adults and can lead to significant health problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart or kidney failure, and more. Most doctors prescribe medication along with a healthy diet and exercise for this condition, but researchers are finding that some foods are better than others at helping control blood pressure.

You may know that excessive salt in your diet can raise blood pressure, but are you aware of the benefits of having enough potassium, magnesium, and fiber in your diet? Fruits and vegetables are high in these beneficial minerals and fiber and are naturally low in sodium. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people with hypertension may especially benefit from upping the amount of potassium in their diet. Adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams a day. A few good sources: bananas (422 milligrams each), a baked potato with skin (738 milligrams), orange juice (496 milligrams per cup), and nonfat or low-fat yogurt (531–579 milligrams per 8 ounces).

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan has been proven to lower blood pressure in studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to being a low salt (or low sodium) plan, the DASH diet provides additional benefits to reduce blood pressure. It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Some delicious choices for increasing these beneficial minerals and fiber include apples, bananas, carrots, grapes, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tuna, and yogurt. 

Dr. Tsuda and Dr. Ryan can provide you with nutritional guidance if necessary. They can help you find the right treatment to reduce the health risks of high blood pressure and other dangerous metabolic disorders that often accompany obesity. Call 702-487-6000 for a consultation.

Vegetables and High Blood Pressure

Healthy Strategies for the Holiday Weekend

Labor Day barbeques and picnics may seem exciting enough to forgo healthy eating; after all, the traditional end-of-summer weekend comes but once a year. In the long run, those celebrations aren’t as exciting as sticking to your eating plan and living a longer, healthier life. Work these tips into your party routine so that you can stick to your plan without missing a thing.

There are plenty of party foods that are naturally low in calories and seem equally festive. Go for crudités, lean grilled meats, chicken kebabs, salsa, grilled asparagus, boiled shrimp, and fruit. On a cheese tray, go for lower-calorie selections such as soft goat cheese and feta, and consider skipping the cracker when eating hard cheeses.

Before you even leave home, it’s a good idea to have a strategy:

  • Eat your calories – An easy way to cut calories without thinking is to watch the liquid calories. Each glass of wine or can of beer can be over 100 calories, and that’s not to mention the sugary drinks you may be tempted with on the side. Determine exactly how many glasses you want to enjoy before heading into the party so that you can plan accordingly. A pre-party workout can help you counterbalance a glass or two with little to no damage.
  • Balance is key – Try to balance out your plate with enough vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It helps to load the veggies on your plate first, then protein, so that you’re guaranteed to get enough nutrients without splurging on the first plate of carbohydrates you see. Remember that you can always go back for more.
  • Slow down – Being at a party can actually help slow the pace of your eating because of all the excitement going on. Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite.
  • Don’t save up – A lot of people will try to save their appetite before big outings so that they can enjoy more of the delicious food that’s being offered. This is not a good strategy. Waiting too long to eat will not only send your body into starvation mode, but it will also shrink your stomach so that you feel full sooner when you do start to indulge. Eating throughout the day will maintain insulin levels and combat a binge, so try to digest something every three hours.

At VIPSurg, Dr. Tsuda and his team can help if you are considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area. Schedule an appointment to find the right treatment for you.

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The Family that Plays Together Gets Healthy Together

Even though it gets tougher to find time for ourselves when we become parents, exercise remains just as important as it ever was. In fact, with little ones watching us as an example, exercise becomes even more important. If we as adults wish to create a future full of happy, healthy, disease-free adults for our kids, it’s time we start practicing what we preach.

Our kids model our behavior. If we want our kids to eat well, we need to eat well. If we want them to exercise, we need to exercise.

This modeling creates a culture of wellness in the home. In this environment, children learn that healthy habits are a positive way of life, not punishment for Mom and Dad for eating too much delicious food. One great way to be good exercise role models for your children is to find exercise activities you can do as a family. Here are some suggestions to get you started: 

  • Take a walk. Walking is a wonderful family activity. There are so many benefits to walking, and the whole family can participate (even the baby in her stroller and the family dog too). Whether you head into town or just cruise the neighborhood, building a walk into your daily schedule ensures that it won’t get put off.
  • Jump rope. Jumping rope is a kid-friendly exercise that is great for the whole family. In fact, kids usually dominate at this exercise once they get the hang of it thanks to their lower center of gravity. Just ten minutes of jump rope is enough to get the blood flowing, and with more than one person, it’s fun to learn all kinds of fun jumps.
  • Try structured exercise.There are many types of more structured exercises that can be done as a family. Some families like to take martial arts or yoga classes together. 
  • Try roller blading or biking. Head out as a family unit to try your hand at skating or biking. Both can be great exercise activities that are fun for any active family.
  • Get to work in the garden. Kids are great at digging up dirt, so let them turn over the soil and help you plant new bulbs. Research shows that gardening is as good as weight training when it comes to preventing osteoporosis, and if you’re planting vegetables, it can make them more appetizing to kids. 

When you’re planning your exercise routine, keep in mind that everyone in the family
needs to do this. Try to find activities that are fun and exhilarating for the entire group!

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