Gastric balloons are the worst idea ever conceived to lose weight.
How they ever got approved in the first place is a mystery – even considering the FDA’s slipshod standards when it comes to drugs and devices.
And the agency is well aware of the fact that they can be killers.
Now, the FDA is telling of five new deaths — bringing the number of fatalities that have come to its attention to 12.
And for the icing on the cake, it will soon be expecting us to swallow yet a fourth stomach-balloon option – one that’s currently being advertised as a really simple way to “kick-start your weight-loss journey.”
But instead of risking intestinal obstruction, acute pancreatitis, and perforation of your bowel or esophagus, a much better idea would be to try one of the healthiest and most effective ways to shed unwanted pounds!
Eating should be a pleasure
In theory, placing balloon bags in your stomach and inflating them with liquid so you’ll feel full and eat less sounds incredibly risky.
In practice, it’s already proven to be a disaster.
Over three decades ago, the Garren-Edwards Gastric Bubble was launched, and any hopes of using it to safely lose weight immediately deflated — literally!
That device was prone to collapse inside the body and cause life-threatening intestinal blockages. At least one patient died as a result during the first year it was available, and it was withdrawn from the market soon after.
Never inclined to learn from history, however, the feds started approving the latest in stomach-balloon technology three years ago with the ReShape dual-balloon system. Then, Orbera and Obalon came in quick succession.
The Orbera information booklet, for example, has a chapter on “life after Orbera,” but sadly, for some there was no “after.” For those patients, that device was a sure-fire method of permanent weight loss, since no one eats when they’re 6 feet under.
The selling point is that these balloons don’t require surgery like gastric bypass or those lap bands that make your stomach smaller. Instead, a doctor inserts a deflated balloon (or two or three!) down your throat and into your stomach… and then fills it up to around the size of a grapefruit.
And while this saline-filled “grapefruit” is bouncing around in your stomach, you’re supposed to constantly be on the lookout for symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, trouble breathing, vomiting, and swelling of the belly, all of which may indicate a life-threatening situation is brewing – at least, for the six months you can keep them in until they must be removed.
Of course, you and I both know that the chances are pretty low that anyone will keep eating like a bird once their belly is no longer filled with balloons!
Patients are probably so happy to be rid of these obstructions that eating becomes even more pleasurable to them.
But guess what? You should enjoy eating. There’s no reason in the world to regard food as your enemy.
It’s the kind of food you’re eating that makes a difference — and I’m not talking about having to be on a diet of tasteless, low-fat fake foods.
What I am talking about is the most effective way to both lose weight and enjoy what you’re eating – the Paleo diet.
If you don’t know the details of eating Paleo, you may not be aware that it isn’t just some fad or something that will have you missing out on nutrients for the sake of dropping some pounds.
Often called the “caveman” diet, eating Paleo basically means limiting grains, carbs, and sugar, and replacing them with plenty of fresh meats and lots of veggies.
HSI panel member Dr. Glenn Rothfeld has been a big fan of Paleo eating for a long time, describing it as enjoying “all the healthy fruits of the land and sea.” He also says that by ditching processed foods and empty calories such as carbs and sugar, you’ll be not only “naturally” losing weight, but improving your health in other ways in the process.
As for weight loss, a recent study out of Sweden found that in a large group of post-menopausal women, those who stuck to a Paleo diet were able to lose the most stubborn fat of all – the kind found around their middles! In addition, they kept off the weight they lost during the study period and were able to reduce inflammation – all while eating as much as they wanted to!
And that sure sounds a lot better than having a bouncing grapefruit in your stomach!
“Five more deaths linked to intragastric balloons for obesity” Marcia Frellick, June 4, 2018, Medscape, medscape.com