outlook :OBESITY epidemic

Susan Farley
Published Online: Wednesday, August 1, 2007
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Gastric Bypass Patients Likely to Get Drunk Faster
An episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show inspired a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, which found that patients who have had bariatric surgery need to be careful when drinking alcohol because it will inebriate them sooner and make them take longer to get sober. Guests on the talk show reported that they were getting drunk faster, and they worried that their food addiction would become an alcohol addiction.

The Stanford study included people who had undergone gastric bypass surgery and people who had not. Each group was given a glass of red wine to drink within 15 minutes. The results were as follows:

  • Gastric bypass patients reached a breath-alcohol peak of 0.08%

  • Participants in the control group reached a breath-alcohol peak of 0.05%

  • Bypass patients took about 108 minutes to return to normal

  • The control group took about 72 minutes to return to normal

The researchers thought these findings demonstrated that "bypass patients have a fundamentally altered metabolism."

Young People's Risk of Developing Diabetes
A federal health survey yielded the data illustrated below, which show the risks of developing diabetes in overweight, obese, and extremely obese young adults. Developing diabetes at an early age can lead to other diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and kidney failure.

It is alarming to note that once a person is classified as extremely obese -  with a body mass index of 40 or higher -  he or she is more likely than not to develop diabetes. The study results, from Emory University, appear in the June 2007 issue of Diabetes Care.

Nuts! A Daily Helping of Pistachios May Improve Lipid Levels
A study published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that the inclusion of pistachios in the diet - about 1 or 2 handfuls a day - may improve some blood lipid levels over a period of 4 weeks. Study participants showed no signs of weight gain or changes in body mass index or blood pressure.

According to study investigator James N. Cooper, MD, of George Mason University, "This research challenges the previously held belief that a low-fat diet is best for heart health. Studies now show that a diet with a moderate amount of healthful monounsaturated fat is a more effective way to prevent heart disease than reducing overall fat intake."



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