Bariatric surgery . . . . for kids?!

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That’s precisely what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending: more weight loss surgery for overweight kids.

This sort of perverted advice reflects the deep and widespread failure of the healthcare system to address nutrition and health, resorting instead to an awful surgical “solution” that, contrary to the AAP’s declaration that it is a proven safe option, is filled with complications, nutritional deficiencies, dysbiotic alterations in bowel flora, hormonal disruptions, and—not all that rarely—death. (Granted that it was over 10 years ago, but the first patient I had who underwent gastric bypass surgery against my advice struggled with diarrhea, malabsorption, depression, panic attacks, numerous nutritional deficiencies, and then died suddenly at age 44.)

Those of you following the Wheat Belly lifestyle in which we:

  • Banish all wheat, grains, and sugars
  • Never restrict calories or fat
  • Take steps to normalize insulin resistance–vitamin D, magnesium, iodine/thyroid optimization
  • Cultivate healthy bowel flora

already know that weight loss is something that is readily, easily, inexpensively achievable, no costly and hazardous surgery involved, regardless of age. The Wheat Belly lifestyle causes us to essentially revert back to the way humans survived and thrived for the first 3.5 million years our species has walked this planet, obesity and overweight entirely unknown.

ALWAYS bear in mind that healthcare is, first and foremost, a business. While I don’t believe that pediatricians have a direct stake in promoting bariatric surgery, they do have a stake in building revenues for the healthcare system. (Recall that most physicians today are employees of healthcare systems with, for instance, bigger quarterly bonuses based on the revenue they generate for the system.) This creates a clear-cut bias towards encouraging use of high-ticket products and procedures. This is what modern American healthcare has become: a means of monetizing health while never actually dispensing products or services that actually achieve health. Like biological agents for autoimmune diseases, cancer and heart disease, bariatric surgery has become a growing profit center for healthcare systems.

Before anyone submits a child to the—lifelong—horrors of bariatric surgery (that, by the way, virtually guarantees a lifetime of struggling with the consequences of SIBO), why wouldn’t you go beyond the absurd efforts of reducing calories, “move more, eat less,” watch less TV, etc. all the ridiculous and ineffective advice that pediatricians dispense?


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