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Regular weigh-ins, simple tips help avoid Christmas weight gain


Christmas Day is less than two weeks away and that means many of us will soon be gorging ourselves on all sorts of culinary delights. It’s a reality that will see a lot of people piling on the pounds this month ahead of the inevitable January fitness drive. But what if there was a simple way to limit the impact of Christmas feasting on our waistlines? A new study by the Universities of Birmingham and Loughborough in the UK suggests there is. According to the study involving 272 volunteers, regular home weigh-ins coupled with simple weight-loss tips can prevent people from putting on weight over the festive period. For the study, the volunteers were divided into two groups. One group weighed themselves regularly and were given dietary advice, including information on how many calories they needed to burn to negate Christmas food. The other group didn’t weight themselves and were only given a small amount of healthy lifestyle advice. The group that weighed themselves and had access to the additional information weighed 0.49kg less than the "comparison" group come the end of the study. Study lead author, Frances Mason, of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research, said “People gain a kilo of weight on average annually. Often this weight gain happens at Christmas, and is never fully lost. This could possibly be a factor driving the obesity epidemic.” In other words, by simply keeping track of your weight and understanding the impact the foods you are eating are having on your waistline, you stand a better chance of avoiding weight gain at a time of year that’s traditionally associated with piling on the pounds. [Related reading: Why being overweight increases your risk of cancer]

Low-carb diets could shorten life expectancy, study finds


Diets that are low in carbohydrates, such as the Atkins Diet, have become increasingly popular among people wanting to lose weight. But while some swear that cutting carbs is the key to weight loss and a long, healthy life, a new study suggests it could actually shorten your life expectancy by up to four years. The 25-year study in the US found that moderate carbohydrate consumption and/or replacing meat with plant-based protein and fats is healthier than a low-carb diet. Based on questionnaires completed by some 15,400 people and published in The Lancet Public Health journal, the study found that individuals who got around half of their energy from carbohydrates had a slightly lower risk of death compared to people who had low and high card intakes. From the age of 50, people in the moderate carb group were expected to live, on average, for another 33 years, the researchers found. That’s four years more than the individuals in the extra low-carb group and 2.3 years more than the low-card group. Dr Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist from Boston and leader of the study, said: “Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat are gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy. “However, our data suggests that animal-based low carbohydrate diets, which are prevalent in North America and Europe, might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged. “Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term.” [Recommended reading: Serving food on smaller plates doesn't fool hungry people - study]

Study: Mental Health Conditions Common Before Bariatric Surgery, but Fall Afterwards


Patients who are seeking and undergoing bariatric surgery commonly suffer from mental health conditions, such as depression and binge eating disorders. However, following successful bariatric surgery, the rates of these conditions fall, according to a study published in JAMA. Bariatric surgery is a highly accepted method of promoting weight loss in obese individuals and can also serve to reduce their risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. Dr. Aaron J. Dawes, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, led a research team which wanted to discover how common mental health conditions were in people seeking and undergoing bariatric surgery. The findings of their research show that 23% of bariatric surgery patients were affected by a current mental health disorder, with depression (19%); a binge-eating disorder (17%); and anxiety (12%) the most common. Following surgery, a fall in the rate of depression was observed. Of the 27 studies analysed by the research team, seven revealed an 8-74% drop in the rate of depression after surgery, while six reflected a 40-70% reduction in the rate of depressive symptoms. The report authors noted: "Previous reviews have suggested that self-esteem, mental image, cognitive function, temperament, support networks and socioeconomic stability play major roles in determining outcomes after bariatric surgery." They suggest incorporating these factors into future studies, which would help form part of "an optimal strategy for evaluating patients' mental health prior to bariatric surgery."   Photo via: Bassett Healthcare Network 

Weight-Loss Surgery Could Save the NHS Money Says TV Doctor


The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is seemingly struggling to cope with the demand for its services. Since the beginning of the year, 14 hospitals in the UK have declared ‘major incidents’ because they are unable to cope with the “unprecedented pressure” being placed upon them this year. Surgical procedures and outpatient appointments have been cancelled amid the turmoil and some hospitals have even set up makeshift wards to accommodate patients. But now, one of the UK’s best-loved TV doctors has spoken out about the economic benefits to the NHS of weight loss surgery for obese individuals. Countless studies have shown that being overweight has a significantly detrimental effect on a person’s life, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart problems and stroke. Furthermore, one in four adults and one in five children in the UK are considered obese – a fact that puts a huge burden on the already struggling NHS. Obesity-related problems are thought to cost the NHS around £6 billion a year and Dr Christian Jessen – who presents Channel 4’s Weighing Up The Enemy – believes it makes economic sense to offer gastric band and gastric bypass operations to obese individuals. He said: “It is very clear to me we need to invest more now in this type of procedure in order to save considerable amounts in the future”. It is thought that within two to three years, bariatric surgery pays for itself and so the argument for it to be undertaken on the NHS or privately carries a lot of weight.

