Chemicals used in fast-food wrappers may be linked to weight gain, study suggests

TIME (2/13) reports on a study which suggests that exposure to chemicals frequently used in fast-food wrappers “could make it harder to keep weight off after dieting.”

HealthDay (2/13, Mozes) reports, “Widely used manmade chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may undermine dieters’ attempts to maintain weight loss by slowing down the body’s metabolism, the new study” indicates. The findings were published online in PLOS Medicine.

MedPage Today (2/13, Monaco) reports that “people in the highest tertile for PFAS concentration had on average approximately 3.75 to 4.85 pounds more weight regain during the 6-24 months after initial weight loss versus those in the lowest tertile of exposure.” Notably, “this association with weight regain – seen across five types of PFAS – was most” pronounced “among women,” the study found.


This sounds like a joke right?  It’s not the package that causes weight gain, it’s the food content, right?  Well, that’s actually true.

On first look this study seems to suggest that the packaging is a risk regarding obesity- particularly in women.  What it REALLY says though is: in people who had already been successful in their weight loss through dieting, the women who used fast food items and were exposed to the packaging tended to gain weight more easily than others.  They also noticed that they tested positive for holding onto the chemicals found in the packaging.  However, the presence of those chemicals was not the CAUSE of obesity.  They were ASSOCIATED with the weight gainers.  Association is NOT causation.

We all know that fast food is not the best choice, perhaps this just gives you another reason to make better choices.


Best in Health,

Dr Bertha and the NJBI Team


Americans are More Obese than Ever — And Exercise Isn’t Helping

More Americans than ever have obesity, according to a new study from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Based on the statistics, gathered from January through September 2017, 31.4 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and over have obesity – up from 19.4 percent in 1997. In the same time period, the number of Americans over 18 who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity reached 53.8 percent, up from less than 45 percent in 1997. The article notes “although common sense would indicate that the more you exercise, the more weight you’ll lose, a number of studies have shown that that’s not necessarily the case.” It points to previous studies that found diet has a bigger impact on weight than exercise.

If you consider the number of Gyms around compared to 10 years ago or 20 years ago, and the number of people who run around daily wearing exercise gear, you would think that the problem must be decreasing rather than increasing.  Wrong.

Exercise is beneficial.  Do not misinterpret this article as stating that exercise does not have value.  It’s very beneficial in many respects and does prolong length and quality of life.  However, like so many other things, it is not an effective prevention or cure for obesity.  As in many other interventions, it might be PART of the equation, but by itself is not enough.  Obesity is a complex disease with a complex number of items coming together to lead illness and to premature death.  There is not a single cause, nor is there a single cure.

In 2018, the best known option for fighting obesity is Bariatric surgery- PERIOD.  Exercise will always be recommended as an adjunct because it IS good for you, but with all due respect to “The Biggest Loser” and similar programs, they are not the answer.  Your choices are out there.  You simply need to educate yourself and find the choice which makes you the most comfortable.

Call us, We can Help!

Dr Bertha and the NJBI Team

Obesity Drives Risk for Influenza-Related Hospitalization

Among adults with overweight or obesity, each 5 points increase in BMI is associated with a 40 percent increase in the risk for influenza-related hospitalization, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. The increased risk is comparable to adults who have cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Compared with normal-weight adults, those with BMI between 30 kg/m² and 40 kg/m² were 27 percent more likely to receive an influenza diagnosis, whereas adults with a BMI at least 40 kg/m² were 69 percent more likely to receive an influenza diagnosis.

This was a “bad” flu season and it has stretched for a long time.  There are multiple scientists working on a more universal vaccine, but the bottom line is that we have not completely figured out the flu and people still die from it.  In 1918 nearly a third of the planet had it and millions died.  THAT was a “BAD” flu.  Regardless of which flu, obesity increases your susceptibility.  Not good.  Another unwanted obesity related complication.  Diabetes, Heart disease, arthritis, Stroke, Joint disease and now flu.  You may ask:  Does it ever end?

Only after surgical weight loss . . .

Call us, we can help!

Dr Bertha and the Team at NJBI

How to Combat Your Craving for Comfort Foods

When feeling stressed, many often turn to comfort foods, but according to a 2014 study by psychologist Traci Mann found, eating comfort foods doesn’t actually boost mood any faster than eating nothing at all. The foods we yearn for in times of stress are often rooted in childhood and according to a study published in the journal Appetite, there is a deeply social and emotional component to foods that provide us solace.

This is one important reason why surgery is not the WHOLE answer for Bariatric surgery patients.  At NJBI, We understand that the patient is more than a set of wounds, or an altered body part.  We have carefully selected nutrition and behavior professionals who are not simply there to check boxes on clearance forms.  They are specifically trained, experienced professionals who have been carefully vetted to be certain that they understand the issues that our patients face, and are capable of adding value to their pre surgery and post surgery experience.  They are independent contractors and therefore are constantly judged by the efforts rather than being just another source of income for our practice or medical organization.  At NJBI, it’s all about the patient.  That’s one BIG reason why we have better outcomes and well adjusted post op alumni.

