And The Lap Band Played On …

      23 Comments on And The Lap Band Played On …

I saw this billboard while driving to my office a couple of days ago.  I was so stunned, I nearly blew through a stop sign.  I pulled over and snapped a picture with my cell phone, but the resolution wasn’t good, so I went back the next day with a digital camera.

Let’s talk why this sign is a load of bologna.  We’ll start with “Dieting Sucks.”  That kind of depends on the diet, doesn’t it?  For me, low-fat diets certainly sucked.  I’d lose a little weight, stall, and end up feeling lethargic and depressed.  The “Fit For Life” diet also sucked.  After consuming nothing but fruit and juice half the day, I’d get a sugar buzz, then crash, then up feeling shaky from not having any fat or protein in my system.

But my current diet doesn’t suck.  Here’s what I consumed today:

  • Breakfast — Italian sausage with sautéed onions, scrambled eggs, a couple of strawberries, coffee with heavy cream.
  • Lunch —  Big handful of roasted almonds, a tablespoon of coconut oil.  (It was a late breakfast, so I wasn’t that hungry.  The almonds would’ve been plenty, but coconut oil is waaaay yummy.)
  • Dinner — Ribeye steak, Caesar salad without croutons, sautéed vegetables drizzled with butter.
  • Late-Night Snack — A slice of goat’s milk brie cheese, and a mix of almonds, Brazil nuts, and macadamias.  I picked the nuts out of the big jar my wife buys at Costco.  My girls prefer the cashews, so it works out well.  I like the big Costco jar of nuts because it’s inexpensive, and they don’t roast the nuts in any nasty vegetables oils.

It’s late at night as I write, and I feel full and satisfied.  Not once all day did I look at what I was eating and say, “Man, this diet SUCKS!”

Do I wish I could eat Doritos and pizza without getting fat and sick?  Sure.  I used to love that stuff.  However, if you want to be healthy, you can’t eat everything.  You have to make choices.

But you wouldn’t know that from the billboard, would you?  Hey, dieting sucks!  Don’t put yourself through that … get surgery instead!  Just one little problem:  lap-band surgery doesn’t save you from dieting; it just forces you on a diet by shrinking your stomach to a fraction of its natural size.

And what a luxurious diet it is!  Here’s some information I copied and pasted from a web site for people considering lap-band surgery:

The second phase of the Lap-Band diet consists of 5 to 6 weeks of a modified full liquid diet; the key component of this phase is consuming two ounces of a protein shake every hour for ten to twelve hours a day with two ounces of other liquids such as soup, baby food, or sugar-free gelatin three times a day.

During the second six weeks following Lap-Band surgery patients may eat food that is shredded in a food processor prior to eating. The basic foods on the Lap-Band diet include meats or other forms of protein, vegetables, and salads.

After Lap-Band surgery the stomach will never hold more than 4 to 6 ounces per meal, so making every bite count is essential for healthy and nutritionally rounded weight loss success.  Protein is especially important following Lap-Band surgery.  The Lap-Band diet does not include most bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.

Hmmm … protein shakes for six weeks, a gut-busting two ounces at a time.  But after that, you can pig out on up to six ounces of protein, salads and vegetables.  Gee, aren’t you glad you didn’t have to go on some awful diet?  (But remember, you need to avoid bread, potatoes and starchy vegetables … almost like someone following one of those crazy low-carb diets.)

Compare the diet of a lap-band victim to the list of what I ate today, then ask yourself a question:  which diet actually SUCKS?  And what can we say about a surgeon who would put up this billboard to encourage people to undergo an expensive and unnecessary procedure?  Let me see, the words are coming to me … oh, I know:  he sucks, too.

p.s. – A friend of mine had gastric bypass surgery a couple of years ago.  After being thin most of her life, she became obese in the span of a single year and started developing diabetes.  In other words, she crossed the threshold of insulin resistance – she wasn’t eating any more than when she was thin.  The surgery was presented to her as case of “do this or die.”  Yes, she lost a lot of weight.  But she can never eat a normal meal again, and she has recurring problems with digestion.  After watching Fat Head and realizing her weight gain and diabetes were almost surely the result of eating too many carbohydrates – something her doctor never suggested – she regrets having the procedure.

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23 thoughts on “And The Lap Band Played On …

  1. TonyNZ

    But hey, you get a new wristwatch. Too bad you can’t read it because it’s somewhere between your kidneys and spleen, but whatever.

    However, if you get skinny enough, you’ll hear the ticks and the chimes.