New Report Shows Bariatric Surgery Has Many Benefits


According to a recent study by the National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR), almost 40% of people in the UK who undergo weight-loss surgery are, in fact, super-obese. Not only is this startling reality hard to comprehend but it also threatens to cripple the NHS in the future, unless this trend is curbed. However, the research also discovered that bariatric surgery actually has a significant effect on some of the chronic illnesses that are associated with being overweight; something that will help alleviate the overstretched NHS. Conditions such as type 2 diabetes are often linked with obesity and the study showed that after bariatric surgery two thirds of sufferers showed no sign of the condition two years later. Bariatric surgery, which usually involves gastric bands or reducing stomach sizes, is now actively being seen as a highly beneficial weight-loss solution as highlighted by the NBSR’s chairman Richard Welbourn: “For severely obese people, medical therapy, lifestyle changes and attempts at dieting rarely succeed in maintaining long-term, clinically beneficial weight loss due to the hormonal effects of being obese”. The NBSR’s report is based on over 18,000 operations conducted between 2010 and 2013, but NHS cuts could mean that the number of bariatric surgeries in the UK next year is restricted. It’s still the case that prevention is better than cure when it comes to medicine, but the NBSR’s study demonstrates that bariatric surgery, when required, is an effective and safe procedure for losing weight. Find out more about how we can facilitate bariatric surgery for you here in France.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Explained


Anyone who has tried losing weight will tell you that it’s not easy – and that’s a fact! However, for some people it’s not just a lack of willpower that prevents them from losing weight and oftentimes the only answer is a surgical procedure. But if you’ve been recommended to undergo sleeve gastrectomy what can you expect? Historically, sleeve gastrectomy was actually performed as a prerequisite to a duodenal switch procedure. This is because many patients were too obese to undergo the latter right away and needed to lose weight first. The weight-loss seen in some patients was so successful that the possibility of carrying out sleeve gastrectomy was investigated as a standalone procedure. Nowadays, sleeve gastrectomy is considered a routine weight-loss procedure This surgery can be performed as an open procedure (large incision) or using several small incisions and a camera (laparoscopic surgery). Whichever method is best for you will ultimately be determined by your surgeon. Regardless of the way it’s performed, sleeve gastrectomy sees a large proportion of your stomach being removed (usually more than 50%). Your ‘new’ stomach is inevitably banana-shaped and looks like a long, thin tube. The incision in your stomach itself is closed with staples and, due to its nature, the procedure is irreversible. Your recovery period will totally depend on your individual circumstances and whether you had more traditional open surgery or laparoscopic. Either way, France is a fantastic place to recover – although the plethora of culinary delights may prove problematic because you’ll inevitably be on liquid food immediately after your procedure. Contact France Surgery today to find out how you can benefit from our range of sleeve gastrectomy procedures.

The Benefits of Gastric Band Surgery


Gastric Band Surgery for people who are extremely overweight can be a life-changing occurrence. It’s a procedure that puts in place an adjustable lap band around the upper part of the stomach to restrict its size and slow down the passage of food, making them feel fuller, sooner. The major obvious benefit is the weight loss that patients can expect to see. This is normally around 50% of the original excess weight and often occurs within the first year, but can carry on into the second. In addition, Gastric Band Surgery does not require the patient to follow a strict diet, since the band will reduce the amount of food intake naturally, making it easier than many other weight loss solutions. The procedure itself is considered relatively low risk and since it is often carried out using keyhole surgery, the recovery time is reasonably quick. A standard hospital stay is just one or two nights and most patients can be back to normal activities within a week to ten days. Aside from this weight loss benefit where patients will feel better, have improved confidence and self-esteem and be happier in general, there are major additional health benefits associated with Gastric Band Surgery. No longer will the patient be at high risk of infertility, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and arthritis. So it really is a long term solution for those who are extremely overweight without posing any health risks. If you’d like to find out more about Gastric Band Surgery, contact France Surgery today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Quick fix for weight loss