Best in Health,

The Team at NJBI

Obesity Paradox’ Fails to Hold Up in Study

While some experts have implied that there is an “obesity paradox,” the idea that people with obesity live longer than those of normal weight. Now, a new study in JAMA Cardiology refutes that claim, finding that obesity was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and a two- to three-year shorter life span. The study pooled data from 10 studies of 190,672 people followed from 1964 to 2015. Compared with those of normal weight, men who had overweight had a 21 percent higher lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease and women a 32 percent higher risk. Among those with obesity, the cardiovascular disease risk was 67 percent higher for men and 85 percent higher for women. The risk was even higher for those with morbid obesity. Longevity in men who had overweight but not obesity was similar to that of men of normal weight, but still carried an increased risk of cardiovascular disease at a younger age.

First some definitions:

Overweight (5-30 lbs over ideal)

Obese ( 31-69 lbs over ideal)

Severely obese (70-100 lbs over ideal)

Morbidly obese (>100 lbs over ideal)

As you can see from the study, each category above “normal” increases risk.  The further from normal, the greater the risk.  This is not a surprise when the factors which accompany the excess weight are considered.  Diabetes, High serum lipids, Sleep apnea and hypertension are all increased with weight and cardiac risk factors.  Even in the situation where these items have not been formally diagnosed, we know that they exist to some extent.  Eliminate the weight, eliminate the comorbid conditions.  Eliminate the weight eliminate the cardiac risk.  Cardiac disease is the #1 killer in the world each year.  Eliminate the weight, extend your life.  It’s up to you.

Bariatric surgery is safe, available and effective.  You have everything to gain but the weight . . .

Call us, We can Help!

Dr Bertha and the Team at NJBI

Shame Bars Americans From Turning to Weight Loss Surgery, Study Says

A new study from the Einstein Healthcare Network (EHN) in Philadelphia shows that many people would support a friend who undergoes bariatric surgery but would be ashamed to admit they had the surgery themselves. “We should take this information and be understanding and be supportive of our friends and family and co-workers who suffer with the disease of obesity,” said Dr. Ramsey Dallal, chief of bariatric surgery at EHN. “Physicians should take this information and realize that patient’s may not express the problem to them, they may be ashamed.” The same person ashamed of getting bariatric surgery would not be ashamed to need hip surgery or a lung operation, Ramsey noted.

This story is a Shame . . .

Avoiding life changing benefits in health, quality of life, and length of life due to insecurity about how others perceive the issue makes no sense.  In a world of social media driven behavior, one would think that the positive changes associated with life after surgery would be more thoroughly embraced.  

Bariatric surgery is not a fancy vacation or a new car.  It’s MUCH MORE VALUABLE.  It’s a new lease on life.  One which empowers people to leave behind hundreds of daily frustrations as the weight fades away.

It’s your life, your skin, your choice.  Do it for you, not them . . .

Call us, We can Help!

Damaging Effects of Gastric Bypass Surgery on Bone Mass and Microarchitecture

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery remains a highly effective treatment for obesity but may have damaging effects on bone mass and microarchitecture as early as six months postoperatively, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Postmenopausal women were particularly affected, not only having lower bone mass preoperatively than premenopausal women and men, but also demonstrating greater changes in skeletal health parameters, including larger declines in bone mineral density and changes in bone microstructure. Since “postmenopausal women are at highest risk for skeletal consequences,” the researchers say they “may warrant targeted screening or interventions” before and after gastric bypass.

At NJBI, we check serum levels of calcium and vitamin D to try to keep up with bone needs in our post op patients.  We also recommend that patients have a bone density evaluation at 12 months post op to establish a baseline for their bone health which can be used as a baseline for future comparison.  Unfortunately, it’s more common than not, that the patients see this as a burden rather than a benefit and fail to follow through with the recommendations.  Bariatric surgery is often considered by patients and primaries as “a day in the life.”  However, like childbirth, it has significant future ramifications and the more effort that YOU put in, the better the outcome.

Best in Health,

The NJBI Team

Study pinpoints good gut bacteria that ferment fiber into acids, ultimately improving insulin regulation

“New research” published online in the journal Science “suggests that dietary fibers actually play a critical role in feeding the trillions of microbes that reside in our bodies, known collectively as the microbiome.” What’s more, “specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, a high-fiber diet along with a favorable gut microbiome can keep patients’ blood sugar and body weight under control,” the study found. Chinese researchers even pinpointed “the specific ‘good’ bacteria that ferment fiber into acids, and ultimately improve insulin regulation.”

This is probably the future of all medical interventions.  The microbiome has been identified to be different in a patient prior to and after bariatric surgery (it happens with each of them).  It is becoming clear that the types of bacteria which occupy our intestines matter.  Whether or not we will get to the point of taking specific bacterial supplements any time soon is unclear.  What IS clear is that there are some good guys and some bad guys among the bacteria present.  This study is the tip of the iceberg which will probably radically change how we all are treated for disease in the future.  For the time being, its interesting but experimental.  Bariatric surgery is currently the most powerful intervention in patients with Type II diabetes, that much is well known.  Why it is so effective is still not entirely clear.  The high fiber diet referred to above may represent one more thing which can give you advantage against the disease.

It’s worth consideration.

Best in Health,

The NJBI Team