Obese folks considering weight-loss surgery might feel reassured when they choose a hospital that’s been labeled a “center of excellence.”

The truth is, these hospitals are no better than any other when it comes to complications and even deaths, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Archives of Surgery.

The study looked at 19,363 patients, 5,420 of whom had their procedures done at those so-called bariatric surgery “centers of excellence.” This is a label slapped on hospitals by a group called the Surgical Review Corporation after the place meets the group’s guidelines and sends out a check for the privilege.

Researchers found that 0.17 percent of the patients in these centers of excellence died, versus 0.09 percent in the other hospitals.

They also found 6.3 percent of the patients in the centers of excellence developed complications, versus 6.4 percent in the supposedly non-excellent hospitals.

If those numbers don’t look all that different, it’s because they’re not. It’s a statistical tie. Yet many insurers will only pay for procedures in hospitals given the “centers of excellence” designation.

The simple fact of the matter is you don’t need to choose between these different kinds of hospitals. Gastric bypass surgeries and similar procedures are potentially dangerous and often traumatic.

And in the end, the patient will need to learn the same sensible eating habits that would have kept him out of the operating room in the first place.

When it comes to weight loss, there is one recipe for success, whether you need to drop a spare tire or a whole car.

It means re-learning what you think you know about food. I have come to call it the Torture Chamber Diet. It is filled with low-fat foods that are high in carbs (sugar). These foods will, in the long run, only make you fatter and less healthy – and if you need any proof, just look around you at what a couple generations of “low-fat” dieting has produced.

Too often, people who opt for weight-loss surgery step out of the operating room and right back into “the torture chamber.”

Instead, focus on eating better and getting more exercise. Avoid those carbs, processed foods and “low-fat” foods. Eat sensible portions in balanced meals that include healthy fats and proteins along with fresh vegetables.

Keep at it, and you’ll lose the weight. I can guarantee it. Not only that, but you’ll learn a better way to live too.