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Bariatric surgery is the most effective form of treatment available to treat severe obesity and maintaining the weight loss in the long term. How does it actually cause weight loss though?

First and foremost, don’t confuse bariatric surgery with liposuction. No amount of fat are being taken out from your body whatsoever during the surgery. In fact, you might be heavier just after the operation from all the fluids given to you during the surgery. Weight loss from bariatric surgery comes later.

Bariatric surgery involve anatomical changes to your gastrointestinal tract (e.g. making stomach smaller or bypassing portion of small intestine). This changes will affect the production of your gut hormones which are responsible to control your appetite and feeling of fullness after eating.

Hence because of all these hormonal changes triggered by the surgery to your stomach and gut, you will have a much reduced desire to eat and will feel full quite quickly after eating.

Day by day, your calorie intake (food going in) will be much lower than energy used (Calorie burn). This sustained calorie deficit will force your body to use up your fat storage as energy. As the fat storage are gradually being used, you will notice the reduction in your body weight.

Then you might ask, can’t I just be on a diet and reduce the amount of food that I eat to be the same amount as bariatric patient? Shouldn’t I have a similar progress of weight loss? Answer is No, you won’t. By restricting your food intake through dieting, your body would react negatively to it by lowering your energy expenditure and increasing your appetite. Your body will resist the weight loss effort. Calorie deficit from dieting and exercising alone is not sustained and weight regain after the initial loss is very likely. The more the amount of weight that you need to lose, the stronger the resistance from the body would be and the harder the effort would be required.

Interestingly enough weight loss through bariatric surgery doesn’t cause this negative feedback or it happens to a much lesser degree. That’s why people who go for bariatric surgery are far more often to be successful to lose weight and maintain the weight loss long term.

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