Weight loss after bariatric surgery can improve heart health

In overweight and obese people, fat often gets deposited into the midsection of the body. Large amounts of this belly fat can lead to unhealthy changes in a heart’s function and size. However, according to new findings presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2017, a bariatric surgical procedure, and the weight loss that follows it, actually may allow the heart to return to its natural shape and function.

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When a person lifts weights, pushing against resistance, their muscles eventually get bigger. The same is true for the heart muscle. When a person is overweight, the heart has to generate more force to pump even more blood throughout the body. This extra workload causes the heart muscle to grow bigger, but contrary to what some people think, a bigger heart muscle does not mean a stronger heart. In fact, the larger the heart, the less efficacious it is in fulfilling its functions.

“We know that obesity is the most prevalent disease in the United States. And that the cardiovascular system is significantly affected by this disease process,” said lead study author Raul J. Rosenthal, MD, FACS, chairman, Department of General Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida. “But we wanted to know to what degree the shape of the heart changes in someone who is obese, what the heart looks like in someone after having bariatric surgery and losing weight, and how that change in geometry affects heart functionality.” For this study, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic reviewed data on 51 obese men and women who underwent bariatric surgery between 2010 and 2015. The analysis included factors such as body mass index (BMI) and coexisting health problems. The average age of the patients was 61 years, and the average BMI was 40; approximately 100 pounds overweight.

To better understand the impact of a bariatric operation and weight loss on heart health, the researchers compared preoperative and postoperative echocardiography readings. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that measures not only its size and geometry but also its function. An echocardiogram measures how much blood is in the heart, how much blood goes out of the heart, and how much blood remains in the heart. One year after bariatric surgery, the researchers found significant improvements in patients’ heart health. Nearly half of the patients had hearts that had gone back to their natural shape or geometry. They also found that there was a significant improvement in the size of the ventricles: On average these chambers of the heart decreased in size by 15.7 percent (left ventricle mass: 229 grams before surgery; 193 grams after surgery. Left ventricular wall diameter: 60.1 mm before surgery; 53.7 mm after surgery.)Related image

Larger chambers lose some of their pumping power. This loss means that more blood stays in the heart, and ultimately increases a person’s risk of heart failure. “When the size of the chambers gets bigger, and the walls of the heart get thicker, the blood flow to the heart is not as good, the functionality of the heart is not as good, and the heart itself doesn’t get enough blood,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “The whole body suffers because there is less blood going to your feet and to your toes and to your brain.” This study is the beginning of a series of studies that will be conducted by these researchers over the next few years. They will perform follow up studies to find out what the window is in which losing weight allows the heart to go back to its normal geometry.

“We don’t know if being obese for 20 years and having changes in your heart geometry is different from being obese for 10 years,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “The question is: Will the heart always come back to normal? It could be if you wait too long, the changes in your heart are irreversible.”

Adapted by: American College of Surgeons. “Weight loss after bariatric surgery can improve heart health: Significant improvements in heart shape and function can happen one year after an operation for weight loss.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171024232822.htm>

Nutritional Nugget

Take a walk instead! Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask a friend or colleague to join you.

WOD Nugget

Relume: Relight or rekindle (a light, flame, etc.)

Inspirational Nugget

I smile because I have survived everything the world has thrown at me. I smile because when I was knocked down I got back up.

“Ego could be defined as whatever covers up basic goodness. From an experiential point of view, what is ego covering up? It’s covering up our experience of just being here, just fully being where we are so that we can relate with the immediacy of our experience. Egolessness is a state of mind that has complete confidence in the sacredness of the world. It is unconditional well-being, an unconditional joy that includes all the different qualities of our experience.”

~Pema ChÖdrÖn



Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time


Dieting could be revolutionized, thanks to the ground-breaking discovery by the University of Warwick on the key brain cells which control our appetite. Professor Nicholas Dale in the School of Life Sciences has identified for the first time that tanycytes, cells found in part of the brain that controls energy levels, detect nutrients in food and tell the brain directly about the food we have eaten. According to the new research, tanycytes in the brain respond to amino acids found in foods, via the same receptors that sense the flavor of amino acids (“umami” taste), which are found in the taste buds of the tongue. Two amino acids that react most with tanycytes, and therefore are likely to make you feel more full, are arginine and lysine.

