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Extreme Diet

Weight-Loss Surgery Hits the Masses 

Moderately overweight and diabetic people could soon qualify for bariatric surgery, which limits food intake and often leads to drastic weight loss. Currently only approved for people with a BMI of 40, or 35 with complications, innovations in the procedure are lowering risks and costs—one company is working on an incisionless option that would take only an hour when perfected. The surgery cures more than half of Type-2 diabetes cases, and eases symptoms for heart disease, sleep apnea, and other problems. Enthusiasts see expanding the group of people who can get surgery as a way of holding down health-care costs. But it’s not without danger: 19 percent of patients experience dumping syndrome—involuntary vomiting or defecation. Nutritionists caution against using bariatric surgery for cosmetic reasons: "Are we interested in people's health, or are we interested in their weight?" one asked.

January 2, 2010 4:40 PM