  2. Scott Moore

    Wow. Good work thinking to read about the diet associated with this surgery. It’s amazing what these doctors will do.

    For me, I was suffering through the last two meals on this horrible diet. Dinner was a 12oz ribeye and a dozen stalks of butter-drenched asparagus stalks. Breakfast this morning was 5 eggs scrambled plus 4 strips of bacon and a couple strawberries. I eat like this all the time and I can’t gain weight. I’m suffering, can’t you tell?

    I feel your pain. Maybe surgery would relieve you of the burden.

  3. JaneM

    This is so sad. Another of my favorite blogs, Junkfood Science, has reported that many post-gastric surgery patients have terrible problems with nutritional deficiencies. She also reports that many patients have additional surgeries to correct problems. I worked in a surgical center for many years, and we saw many patients with gastrointestinal issues after surgery.

    Yup. You end up forced on a limited diet with tiny portions, and your guts hurt. What a deal.

    If you saw Super Size Me, you’ll recall the interview scene with the obese man about to undergo the bypass. He said he typically filled his Big Gulp travel cup with soda four times per day. That’s two gallons of soda. I was screaming at the screen, “Forget the surgery! Throw away that stupid soda cup!”

  4. Gazelle

    Great post!!

    The story of your friend learning about low-carb “too late” after NOT learning about it from her doctor and having gastric bypass is … so tragic and so telling of the mindset of the medical industry!

    I think it borders on malpractice. She’s damaged for life and it wasn’t necessary.

  5. Ellen Ussery

    And here is the absolutely most amazing thing. The longer I eat low carb, the less I actually enjoy most of the higher carb foods I used to crave. Admittedly, it has taken a number of years for this to kick in. In the old days I never noticed that those first bites of carbs were not satisfying in the least bit and were in fact creating more hunger. I did not notice because I had never experienced real satisfaction. But now that my metabolism has begun to change and I know what satisfaction feels like on a cellular level, it has become very unpleasant to feel that hunger rev up. It takes less and less thought to stay low carb because it just feels so much better. I never imagined that I would/could feel this way.

    Love your blog (and your film).

    Last time I ate some chips, I felt awful. Same with pizza crust, although I occasionally satisfy the pizza urge by ordering a large one and eating the cheese and toppings. It does get easier.

    Thanks for the compliments.

  6. Eric

    I actually do a lot of work with gastric surgery patients in my profession, and you’ve only touched the surface of the kind of sacrifices the surgery requires of them. Band patients have to chew their food to the consistency of baby food. They can’t have food and drink at the same time. They can’t eat too much before bed, or they’ll PB (Productive Burp) in the middle of the night. They suffer extremely negative physical effects if they do break the rules. Chest pain and vomiting is common until they learn the ropes.

    It’s really sad. These are people who are desperate for a solution, having tried and failed multiple times to follow the low fat diets their doctors and Oprah have recommended.

    Sorry to hear about your friend. At least the gastric band patients can choose to have their procedure reversed when mainstream medicine finally pulls its head out of its ass.

    She described the effects you mentioned to me. Breaks my heart. But she’s an upbeat person by nature and is making the best of it.

  7. Randy

    Next week, look for this billboard:


    Get a Hamsterectomy! We’ll surgically install metal wheels in your feet which never stop spinning!

    Don’t give them any ideas.

  8. Jane

    I love your blog and check it for new posts daily.
    About 18 years ago I went on a low carb diet and lost quite a bit of weight. I felt the best I ever had in my life. Unfortunatly I got sucked back into the low fat hype and have over the years become obese. ( and didn’t do it eating at fast food restaurants as I never go to them)
    I’m a few weeks back onto the low carb and feeling better already. I plan to stick with it this time. I just wish I had gone back to this a long time ago before things got so out of control. My doctor at one time mentioned surgery for my weight and I told him absolutely not. Glad I didn’t let him talk me into it.
    Looking forward to seeing your film. Is it available in Canada yet ?


    Wishing the best for your results. As far as I know, Amazon will deliver to Canada. The Amazon Canadian site also has links to some local distributors.

  9. Willa Jean

    Oh this is just wrong on so many levels!
    Couldn’t she go very low carb, have the stupid thing adjusted, maybe even eliminated?
    There’s a talk radio guy in this neck of the woods who had WL surgery a couple of years ago. Bypass, I think. Lost a ton of weight and his publicity shots (Photshop, anyone?) look like he’s kept it off. But, when he’s not around, other folks at the studio make some pretty explicit jokes about his, um, postprandial “aura”.

