Does a Gastric Bypass Diet Without the Surgery Work?

Question Below Submitted By:  

Marybeth (a patient from Kansas City)


I have chosen to do the gastric bypass surgery and while Googling around to find information on the bypass diet I found some forums talking about using the gastric bypass diet without the surgery to lose a similar amount of weight.

I was hoping to get a professional opinion on this. Is this possible? It seems too easy.

Thanks for the info!



Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response to "Does a Gastric Bypass Diet Without The Surgery Work?"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy


You are correct: as you outline, it would be "too easy" if dietary changes ALONE would address most potential weight loss surgery (WLS) patients' obesity. Maintaining a proper diet and following an appropriate exercise regimen are very important components of the entire program following WLS to ensure the desired outcome of sustained weight loss and reversal of obesity related medical morbidities. Adhering to a healthy diet is also highly recommended prior to undergoing WLS, or for that matter, for everyone, whether or not they are planning to undergo WLS.

WLS provides a 'tool' for patients to use to assist them in their weight loss efforts. If someone is able to follow the very regimented diet that many surgeons/bariatricians recommend to patients who have had a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RGB) without actually having undergone the procedure, most certainly those patients will lose weight. The problem is that most of those 'post RGB diets' (of which there are many different ones) call for a daily caloric intake of less than 600 calories. It is VERY difficult to maintain such a low calorie diet for a protracted period of time without the 'tool' of the WLS which provides for most WLS patients a sense of satiety despite the minimal caloric ingestion.

The recommended composition of the ingested calories in those 'post RGB diets' also take advantage of the metabolic and nutrient processing changes afforded by the intestinal rearrangement of the RGB which are not available without having undergone the RGB. Furthermore, the weight regain as soon as the diet is stopped is profound. Routinely, the end result is no different than the experience many patients have endured with all of the other 'failed' diets they have previously been subjected to: the 'stair-step' weight gain associated with 'yo-yo' dieting.

Consequently, for the majority of morbidly obese patients who look forward to durable weight loss, WLS will be in their future.

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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[ Last editorial review/modification of this page : 05/21/2021 ]

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