How does Bariatric Surgery Affect Metabolism?

Posted on: 26th Nov, 2021


If you’re considering bariatric surgery, also known as metabolic surgery, you may have misconceptions about how it actually works. The reason metabolic surgery is so effective for so many people is because of its impact on the metabolism for the long-haul. Here’s how bariatric surgery affects metabolism.

It’s Not about a Smaller Stomach

One of the misconceptions of bariatric surgery is that it works by making the stomach smaller, which means we eat less, and so we lose weight. But if you stop and think about that for a minute, we know it’s not true. Simply dieting by calorie cutting or a calorie restriction never produces sustainable weight loss. Peer-reviewed studies of calorie restriction diets show only short-term weight reduction with a reversion back to the baseline weight, or higher, within 18 to 24 months. Yet, after metabolic surgery, most people enjoy a large positive benefit of healthier weight lasting over 20 years. That means there must be a different mechanism responsible for the success of metabolic surgery other than simply reducing calorie intake. And indeed, there is.

The answer is that metabolic surgery favorably affects metabolism in a number of ways. The most profound effects have to do with changing fat storage metabolism, lowering blood sugar, and increasing our metabolic rate. How does this happen? It happens because the regulation of those critical metabolic functions occurs through a system of hormones, most of which are produced in the stomach and intestine. Only by altering the tissues themselves — where the hormones come from — do we create lasting change to these important regulatory hormones.

Sleeve gastrectomy involves removing the outer portion of the stomach tissue. There is an immediate and profound change in a whole family of hormones that emanate from that gastric tissue. Abruptly we see increases in GLP-1, reductions in Ghrelin, and increases in Leptin, just to name a few key regulatory hormones. Each of these named hormones plays an important role in regulating hunger, satiety, metabolic rate, blood sugar, and the storage of energy as fat. The net result is not just reducing calorie intake but, much more importantly, the reduction of energy storage as fat and an overall reset of body weight setpoint to a lower, healthier weight.

Metabolic surgery is truly surgery on the metabolism. Increasingly sophisticated studies of the hormonal systems affected by surgery show profound and long-lasting effects on the body that reduce body fat and lower blood sugar, thus reducing both obesity and diabetes.

Ready to learn more? Contact the team at Sasse Surgical today for answers to all of your questions.

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