Obesity and Weight Loss Diet and Exercise versus Bariatric Surgery essay

Obesityand Weight Loss: Diet and Exercise versus Bariatric Surgery

Obesityand Weight Loss: Diet and Exercise versus Bariatric Surgery

Obesityis among the key medical conditions that are troubling thestakeholders in the health care sector, given the exponentialincrease in its prevalence. Obesity results from the accumulation ofexcess fats, but patients are only diagnosed with the condition whentheir BMI exceeds 30 kg/ m2 (WHO, 2015). It is estimated that about13.0 % of the adults aged above 18 years and 42 million children inthe world suffer from obesity (WHO, 2015). The affected people usedifferent methods (including diet, exercise, and bariatric surgery)to reduce weight and recover from obesity. In most cases, patientscombine dieting and exercise while surgery is recommended for extremecases of obesity. In this paper, the weight loss through bariatricsurgery will be compared and contrasted with the use of dietingstrategy. Dieting and bariatric surgery are effective methods thatresult in weight reduction among obese people, but they vary in thatdifferent procedures are required for each of them and the rate ofweight reduction is higher for a surgical procedure than dieting.

Bothdiet and bariatric surgery are effective weight loss strategies. Astudy that involved a total of 520 obese patients indicated thatbariatric surgery and die have relatively equal rates of weightreduction within the first six months (Busko, 2013). From this study,the group of participants that went through diet control experienceda drop in mean weight from 276.8 pounds to 240.3 pounds, while theweight of those who underwent surgery reduced from 286 pounds to236.3 pounds (Busko, 2013). There is a difference in the rate ofweight loss, but the findings support the idea that the two groups ofthe study participants were able to achieve a significant drop inweight. The findings indicate that both surgery and diet helppatients achieve their weight reduction targets in the short-run.

Scientificstudies indicate that diet and surgery are both effective methods ofreducing weight among obese patients. However, the effectiveness ofthe dieting strategy reduces after the first six months. A study thatcompared the effectiveness of lifestyle change strategies (includingdiet) and surgery indicated that the weight of the participants whounderwent surgery continued to drop, but it remained constant in thegroup that went through dieting after the first six months (Busko,2013). The difference in the level of effectiveness of the two weightloss strategies can be attributed to the fact that bariatric surgeryreduces the amount of food that should be in the stomach at a giventime and the capacity of the entire digestive system to absorbunwanted calories. The dieting strategy, on the other hand, can onlyreduce the amount food that is ingested, but the digestive systemretains its capacity to absorb all the nutrients available in thefood. The metabolic system is able to adjust and start storing almostevery amount of calorie that is ingested before the patient can reachthe starvation mode. This adjustment occurs after the first sixmonths of dieting, which explains the decline in the effectiveness ofdiet control in reducing weight.

Thetwo types of weight reduction approaches result in deficiency ofnutrients that do not contribute towards the occurrence of obesity.Every type of food contains a mixture of nutrients, includingcarbohydrates, salts, and vitamins. By reducing the quantity of foodthat is suspected to have more calories, patients on diet denythemselves the opportunity to access important mineral salts andvitamins that are needed by the body for different functions, such asimmunity (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery,2016). Although surgical procedures may help the health careproviders target parts of the gastrointestinal tract that areinvolved in the absorption of carbohydrates and fats, most of theminerals and vitamins are absorbed in the same sections with thetargeted types of nutrients. This implies that both the surgicalprocess and dieting can lead to deficiency of important minerals andvitamins.

Inaddition, the two weight reduction methods have side effects andmedical complications. For example, the dieting method is associatedwith the psychological strain that results from the oppressed feelingthat patients are inhibiting themselves constantly (Randy, 2011).Additionally, dieting leads to nutrient deficiency that increases therisk of suffering from different diseases. Some of the medicalcomplications associated with long-term dieting include cardiacdiseases, stress, and high blood pressure (Randy, 2011). Similarly,bariatric surgery has been associated with the occurrence of numerousside effects and medical complications. According to Mercola (2012)about half of all obese patients who choose to reduce weight throughsurgery experience medical complications, such as stomachobstruction, liver failure, kidney stone, and abnormal bandexpansion.