This is the time of year when people around the world overindulge with food and drink and usually start regretting both come the New Year. Resolutions to get fit and healthy are very common as the clock strikes midnight on New Years’ Eve, however there are always just as many people who want the same effects without putting in the required effort. For the people who wish to lose weight without hitting the gym or changing their diet there is the temptation to look to surgical techniques such as gastric bands or gastric bypass surgery. These surgical procedures work by either restricting the stomach with a ‘band’ which means the patient becomes full quicker and so cannot eat as much as they did previously, or the route that the food takes is altered in order to bypass part of the digestive system which also means the patient cannot physically eat as much food. These procedures are very effective in reducing weight and can be thought of as an easy way to solve a complex problem. What many people do not realise however, is that there really is no quick fix to weight loss. Any reputable healthcare provider, such as France Surgery, will not entertain completing these types of surgical procedures because the patient is unhappy with their weight. A patient must have seriously tried various weight loss techniques before considering surgery and these efforts must have proved to be ineffective. The patients’ health must also be suffering due to their obesity. Weight loss surgery is definitely not for people who simply want to change the way they look.

Tips to staying healthy over Christmas


Christmas is a time of over-indulgence where people eat, drink and generally be merry. Of course there is nothing wrong with this but if you choose not to look after yourself this Christmas then your New Year might not get off to a very healthy start. Follow these tips to ensure you have fun but stay healthy this Christmas: Drink enough water – remaining hydrated is key to staying healthy. If you choose to drink alcohol over Christmas then keeping your water levels up is particularly important. Get enough sleep – 7-8 hours of sleep is generally the recommended amount. Even if you are enjoying the party season make sure you catch up on your sleep the next day to remain fresh and healthy. Relax – most people have some time off work over Christmas so use it to relax and de-stress so that you can return to work feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the new year. Watch what you eat – Christmas can appear to be about sweets, chocolate and puddings but remember to eat your fair share of fruit and pile up the vegetables on your Christmas dinner so you can make sure you don’t leave your body feeling sluggish. Photo credit: Flickr

Misconceptions of Gastric Surgery


1. Gastric surgery is a cure for being overweight To many people gastric surgery is simply another option to help a person lose weight. It is often viewed as a cure obesity and a procedure which allows a person to eat whatever they like, do limited exercise and still remain a healthy weight. This is very far front the truth. Gastric surgery will only be performed on a patient who has tried all other, non-surgical options and still cannot maintain a healthy weight. This surgery will also only be performed on a patient committed to making necessary changes to their lifestyle.  2. Gastric surgery is a purely cosmetic procedure Gastric surgery is not carried out in order to allow a patient to achieve a certain look. These procedures will only be contemplated if the weight of the patient is causing health issues and no other form of weight loss has worked. Gastric surgery will assist a person to lose weight in order to be achieve a healthy weight, not to achieve a desired weight.  3. You can choose whatever procedure you want in order to get the body you desire To a certain extent you can choose how your surgery is performed with France Surgery. The medical and surgical teams will take your views into consideration, however, the final decision will be made based on health issues and not your personal desires. 

What You Need to Know About Gastric Bands


What is a gastric band? A band which is fitted around the stomach in order to reduce the amount of food that can be consumed before feeling full. This band is attached to a reservoir which can be used to adjust the size of the restriction caused by the band. In what situations is a gastric band used? If a person is morbidly obese and has tried other methods to lose weight without success gastric band surgery may be considered. How is the surgery carried out? In France the surgeons are highly qualified and experienced and are able to carry out this type if surgery by making small incisions and using internal cameras and instruments, rather then opening up a person’s abdomen. This is called keyhole surgery.  What happens once the operation is over? Recovery time for keyhole surgery is less than open surgery and disposable stitches should have dissolved in 7-10 days. You may need to have the banding adjusted 2-3 times over the first few months after the operation. Is a gastric band a cure to being overweight? No, a gastric band will be used in conjunction with making healthy changes to a person’s lifestyle. If a person is unwilling to make these changes then a gastric band may be refused. Photo Credit: © Alila Medical Media -