    Yes, my friend realized too late she probably could’ve achieved her results with a low-carb diet. Her husband learned from her mistake, in fact. He wanted to lose weight, eliminated all sugar and flour, and lost 40 pounds in a few months.

    A weight-loss surgery advocate with a microphone … scary.

  10. Robin

    That advertising is incredible – talk about misleading. Get the band and you can continue to shove gross amounts of carbs down your pie hole.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many corporations benefit from obesity. Getting good nutrition info to people has so many parallels with the fight over the health risks of cigarettes.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Indeed. And I will.

  11. K von M

    I LOVED the title of this post. My sister- and brother-in-law both had weight issues and decided to go for gastric bypass rather than taking any advice from me on low-carbing. What I find sad is that they haven’t learned anything, other than how limited their diet is because if they eat too much, they have to go throw up. They both look good, I’ll give them that, but I’m dreading the day that malnutrition sets in, or the day they gain it all back. Changing your body doesn’t do anything if you don’t change your mind along with it.

    Even if they’re thin, if they are filling their tiny tummies with junk, they can still suffer the consequences.

  12. Ted Hutchinson

    Swedish site showing Saturated fats are beneficial, but not carbohydrate

    Here is a
    Google translate version of that page.

    It looks like this Swedish University followed your example and put their students on Macdonald’s for a month. I don’t speak Swedish but you may have a contact who does who could explain to you what the lecturers are saying in the video. Be interesting to know what they found.

    If it’s the study I heard about before, they found that most of the students couldn’t replicate Spurlock’s weight gain. A couple of students developed some early signs of fatty liver, which the media immediately attributed to the “high-fat diet” … in spite of the fact that the lead researcher specifically blamed the refined carbohydrates. (If you want to give a goose a fatty liver to make foi gras, you force-feed it corn, not bacon.)

    Note in this article that the Swedish researcher is suspicous about Spurlock’s results, and think his liver may have improved after the third week.

    The researchers also noted that the extra fat in the diet led to higher HDL scores — one of the reasons the anti-fat campaigns are misguided.

  13. Max

    I used to work at a private hospital that performed these gastric surgeries.
    Here is the diet we would serve them after their surgery;
    First 2 or 3 days – NOTHING.
    Next 2 days after that a meal was – about a tablespoon of clear soup, a tablespoon of jelly and a tablespoon of apple juice.
    In the days after that they could have a tablespoon of pureed veges, the same of meat. Maybe some unsweetened yoghurt or a tiny cracker.
    Once when I was delivering meals it was discovered a gastric patient had conned someone into giving them a huge plate of scrambled eggs. When this patient checked out, they immediately went to the hospital cafe and pigged out. This patient’s occupation? Nurse. You think a nurse would know better.

    The point is two things are hard to find in people these days: a bit of will-power, and basic knowledge of nutrition. If you eat in moderation then you shouldn’t need to go on any diet, including lower carbs, because if you’re eating in moderation you’re probably eating lower carbs anyway!
    (BTW I enjoyed the last half of your doco a lot, haven’t seen the first half yet)

    Strange to think people would undergo a procedure that forces them to adopt such a stringent diet, when all most of them would have to do is give up sugar and starch … especially since the surgery means giving up starches anyway.

  14. Pingback: Weight Loss Blogg

  15. Michelle

    Hey there! Thank you for commenting on this obscene billboard! I too was stunned when I saw it a few days ago. You have put an articulate voice to the steam rising off my head.

    I was pretty steamed when I saw it as well. I’m glad nobody was recording me at the time.

  16. Gracie

    To me it is malpratice not to tell these people before they have this done that that’s how they will have to eat afterward. But then, how many would then have the surgery? What we need is for our health care providers only get paid if we’re healthy, then things might just change!

    I would guess that they do have to talk about the post-surgery diet, but I would also guess they sugar-coat it (no pun intended).

  17. Gary Katch

    “The Lap-Band diet does not include most bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables.”

    It seems to me that if you went on a Lap-Band diet before surgery, you wouldn’t need the surgery. I suppose expensive medical procedures are good motivators for some people. It’s like losing a lung to make one consider giving up smoking.

    The lap-band surgeons should counsel potential patients to give up all bread, potatoes, starchy vegetables and sugars for a couple of months and see how the body responds. Then, if the patient isn’t losing weight and isn’t showing improvement in insulin resistance, they could talk about the surgery.

