Friday, November 20, 2015

The Food of the Gods?

A lower calorie ambrosia salad might seem like an odd jumping off place for a blog post for the offices of a noted bariatric surgeon like Dr. Michael Feiz, but the recipe we featured earlier today on Facebook got us thinking.

In Greek mythology, ambrosia was the literal food of the gods. A human being who consumed some might gain a greatly extended lifespan or even immortality. An ancient myth this might be, but it still holds more than a little psychological resonance. After all, we humans are still searching for the perfect superfood and/or miracle cure that can go well beyond the ordinary benefits of a simple healthy lifestyle. It goes without saying that such a special food would also cure a host of troubles, obesity definitely being among them.

Of course, there are no end of products being sold as modern day ambrosia, particularly in the weight loss arena. Although we are loathe to issue blanket statements, at least in terms of defeating severe obesity, it's safe to say that none of them actually work.

It's easy to make light of these products and the people who use them, but when it comes to dealing with obesity,their appeal is very understandable. People who have never tried to lose a large amount of weight simply cannot understand how difficult it is because, essentially, our own body is turning against us. It does this by trying to persuade us that we need to overeat through hormones like ghrelin, which at one time probably helped people survive by providing a sort of hedge against the likelihood of a famine. Since it's production tends to increase as obese individuals lose weight, it's main function today is thwarting our most earnest weight loss efforts.

So, there's no food of the gods and no shortcuts in the fight against obesity. Smaller portions and exercise are the only route to victory. However, procedures like the gastric sleeve can reduce the cravings that make serious weight loss so unbearably difficult for most people. It's not like a gift from Zeus that suddenly gives us the literal body of a Greek god, but it's a little bit like being given a fairly powerful new weapon that help a great deal of winning the battle against obesity. It's no miracle, but it's the best we've got. 

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