Bothdieting and bariatric surgery are associated with the occurrence ofdifferent side effects, but complications that result from surgeryare more severe than those caused by diet control. A study indicatedthat patients who go through bariatric surgery are 4.7 times likelyto die within the first 30 days than those who use the lifestylechange approaches, such as dieting (Mercola, 2012). The high risk ofdying indicate that medical complications that obese patientsexperience after going through surgery are more debilitating thanthose that result from the regulation of food intake through dieting.

Inaddition, bariatric surgery and dieting are used to achieve a commonobjective, but they are completely different procedures. Dieting is aweight reduction procedure that involves the consumption of theregulated quantity and quality of food over a period of time(Mercola, 2012). A more effective dieting process needs to beconducted under supervision, especially when the obese or overweightpeople have lost control over their eating habits. One may berequired to take a low carbohydrate, low fat, or low calorie mealsdepending on the factors that have contributed to their overweight.In most cases, the process of dieting is conducted in combinationwith the physical exercise in order to maximize the outcome.

Bariatricsurgery, on the other hand, is a more complex process that requiresmore money, expertise, and it is only performed for people withcertain levels of BMI. Unlike the dieting process that reduce weightby controlling the quantity as well as the quality of ingested food,bariatric surgery works by regulating the amount of food that thestomach can contain at a given time. This can be achieved through asurgical procedure referred to as sleeve gastrectomy, which involvesthe removal of about 80 % of the stomach (Cara, 2016). The remainingpart of the stomach takes a tubular shape, which reduces its capacityto hold large amounts of food at the same time. Bariatric surgeryalso reduces weight by interfering with the complex metabolicprocesses that regulate the absorption of foods along thegastrointestinal tract. The rate of absorption is also reduced bybypassing some sections of the gastrointestinal tract where most ofthe nutrients are absorbed.

Bariatricsurgery is believed to be more effective than dieting. However, thesurgical removal of parts of the stomach makes it complicated andexpensive. To this end, bariatric surgery is only recommended forpeople who have reached certain levels of BMI. Some researchersrecommend that bariatric surgery should be performed for people witha BMI of 40, while others hold that it can also be suitable forindividuals with a BMI of between 35 and 40 (ASMBS, 2016). Thisimplies that bariatric surgery is a highly restricted procedure thatshould only be performed with the doctor’s prescription and by ahighly qualified expert. Dieting, on the other hand, is a simple andflexible process that is not restricted to patients with specificlevels of BMI. Dieting can be practiced by anyone who decides to losesome weight because it is less risky and expensive compared tobariatric surgery.


Dietingand bariatric surgery are methods that lead to weight reduction, butthey vary in that different procedures are required for each of themand the rate of weight reduction is higher for a surgical procedurethan dieting. The two approaches result in relatively the same rateof weight reduction in the short-run, but, bariatric surgery remainseffective in both the short-run and in the long-run. Both bariatricsurgery and dieting have side effects and complications. However,bariatric surgery is associated with more serious medicalcomplications and the risk of death. Moreover, bariatric surgery ismore complicated and requires a lot of expertise than dieting.


AmericanSociety for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (2016). Bariatric surgerymisconceptions. ASMBS.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttps://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-misconceptions

Busko,M. (2013, November 21). Diet and lifestyle versus surgery forobesity: Both may work. WebMD,LLC.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814800

Cara,E. (2016, March 17). Head to head, bariatric surgery beats intensivediet and exercise at achieving diabetes remission. IBTMedia, Inc.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://www.medicaldaily.com/bariatric-surgery-type-2-diabetes-diet-and-exercise-378388

Mercola,D. (2012, November 17). Why weight loss surgery is not a soundtreatment choice for type 2 diabetes. NaturalHealth.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/17/weight-loss-surgery.aspx

Randy,B. (2011, May 31). Five common side effects of long term dieting.IdeaShape, LLC.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://www.idealshape.com/effects-of-long-term-dieting/

WHO(2015). Obesity and overweight. WHO.Retrieved May 28, 2016, fromhttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/