These amino acids are found in high concentrations in foods such as pork shoulder, beef sirloin steak, chicken, mackerel, plums, apricots, avocadoes, lentils and almonds. Therefore, eating those foods will activate the tanycytes, based on the research, and make you feel less hungry more quickly. The researchers made their discovery by adding concentrated amounts of arginine and lysine into brain cells, which were made fluorescent so that any microscopic reactions would be visible. They observed that within thirty seconds, the tanycytes detected and responded to the amino acids, releasing information to the part of the brain that controls appetite and body weight. They found that signals from amino acids are directly detected by the umami taste receptors by removing or blocking these receptors and observing that the amino acids no longer reacted with tanycytes.

Nicholas Dale, who is Ted Pridgeon Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Warwick, commented: “Amino acid levels in blood and brain following a meal are a very important signal that imparts the sensation of feeling full. Finding that tanycytes, located at the centre of the brain region that controls body weight directly sensing amino acids, has very significant implications for coming up with new ways to help people control their body weight within healthy bounds.” This major discovery opens up new possibilities for creating more effective diets, and even future treatments to suppress one’s appetite by directly activating the brain’s tanycytes, bypassing food and the digestive system. Nearly two thirds of the UK population is overweight or obese and one third of the U.S. population is obese. This excess weight elevates the risk of premature death and a range of illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, which greatly reduce quality of life. A new understanding of how appetite functions could curb the growing obesity crisis.

The research, ‘Amino Acid Sensing in Hypothalamic Tanycytes via Umami Taste Receptors’, will be published in Molecular Metabolism and is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Adapted from: University of Warwick. (2017, September 27). Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time: Dieting could be revolutionized, thanks to the groundbreaking discovery by the University of Warwick of the key brain cells which control our appetite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2017 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170927093254.htm

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Make snacks count! Be sure your snack consists of protein, whole grains and healthy fat for the trifecta that will keep you feeling fuller longer.

Daily Inspiration 




Tips for Dads

Guidelines and Strategies for Men and Fathers

*Thank you daddy for always believing in me and developing me! You are my hero 🙂

1. Develop a historical perspective on the politics of the control of women’s bodies.

2. Work toward and speak out for women’s rights: to fair pay, to safety, to respect, and to control of their bodies.

3. Demonstrate a respect for women as they age, in order to work against the cultural glorification of youth and a tightly controlled ideal body type. (Why is it only men should become distinguished as they age, while women become wrinkled and need face lifts?)

4. Learn to and practice nourishing women’s spirits, so they won’t feel an empty hunger for beauty and for unhealthy amounts of food.

5. Educate your children about the existence, the experience, and the ugliness of prejudice and oppression- whether it is directed against people of color or people who are overweight.

6. Devote yourself to raising non-sex-stereotyped children by modeling and living gender quality at home.

7. Demonstrate respect for all people.

8. Remain close to and supportive of your daughters as they experiment and struggle with body image, grooming and cosmetic issues, flirtatiousness and sexuality, etc,

9. Talk to your sons about the way body shape and sexuality (for both boys and girls) are manipulated by the media and the struggle their sisters or girlfriends have in trying to conform or not to conform.

10. Model patience, compassion, tenderness, fallibility, and most importantly, the capacity and desire to listen.

From National Eating Disorders Association, http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org

Ten Tips for Dads of Daughters

1. Listen to your daughter

2. Help make the world better for your daughter

3. Encourage your daughter’s strengths and celebrate her savvy

4. Discourage your daughter from dieting

5. Respect how your daughter is truly unique

6. Play with your daughter

7. Get involved in your daughter’s school

8. Get involved in your daughter’s activities

9. Take your daughter to work with you

10. Become a member of Dads and Daughters

1. Listen to your daughter: Focus on what is important, what your daughter thinks, believes, feels, dreams, and does, rather than how she looks. You have a profound influence on how your daughter views herself. When you value your daughter for her true self, you give her confidence to use her talents in the world.

2. Help make the world better for your daughter: The world does hold dangers for your daughters, but over-protection doesn’t work, and it tells your daughter that you don’t trust her and her abilities. You need to work with other parents to demand an end to violence against females, media sexualization of girls, advertisers using anorexic-looking models, pornography, and all “boys are more important that girls” attitudes. Initiatives like Dads and Daugthers campaigns will help you do it.

