The Sugar/Obesity Connection

In ancient times, sugar was regarded not as something to be avoided but rather as a cure-all for anything that ailed you. In every culture, sweetness has a symbolism related to goodness. It was valued so highly partly because it was so rare, obtainable mostly in tiny quantities as honey. Now, we demonize it, and yet we can’t seem to stop gorging on it. Few plants have caused more human misery than sugar cane — through obesity, tooth decay, and Type 2 diabetes. Yet despite everything we now know about the harm caused by sugar and other modern sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, it never stops being something we seem to delight in.

There’s no doubt that sugar adds to the prevalence of obesity in America. Therefore, every food product that includes sugar may be contributing to the scope and costs of the obesity epidemic, accelerating the volume of premature deaths among millions of people in the United States.

Obesity and overweight rates have steadily grown. Type 2 diabetes, once unheard of among kids or even young adults, now is an increasingly common diagnosis among children. Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become the world’s leading killer.

Fortunately, sugar affects all of us differently, and for many people it is neither addictive or deadly. Just like many other substances that carry inherent risk, sugar can be safely used in moderation by most people without wreaking havoc on their lives or contributing to their premature deaths.

While calories from any food have the potential to increase the risk of obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases, nutrition researchers agree that sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role in chronic health problems. The disease risk increases even when the beverages are consumed within diets that do not result in weight gain.

Doctors have long suspected sugar is not simply a source of excess calories but a fundamental cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. But until recently, fat consumption and total energy balance have dominated the debate about obesity and the nature of a healthy diet.

Official estimates are that one in 11 people in the United States has diabetes, and latest diabetes-1724617__340estimates suggest that obesity and diabetes may now cost the US healthcare system as much as 1 billion dollars per day. In 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan described the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes worldwide as a “slow-motion disaster” — and suggested that the likelihood of preventing the current “bad situation” from getting “much worse” was “virtually zero.”

The past decade has seen a renewed interest in the possibility that calorific sweeteners — particularly sugar and high fructose syrups — have major roles in causing obesity and diabetes, and major public health organizations are now recommending strict limits to the consumption of these sugars. Much of the current discussion about sugar focuses on the effects of excess energy intake and weight gain, and the subsequent risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and some forms of dementia. But while being overweight or obese increases your risk of these diseases, excess weight is not a prerequisite.

While the development of diseases is no doubt also based on genes and lifestyle factors other than diet, the evidence of the potential harms of high-sugar diets is accumulating. It’s certainly compelling enough for many to consider limiting how much sugar we eat and drink. Whether or not the sugar itself is the culprit, sugary foods are linked to health problems, and that should be reason enough to cut down.

If you’re looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan and their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

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Metabolic Syndrome: Risks and Prevention

Once known in the medical community as “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although it sounds mysterious, Syndrome X is very common.

As is true with many medical conditions, genetics and the environment both play important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome. Genetic factors influence each individual component of the syndrome and the syndrome itself. A family history that includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and early heart disease greatly increases the chance that an individual will develop metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, environmental issues such as low activity level, sedentary lifestyle, and progressive weight gain also contribute significantly to the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

  • Age — Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age.
  • Race — In the United States, Mexican-Americans appear to be at the greatest risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Obesity — Carrying too much weight, especially in your abdomen, increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Diabetes — You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases — Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome.

The good news is that with changes to diet and exercise, you can prevent, control, or even reverse metabolic syndrome. If you don’t, you could develop significant health risks related to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as part of the condition. Because your risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age, it’s important to start adjusting your health habits early on.

If you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes will likely be the prescription. While medication is often necessary for those with this diagnosis, changes in diet and exercise can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems related to metabolic syndrome. 

If you are looking for treatment for severe obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our expert team can help find the right treatment for you. 

metabolic syndrome

Life After Bariatric Surgery

For many who think weight-loss surgery may be the only way to be healthy and live longer, the fear of how life might be after the procedure keeps them from taking life-saving measures. Be informed so that you can make educated decisions about your health. These facts can help you on the way to knowing what’s best for you and give you a glimpse into what one can usually expect after surgery.

