The weight loss and type 2 diabetes benefits of bariatric (weight loss) surgery decline rapidly over time, according to new research.
The study, conducted by researchers at Beilinson Hospital in Israel, examined the data of almost 450 patients undergoing weight loss surgery performed by the same team between 2006 and 2013. The researchers followed up their weight, blood test results, and medication information.
Excess weight loss percentages declined significantly over time: 77 per cent in the first year; 70 per cent in the third; and 56 per cent in the fifth. The figures for type 2 diabetes remission were similar: 51 per cent, 38 per cent, and 20 per cent. After three years, there was significant reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
“The longer follow-up data revealed weight regain and a decrease in remission rates for type 2 diabetes mellitus and other obesity-related comborbidities,” said Dr. Andrei Keidar.
“These data should be taken into consideration in the decision-making process for the most appropriate operation for a given obese patients.”
Dr. Keidar stressed the importance of lifestyle changes following weight loss surgery, explaining that the surgery does not suppress appetite forever:
“The main reason [for the weight regain] is that the stomach dilates, meaning you can eat more. The appetite comes back so patients can eat more and they want to eat more.
“If you don’t change your behaviour, you are to regain weight.”
According to Dr. Anita Courcoulas, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, more studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of weight loss surgery. She said: “These critical gaps in knowledge pose a significant problem for people considering a potential surgical option to treat severe obesity.”

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