The dark side of weight-loss surgery you need to know about

If you’ve chased your dream of losing weight right into your doctor’s office, there are some very important things you most likely won’t be told.

Now, more than ever, docs are pushing gastric bypass surgery — what they like to call the “gold standard” for weight loss. Surgeons will tell you how fast the pounds will drop off, and if you have type 2 diabetes, that will go away along with the weight. Any heart problems you have might disappear, too!

Sure, you’ll be told there are risks involved, and of course, have to sign off on page after page of a release form in case something bad should happen during surgery.

But here’s something you won’t hear about: Bypass surgery can set you up for a lifetime of indigestion, belching, flatulence, diarrhea and sudden intolerances to common foods.

So before you even think about this procedure as a way to lose weight, first hear what a group of researchers in Amsterdam recently discovered.

Long-term consequences

Gastric bypass surgery has become so popular lately that I almost expect to see an infomercial about it after the late show!

But considering how risky it is to band or staple your stomach down to the size of an egg, you might think that alone would be enough to curb the enthusiasm over it.

And yes, we’ve already heard about the risks of malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and digestive problems. But here’s the amazing thing – until these Dutch researchers came along, most of the studies on the aftereffects only covered a period of one year!

That left a lifetime of unknowns for anyone considering this procedure.

So, Dr. Thomas Boerlage and his team from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam decided to take a longer look at patients who had a type of surgery called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The doctor actually got the idea for the study from his own patients, who complained about these problems well past the first year.

What he found was that at two-year post-op, a significant number of close to 250 patients surveyed were still suffering from chronic indigestion, gas and hard or loose stools. Plus that, over 70 percent who had the stomach-rerouting surgery developed intolerances to four or more kinds of foods.

And I’m talking about reactions such as nausea, abdominal cramps, pain and diarrhea.

An editorial that accompanied the study, published in the British Journal of Surgery, said that the study reveals an “alarming number” of problems after the procedure. And also that it didn’t tell about the other consequences of those issues, such as taking drugs and losing time at work. But seriously, isn’t having constant indigestion and gas quite enough already?

But if patients aren’t warned about these long-term side effects, what are they being told to expect?

Many doctors will say that you now have a new “baby stomach” and that by taking it slow and trying one new food at a time you’ll soon adjust and everything will be fine. Well, now we know that’s not usually the case.

And with around 180,000 Americans a year going under the knife as a way to lose weight, it seems a little late to be telling us about this now.

Look, there are so many side effects that come along with rerouting you stomach and shrinking it down to a tiny pouch that it should be the very last thing – on a long, long list – you should ever consider.

I know, old-fashioned dieting and exercise aren’t as simple as they sound on paper. But remember, while gastric surgery may be a fast way to drop pounds, the kind of diet you’ll end up on will be much more drastic and restrictive than just cutting carbs or calories.

And it may also all but guarantee that enjoying the food you eat will be a thing of the past.

“GI complaints common 2 years after gastric bypass” Miriam E. Tucker, December 22, 2016, Medscape,