3. Encourage your daughter’s strengths and celebrate her savvy: Help your daughter learn to recognize, resist, and overcome barriers. Help her develop her strengths to achieve her goals. Help her be what Girls Incorporated calls “Strong, Smart, and Bold!”

4. Discourage your daughter from dieting: Growing girls need to eat healthy and often. Dieting increases the risk of eating disorders. Advertisers spend billions to convince your daughter she doesn’t look “right.” Don’t buy into it.

5. Respect how your daughter is truly unique: See your daughter as a whole person, capable of anything and make sure she knows that’s how you see her. Your daughter is likely to choose a life partner who acts like you and has your values. Treat her and those she loves with respect. That will help your daughter choose someone who respects and nourishes her long after she’s left your home.

6. Play with your daughter: Play catch, tag, jump rope, basketball, frisbee, hockey, soctter, volleyball, or just take walks… anything you can think of. Help her learn all the great things her body can do. Physically active girls are less likely to get pregnant, drop out of school, or put up with an abusive partner. Studies show that the most physically active girls have fathers who are active with them. Being physically active is with her is a great investment.

7. Get involved in your daughter’s school: Volunteer, chaperone, read to her class. Ask the administration tough questions like, “Does the school have and use an eating disorder prevention or body image awareness program? Does it tolerate sexual harassment of boys or girls? Do more boys take advanced math and science classes and if sho, why? Are at least half of the student leaders females?”

8. Get involved in your daughter’s activities: Volunteer to drive, coach, direct a play, teach a class- anything! Deman equality. Texas mortgage officer and volunteer basketball coach Dave Chapman was so appalled by the gym his 9-year old daughter’s team had to use, he fought to open the modern day “boys” gym to the girls team. Dads do make a difference!

9. Take your daughter to work with you: Participate in every April’s official Take Your Daughter To Work Day and make sure your business participates. She her how you pay the bills and manage money. Your daughter will have a job someday, so you need to introduce her to the world of work and finances.

10. Become a member of Dads and Daughters: Join other frathers who share your commitment to daughters by becoming a member of (or renewing your membership in) Dads and Daughters. Encourage other fathers to join too. To learn more about the nonprofit Dads and Daughters, please visit http://www.dadsanddaughters.org.

By: Eating Disorders Information Network

5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

1.  Set your intentions.   Be specific, write them down, and share with others. Post in places where you can remind yourself on a daily basis what you are working towards.  Write out WHY you want to reach your goals.  What motivates you?  Consider making a vision board or vision book to help keep you focused.

2.  Know that any goal worth achieving takes work.  There is no magic pill or potion to lose weight… if there was, Oprah would have found it :).   Dreaming about crossing the finish line will not get you there unless you put in the work on a daily basis.  Talking about how bad you feel, tired you are, or unhappy you are with your body and current state of health will not change anything.   However, taking daily action steps, eating more whole foods, decreasing portion sizes, drinking more water, and reducing the sugar and alcohol in your diet will improve your health and energy.  Take small steps daily.  Acknowledge that change will take work and time.  Be patient with yourself but also find some way to track, acknowledge, and reward your progress.

3.  Be grateful for what you do have and what you can do.   On your journey to better health and well-being, take time every day to state at least one thing you are grateful for.  It can be something you have, something your body has done for you, or someone who is in your life.  It is all too easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more, and while wanting to better yourself can be a good thing, it is also important to appreciate and love what you have.   Find gratitude in the little things every day.

4.  Help others reach their goals.  First, implement steps 1 – 3.  After your intentions have been set, you are willing to do the work, and you express daily gratitude – it is time to step outside of yourself and see who else can you help. We are all looking for something out of life, and believe it or not, it is not the same thing!  We may want similar things, but we each have unique goals and motivation behind our goals.   If you take the time out to help someone else reach their goals, it is almost guaranteed that somewhere along the way someone else will help you reach your goals.  Part of paying it forward is making the world a better place, step outside of yourself and your problems and help someone else in need.

5.  Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you and want to see you succeed.  Step away from the “naysayers” – the people who boohoo your dreams and sabotage your weight loss efforts.  If these people are real close to you (for example a spouse or parent) then have an honest talk with them.  This may be where you need to go back to #4 – see where you can help them reach their goal.  Become your own biggest fan.  Write down the good in you, write out what makes you unique and special.  Know that you deserve to reach your goals and feel your best.  Believe you can do whatever you put your mind to.

By: Colleen McCarthy