  18. Lisa

    I had the lap band a few years ago. Seeing the advertising makes me ill. The TV ads talk about taming the hunger–not! I was hungry all the time. My restriction varied from day to day, as did the amount I could eat. Some days, I could not even swallow my own saliva. After two years, moderate weight loss, my band twisted and ruptured my stomach. I nearly died. All that, and most of my weight loss must have been due to the low carb nature of the eating plan that follows the band procedure. I feel a lot of desperate people are being sold a bill of goods. It is a tool, not an easy out–oh and it has a real potential to make life miserable too.

    That’s what I don’t understand about this procedure … how is shrinking your stomach supposed to make hunger go away? Research is pretty conclusive that hunger isn’t the result of an empty stomach; it’s the result of running low on fuel at the cellular level. And hunger only goes away when your cells are fueled, whether your belly is full or not.

    Give yourself a tiny tummy that can only hold a few ounces of food at a time, and it seems to me you’d be running short on fuel constantly.

  19. Halle

    I got your movie from Amazon, I bought it because I saw some advance clips on You Tube quite a while ago — I’m glad I saw it, thanks for making it — it’s a great film, and funny, too!

    The not so funny is that I know people who have had bariatric surgery, and I know several people who think it is their only answer. It makes me mad and sad. I can’t seem to say anything to these people I care about that has any effect on the powerful magical thinking that caused them to accept the idea that SURGERY will cure the OBEEZITY and that it is the BESTEST, SAFEST, EASIEST and most CERTAIN way to Perfekt Health TM!! (because it’s really really not about wanting to look better, it’s only about health. Puh leez.) I can’t get them to realize that the surgery will probably maim them, and that there are other options. One person is being driven to get the procedure because his wife thinks he will die if he doesn’t lose weight. It’s true that he is struggling with out of control blood sugar — but IMHO he needs to learn to use his insulin right, and he’s better off doing that before he goes into surgery– because out of control blood sugar could kill him on the table. I’m sick with worry. Sorry to dump. I would love to show your movie to everyone I know.

    I sincerely those people read up on what their diets will be like afterwards. Tiny portions, no bread or other starches … for pete’s sake, give up the sugar and starches now, and you won’t have to maim yourself. Maybe you could show them the post on the lap-band procedure so they know what they’re in for, plus the Jimmy Moore interviews so they’ll understand people can lose hundreds of pounds and still enjoy a real meal.

  20. KD

    I’ve seen some of these billboards, too, in Los Angeles. I think I rolled my eyes at how they have used the “after” pictures to advertise, with models clearly that never had an overweight problem to begin with.

    If those who’ve had the surgery done have to follow a low carb diet for life, then why are we still being told that the low carb is harmful? Sounds to me like some just want the money the surgeries bring in….

    When I read the post-surgery guidelines, I nearly fell out of my chair. Can’t eat starch? Try doing that without the surgery and see what happens.

  21. Angelyne

    Instead of trying to think up ways of suing fast food companies, maybe lawyers should sue lapband and WLS clinics. I am firmly convinced they are committing malpractice. This is just a new method of jaw wiring. Gimme a break.

    For the Canadian who was asking about getting Fat Head in Canada, you can order it from It takes a little while to get it, but get it you do.

  22. MH

    I agree that the billboard is ridiculous, especially because the lap band still allows you to eat plenty of cupcakes, cheetos, etc… However, the band and low cab are not mutually exclusive – I am doing both. I have had my band since October 2008 and started low carbing again about a month ago to keep the scale moving. Low carb eating finally allows me to have my band and not throw up everyday. Low carbing works but the problem for many of us who are obese is maintaining weight loss not losing weight. Most of us have lost and regained weight many times. For me, the band is a gentle reminder not to fall off the wagon again and keep control. I have very little fill by the way so I can still enjoy things like steak and chicken. I can’t tolerate bread and pasta much anyway.

    If I understand correctly, you lost weight on low-carb diets, but would go off of them and regain? If that’s the case and the band keeps you from filling your stomach with starches and re-igniting the weight-gain cycle, then I hope it works for you.

  23. hope

    This movie was absolutely brilliant. I wish we could get all those vegans and anti-meat, dairy, and fat people to watch it with an open mind. Sadly alot of them I have come across (my friend’s included) don’t have an open mind and won’t even entertain the thought of watching this fantastic film.

    And yes, the only way for me to lose my body fat and keep the toned physique I like, is to eat this way. I just wish I had found this out sooner.

    It’s a bit like trying to convert a true believer to a new religion.

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