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Within the past century alone, mankind has pushed around a shopping cart full of crazy, fad diets. The 1920s brought us The Cigarette Diet, in which people reached for smokes instead of sweets, since smoking can boost metabolism and curb cravings. In the 1950s, we saw The Cabbage Soup Diet, through which participants expected to lose 10 to 15 pounds a week by limiting meals mostly to cabbage soup. And just this past decade, the hCG diet appeared. In that one, intake of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone, combined with a low-calorie diet, supposedly burns a pound or two daily (in fact, it was the low calorie diet that drove any weight loss).
In reality, the gold standard for weight loss (and health in general) has simply been limiting calories, cutting carbs, watching meat consumption, and stocking up on fruits and vegetables—plus, exercise. For some, though, even that kind of a health regimen won’t go far enough. To lose hazardous weight, these people need the kind of help available only through medical intervention. Some have found success with some more modern methods, like bariatric surgery, though that operation is invasive, irreversible, and not without risks.
Newer procedures, though—plus techniques coming soon—are pushing the ball forward. Endoscopic procedures, in particular, are proving successful and a developing industry is emerging: endobariatrics—endoscopic-based, bariatric-surgery alternatives that are minimally invasive, leave no scars, and can be performed outpatient.
Here, some cutting-edge weight-loss methods out there now or coming soon.
ESG: Short for Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty, ESG reduces stomach size 70 to 80 percent, making patients feel full sooner, resulting in less eating. Doctors start with an endoscope, a long, plastic tube with a tiny camera mounted at the end. The tube goes down the patient’s throat and into the esophagus and, with a suturing device, allows doctors to stitch closed a portion of the stomach. The operation is minimally invasive and, unlike bariatric surgery, makes no incisions in the stomach. Most patients lose 18 to 20 percent of their body weight within a year.
Gastric Balloon: In this treatment, doctors insert a balloon into the stomach via the endoscope, then inflate it with a saline solution. The balloon stays there for up to six months, at which point doctors may simply remove it or replace it with a new balloon, depending on the weight loss plan. This procedure also makes patients feel full and cuts down hunger. During these first six months, patients can expect to lose 7 to 15 percent of body weight. Long range, the treatment can lead to weight loss of between 30 and 47 percent of their initial body weight.
Transoral Outlet Reduction Endoscopy (TORe): Those who’ve undergone gastric bypass surgery may find they’re hungrier again and regaining weight. That’s because the gastric outlet (the connection between the stomach and small bowel) expands, allowing patients to again eat more before they feel full. For them, the TORe procedure can help reverse the gain and bring back the loss. As with ESG, the work is done with sutures through an endoscopic tube.
Intestinal Barrier Sleeve (aka, the “gut sleeve”): Currently tested on rats, this sleeve is also inserted through an endoscope and would be placed near the end of the stomach. This procedure prevents the absorption of calories and nutrients from the intestine. Researchers found that the intestinal barrier sleeve significantly reduced body weight and improved the balance between glucose and fats. Also, placing the sleeve directly by the upper small intestine may alter the food-sensing and satiation triggers.
Nutrigenomics: A future alternative to any kind of invasive procedure involves genetics. Nutrigenomics is an up-and-coming field that puts genetic testing to work to determine how someone’s genes, nutrition, exercise, and health work together to affect weight. In theory, nutrigenomics could tell patients if they need to take more of a certain type of vitamin and eat fewer fats, for instance.
There are effective, minimally-invasive weight loss procedure that can help you right now. Click here to learn more about how the experts at The Endoscopic Wellness Center of America are ready to help you make a change for a healthier lifestyle.