Being very fat is unhealthy, not only because you have to carry all that weight around but also because you are at a greater risk of developing chronic disorders such as diabetes. People who are truly overweight are eligible for a gastric band or for a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a substantial reduction of their intestine. It is very drastic surgery and they will never be able to eat normally again afterwards, but it really does help. In fact, scientists have observed an effect on diabetes even before any weight loss. PhD student Mirjam Anne Lips compared the consequences of gastric bands, bypasses and extremely strict diets to find out how that effect was produced.
She concluded that, for many of the hormones and concentrations of substances, it doesn’t make much difference whether you put someone on a very strict diet or prescribe bypass surgery – a striking conclusion, as previous research had revealed that bypass surgery had a large impact on the hormone system. Lips received her PhD last week.

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