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 NutritionFacts.org video pick above.
Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: Samuel Bendet / Wikimedia Commons