Weight Loss: Maybe Not Such A Great Idea
"What is not known is whether [weight loss] surgery's health benefits outweigh its risks over the long term."
"Other studies have focused on...whether overweight or obese people who voluntarily lost weight were healthier. Some studies found that they were; some found no difference; and some found that they actually died at a greater rate."
"It is true that thinner people tend to be healthier, but studies have found that, biochemically, the formerly fat are like people who are starving: obsessed with food, needing fewer calories to maintain their body weight. Many...have slow heart rates and always feel cold; women may stop menstruating, even if they are still relatively fat. Is that better or worse than remaining fat? No one knows for sure."
"Research studies at academic medical centers, providing intensive diet, exercise and behavioral therapy, result in losses of 8 to 12 percent of body weight in six months. But most people gain the weight back in a few years."
"Clearly, doctors have not yet given up on the idea that weight loss may improve health. Yet, they said, when they urge patients to lower their expectations about how much weight they can lose, some react with shock."
"Those few who succeed at weight loss may end up on what amounts to a permanent diet. People in a national registry of successful dieters...report consuming just 1,400 calories a day and walking, or doing equivalent exercise, for an hour a day."
So to sum up, it is really hard to lose more than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. And if you lose a lot of weight, you may not be any healthier and in fact may be less healthy. In addition, you will probably gain the weight back. If you don't gain the weight back, you will be on a strict diet for the rest of your life.
Obviously this is the worst-case scenario perpetuated by insurance companies who don't want to pay for weight-loss treatment. Still, it's kind of depressing! (Stay tuned for the inevitable "this article is horseshit" posts in the comments. It will make all of us dieters feel better.)