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Stomach Staples or Healthy Kitchen Staples?

In my Care2 post Stent or Prevent? Ending Heart Disease, I reviewed new research showing that surgical stenting performed on hundreds of thousands of Americans a year for stable coronary artery disease was useless or worse compared to drug therapy. Of course neither gets to the root of the problem—the standard American diet—and the same can be said of stomach stapling surgery for type 2 diabetes.

Last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, a study funded by a surgical stapler company found that stomach stapling and drugs worked better than drugs alone in controlling blood sugars.  This so-called “bariatric” surgery is not without risk. Depending on the type of weight loss surgery performed, up to 1 in 100 people undergoing the procedure don’t make it off the operating table alive (or die within a month).

This is considered an acceptable mortality rate, comparing “favorably with the accepted operative mortality rates for other major surgical procedures.” After all, there are serious complications of having uncontrolled diabetes. But as with heart disease, there is a third option, a plant-based diet, which can help prevent and even reverse type 2 diabetes and is associated with a plethora of positive side-effects. Dr. Dean Ornish spells it out in my video pick above.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: Samuel Bendet / Wikimedia Commons

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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4:40AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

thank you

10:25AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012


4:47PM PDT on Apr 12, 2012


1:33PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Mac C., I'm guessing you meant that you favor veggies over bariatric surgery. :)

9:26AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Bariatric surgery over veggies, no contest as far as I am concerned. Thanks for the great video featuring Dr. Dean Ornish.

8:44AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

I find it amusing that stomach stapling and other weight-loss surgeries are considered normal, while adopting a plant-based diet is considered extremist! Oy.

9:31AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

Our society does not eat right, nor does the average American get enough exercise.

And yes it's easy to make excuses..."I'm too busy to eat right and exercise"..."I don't like vegetables as much as fast food" etc.

We have become a nation of hypochondriacs that don't take care of themselve and then look to pills or surgery to fix the problem. You're not going to be a healthy size 6 if you eat like an unhealthy size 20. End of story.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh...but people need to look at what they put in their mouths and how much time they spend on their feet - walking or jogging or some other form of exercise - if they want to be healthy.

Why should our health care costs continue to skyrocket while people refuse to take care of themselves? It's ridiculous.

11:22PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

It is true, "We are what we eat."

10:37PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Thanks for sharing very useful information

10:32PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Ron said it well! If our politics keep getting more corrupt, we won't have medical care worth a dime, and it'll cost hundreds, if not thousands.
Somehow it's difficult for people to see the consequences when the result is too far down the road. If you don't know many older people, try volunteering at a nursing home, and you'll get first hand experience with what a poor diet does to the body and the mind. It's not just dying that is the real horror, it's living with the persistent disabilities that is absolutely awful!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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