Skip To Main Content

Traditional Dieting Vs. Bariatric Surgery

Posted: November 16, 2022

Young man with glasses smiling outside in the sunshine

Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise are great ways to stay healthy. However, for individuals suffering from morbid obesity and looking to lose weight, it has been found that most have better and longer-lasting results from surgery than traditional dieting.1

Obesity Is A Disease

For the morbidly obese patient, traditional dieting rarely leads to sustained weight loss. That’s because obesity is a chronic disease with biological causes and is not solely the result of a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating.2 While many experts agree that calorie-restrictive weight loss programs can show weight loss results within the first few months, this weight loss is not typically durable and by 12 months most individuals will regain the weight.3

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work

Dieting is often unsuccessful for obese patients because a body suffering from longstanding obesity has a significantly reduced metabolic rate. This is due to a survival-based biological response; when an excessively overweight person limits calories, the body slows its baseline metabolism to offset the calorie deficit because of a perceived threat to survival. At the same time the metabolism slows, the body sends surges of ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone. This hormonal surge stimulates food-seeking behavior, in effect, creating a physiological response to the perceived threat of starvation.

Removing Biological Barriers to Weight Loss Success With Surgery

Bariatric surgery is successful where traditional dieting isn’t because these procedures not only restrict calories but also alter the metabolism and hormone levels. Specifically, these bariatric procedures help obese patients lose weight because they directly address the body’s biological response to fewer calories. In essence, not only is the patient eating less food, but they are also producing less ghrelin. Decreased amounts of ghrelin help to decrease appetite and therefore promote weight loss.

The Bottom Line

Obese patients are very unlikely to find successful and sustainable weight loss using traditional diets. The reality is that obesity is a disease and the body will fight for survival against calorie restriction but this resistance can be significantly reduced or even eliminated with weight loss surgery.

Learn More About How Bariatric Surgery Can Help You Lose Weight

The good news is that you’re not alone. Our experienced weight loss surgeon understands the pain and frustration—and coexisting medical conditions—that obesity can cause and is dedicated to helping patients in Huntsville, AL, and beyond find lasting weight-loss success and get on the road to a happier and healthier life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

1 Obesity Surgery. Bariatric Surgery vs. Conventional Dieting in the Morbidly Obese. Available: Accessed October 7, 2022.
2 Missouri Medicine. Is Obesity A Disease or A Behavior Abnormality? Did the AMA Get It Right? Available: Accessed October 7, 2022.
3 BMJ. Comparison of dietary macronutrient patterns of 14 popular named dietary programmes for weight and cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials. Available: Accessed October 7, 2022.