Stomach surgeries cause nutritional deficiencies

Here's another reason to reconsider stomach-shrinking surgery: You could suffer a serious and potentially dangerous deficiency in several key nutrients.

Nearly 90 percent of gastric band patients are low in calcium and vitamin D, according to one small study. In addition, gastric band patients often suffer from low levels of protein, and many even become at least slightly anemic.

Now, much of this could be because the post-surgery diet is limited -- but it's also entirely possible that the smaller stomach itself, as well as changes to the bacteria inside it, could be contributing by making it more difficult to absorb some nutrients.

We'll need to see more research before we know if that's the case, but I don't need another study to know that stomach-shrinking surgeries such as the gastric band are wrong for most patients.

Along with problems with nutrition, these procedures come with other risks -- including the very real risk of dangerous complications during the surgery itself.

But let's say you don't care about the risks. You just want to lose weight.

I understand that, I really do.

But the surgery is not a magic cure. It requires very significant lifestyle changes afterward.

Since you have to change your life anyway, wouldn't it make more sense to skip the dangerous surgery and all the risks that come with it, and just make the changes?

Believe me, they work -- and if you really commit to those changes, the pounds will melt away and you'll reach your ideal weight.

In general, I recommend a Mediterranean diet, but if you're badly overweight -- or suffering from pre-diabetes or even diabetes itself -- then a short-term ultra-low calorie diet can help kick-start your weight loss and often reverse the diabetes symptoms.

Don't attempt that on your own. Work with an experienced holistic physician who can check your progress and make sure you're getting proper nutrition.