The rates of obesity have risen immensely in the United States. In fact, close to 60 percent of the population is obese – if body-mass index (BMI) is taken into consideration. In order to remedy the problem, weight control surgeries, such as bariatric surgeries, have been introduced to the general public. While potentially effective in the short term, these surgeries can contribute to adverse effects like an increased risk of premature death.
Now, a team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital are looking into a type of bariatric surgery, which they claim to be effective in weight management as well as in the prevention of obesity-related problems, and to have lower side effects. This surgery involves capsaicin, the substance that adds spiciness to chili peppers.
Their research involved two types of procedures:
- Vagotomy – This procedure involves the cutting of the vagus nerve. This nerve is the 10th cranial nerve that runs through the brain stem down to the abdomen. Its primary function is to route your gut flora for it to transmit information to your brain. The nerve is also involved in the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Researchers noted that this surgery significantly reduced total body fat, including visceral abdominal fat. (link)
While the researchers noted few serious side effects, a commentary in Digestive Diseases and Sciences revealed that vagotomy may lead to gastric stasis and “dumping” of food from the stomach into the intestine, nausea, and so forth. (link)
- Vagal de-afferentation – Rather than cutting the vagus nerve, this surgical procedure uses capasaicin to destroy the nerve fibers that transmit information from the gut to the brain. Although the researchers noted that this procedure helped in weight management efforts and reduced visceral abdominal fat, other reports showed that, while this had fewer consequences compared to vagotomy, it had a less-than-significant effect on weight.
What are the REAL Consequences of Damaging Your Vagus Nerve?
While it may be tempting to go under the knife for weight control purposes, Dr. Joseph Mercola sends out a warning. “Severing your vagus nerve, or even selectively destroying nerve fibers that transmit signals from your gut to your brain (while leaving those that transmit from your brain to your gut intact), could have serious long-term implications on your health,” he says.
According to recent research, the good bacteria in your gut have a direct impact on your brain chemistry and on the transmission of mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain. This is all possible through your vagus nerve.
By destroying your nerve fibers through the surgical use of capsaicin, you can subject yourself to a number of health problems. Dr. Mercola states that there are many other weight management options available – one of which is adding capsaicin to your meals.
Studies show that capsaicin has numerous benefits when added to meals, as opposed to being used in bariatric surgeries. It can temporarily raise thermogenesis in your body, where your body creates heat by burning fuel, like fat. It can also help increase your metabolism rate by up to five percent, and enhance your fat burning capabilities by 16 percent.
Apart from capsaicin, you may also use other thermogenic ingredients like turmeric (curcumin), caffeine, and various teas (like green, white, and oolong tea). According to research, combining capsaicin and green tea can help increase satiety and suppress hunger. (link)
Other Weight Control Solutions: No Invasive Procedures Included
While many think that the easiest way out of obesity is surgery, severe complications are often linked to these procedures, including loss of limbs, liver failure, malnutrition, and even premature death. As opposed to what people generally believe, surgeries require a change in lifestyle. Before and after the procedure, you will be required to incorporate exercise, stop smoking, as well as avoid consuming fast food and soda.
Instead of putting yourself at risk, you can reach a healthy goal weight by modifying your behavior. Dr. Mercola shares a dietary strategy that you should incorporate into your lifestyle: strictly limit your consumption of fructose-rich foods.
There is growing evidence that sugar, particularly fructose, is the primary driving factor of the obesity epidemic. Because of this, Dr. Mercola recommends:
- Cutting soda, processed foods, fruit juice, as well as so-called healthy artificial sweeteners from your diet, such as aspartame or agave.
- Limiting your total fructose consumption to less than 25 grams per day. This includes the fructose you get from fruit. It is important to adhere to this especially if you have insulin resistance, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels or are overweight.
- Eliminating grains and milk (also raw milk) from your diet. Milk contains lactose, a type of sugar that is shown to increase the risk of insulin resistance.
- Avoiding refined carbohydrates, like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and other processed foods because they are converted into sugar, which contributes to insulin resistance.
Always remember that insulin resistance is the leading cause of nearly every chronic disorder and condition.
When you have eliminated these from your diet, you must add the following healthy substitutes to your diet:
- Vegetables – Your source of carbohydrates. Carbs from vegetables can slow the conversion of simple sugars, like glucose, and decrease your insulin levels.
- Healthy fats, especially saturated fats
For more information on what foods you should eat, check out Dr. Mercola’s nutrition plan. You may also find more success in your weight management efforts if you add high-intensity exercises with ample recovery time to your lifestyle. For more information on this, read more about Dr. Mercola’s Peak Fitness program.