Your recovery will depend on which procedure you choose (gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery). For example:

  • Average Hospital Stay: Ranges from outpatient (return home same-day) to 2-3 days
  • Average Time Until Back to Work: Ranges from 3 days to 2 weeks
  • Average Time to Full Recovery: Ranges from 3 days to 6 weeks
  • Pain: Ranges from mild discomfort to manageable with pain medication
  • Diet: Ranges from a few limited foods to a strict and slow transition from clear liquids to solid foods
  • Back-to-Normal Activity: Ranges from 3 days to 4-6 weeks

Life after weight loss surgery includes (depending on your chosen procedure):

  • Full recovery in 1 to 6 weeks
  • Excess weight loss between 25% and 90+%
  • Many obesity-related health problems cured or improved
  • Significant diet and exercise changes
  • Good and bad changes in how friends, family, and strangers treat you
  • Challenges such as sagging skin, digestion issues, and weight regain

Improvements to your physical health can be as impressive as your rapid weight loss family-eating-at-the-table-619142_1920after bariatric surgery. Conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, GERD, and other issues related to metabolic syndrome have been shown to get better or completely go away following gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band, and duodenal switch surgery.

It is important to emphasize making healthy food and lifestyle choices even before weight-loss surgical procedures. Bariatric surgery is a tool. Use it to make changes for a long, healthy, productive, and happy life.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Our team can help find the perfect treatment for you!

Weight-Loss Methods to Avoid

We live in a society today where everyone wants to stay trim and thin. Unfortunately, fighting off the bulge can range from following a sensible and healthy diet to making ill-guided efforts that can have serious consequences for your health. With more than half the American population considered overweight, everyone is looking for a magic trick to make tummies trimmer and thighs smaller. Unfortunately, there is no easy, quick fix.

Here are a few weight-loss methods you should avoid at all costs because they could cause serious health problems, and they won’t be the magic solution you desire:

  • All Forms of Purging — Purging includes making yourself vomit, chewing food and spitting it out, and abusing laxatives. These habits pose serious health issues and are the first step towards the development of eating disorders. Extremely acidic vomit can cause erosion in the esophagus, mouth, and tooth enamel. This can increase the risk of certain cancers and tooth decay.

Over-the-counter laxatives have become popular for those who want to lose weight     fast. The theory is that the laxative will accelerate the movement of food through the   digestive tract, giving your body less time to absorb high or low calories in the food you eat. Laxatives don’t do this. By the time food waste reaches the colon, the body has gotten all the nutrients from it, so you simply end up eliminating your food waste faster. A side effect of laxative use is dehydration, so you may shed some water weight when using a laxative. Other side effects also include nausea, mental fogginess, muscle weakness, even death.

  • Starvation, Fasting, or Very Low-Calorie Diets — Just like cutting out certain food groups, fasting does more harm than good if you are attempting to lose weight. Long term starvation tells your body to hold on to as much of the energy and fat reserves that is must survive—not to mention the lack of food can lead to extremely unpleasant side effects.

Fasting may lead to weight loss, but the lost weight includes precious muscle and lowers metabolism. Drastic calorie restriction also causes a shift towards a higher percentage of body fat, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Skipping even a single meal can lead to nausea, headaches, and fatigue. The hunger from fasting can also lead to dangerous binge eating later, which can set you back in your weight loss goals.

The best tactic is to choose a diet that works well for your lifestyle. The best diet is one that you can stick to long-term. Use common sense, listen to your body, be mindful of what you eat, and ignore expensive, risky, and worthless weight-loss strategies or products that are unproven.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for treatments for extreme obesity, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

diet

Visual Cues that Make Portion Control Easy

To reach or stay at a healthy weight, how much you eat is just as important as what you eat. How many calories you need each day to lose weight or maintain your weight depends on your age, weight, metabolism, whether you are male or female, how active you are, and other factors. Portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

When you’re filling your plate, picture these items to help remind you of proper serving sizes:

  • Protein — Most Americans get way more than enough protein every day. A proper single portion of meat is just 3 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards, a standard smart phone, or the palm of your hand (no fingers).
  • Starches and Grains — Portions have gotten so out of control that over-sized bakery My plate - portion control guideitems have become the norm. Instead of assuming one muffin means one serving, picture this: a bagel portion should look like a regular size can of tuna; a pancake should be the size of a CD; and a muffin should be the size of a hockey puck. The amount of cereal in your bowl should be the size of a baseball, and your rice or pasta side dish should be the size of a tennis ball.
  • Fruits and Vegetables — Fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals, so they are an essential part of your diet, but they are also a source of sugar. When consuming fruit, keep your portion to about the size of a tennis ball. A portion of cooked vegetables should be the size of a baseball, and a portion of raw vegetables should be the size of two baseballs.
  • Fats — Fats have gotten a bad reputation because they are high in calories and can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess; however, healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado, are a crucial part of a healthy fat. Keep your portions in check by picturing two stacked dice or a poker chip when serving yourself a fat source.

The quantities mentioned here were formulated by U.S.D.A and derived based on energy utilized by the average modern-day human.

For most of us, trying to remember the serving quantities of various foods seems like an impossible task. Fortunately, there is a simpler way of doing things. Follow this last tip regularly, to keep portions in control — Take a 9-inch dinner plate and visualize it divided into four parts – each containing one of the four recommended food groups i.e. fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

If you are interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at ViPSurg. Our expert team will find the right treatment for you.

Let’s Not Sugar Coat It – Carbs Get a Bad Rap

Over the past few years, carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, have gotten a bad reputation. Unfortunately, an “all-or-nothing” restriction could be causing many people to eventually binge on these foods, often leading to weight gain and the problems that accompany obesity. Despite the messages in the media about the dangers of carbs and sugars, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are bad.

As a matter of fact, to boost your metabolism and ultimately lose weight, one must incorporate good carbs into their daily diet. Good carbs provide vital nutrients and essential fibers and help you stay full.

What are good carbs?

Good carbs are complex carbs that provide energy and nutritional value. For example, whole grains like quinoa, barley, faro, brown rice, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, or artichokes. Whole grain breads and pastas are easy to incorporate into your diet. These foods will keep you energized for a long period of time and are a healthy staple to any meal.

What are bad carbs?

Bad carbs are refined carbs, often filled with added sugar and devoid of nutritional photo-1458938354258-3e66eb36eb7bvalue. Examples of these would include foods containing refined grains like white rice and foods containing white flour like bread, pasta, and pastries. Bad carbs will provide temporary relief of hunger, but since the nutritional value is so low, the feeling of fullness is short-lived.

Remember, carbs do have their value, and that value should not be underestimated. Whole grains are reliable suppliers of energy; they take longer to break down than refined carbs, and they help make you feel fuller and more satisfied. Whole-grain carbs, when taken in the right portions, are not usually the issue when it comes to weight gain.

Also remember that no diet is perfect. While a well-balanced diet should predominantly include complex carbohydrates, eating simple carbohydrates in moderation will not necessarily make you gain weight or cause chronic diseases.

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day and men should have no more than nine. Consuming large amounts of refined sugar is hard on your whole body. It can cause weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes, but it also effects mood, sleep, skin, and digestion.

If you are looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors are experts at bariatric surgery and can help find the right treatment for you.

How Much Water is Enough?

You may have heard that you should aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. How much you should actually drink is more individualized than you might think. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) currently recommends that men should drink at least 104 ounces of water per day, which is 13 cups.

They say women should drink at least 72 ounces, which is 9 cups. Even still, the answer to exactly how much water you should drink isn’t so simple.

While the eight glasses rule is a good start, it isn’t based on solid, well-researched information. Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water. While every system in your body needs water to function, your recommended intake is based on factors including your sex, age, activity level, and others, such as if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. However, this is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables.

Of this total, men should drink around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it’s 9 cups.
If you find it challenging to get in all that water each day, here are a few tips to help:

  • Measure out the water you plan to drink for the day. This gives you a visual reminder as well as lets you see your progress throughout the day.
  • Have a plan. Have a certain amount you want to get in by lunch time. Set aside what is left for the afternoon, perhaps making it so there will be a smaller amount remaining for the early evening.
  • As you sip your way through the day if you find you’re not going to make it, add some fresh squeezed lemon to your water and a few drops of natural sweetener.

In addition to the general health benefits of proper hydration, for years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. Also, food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with VIPSurg. Drs. Tsuda and Ryan are ready to help you find the right solution for your unique situation.

person drinking water