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Lifestyle changes key to weight loss

Mr Michael Gerald Hong Chun Pun believes "the most efficacious combination (for weight loss) may be stomach reduction surgery, a vegetarian diet and structured fasting" (Don't tip-toe around issue of obesity; June 30).

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends surgery for patients who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater or equal to 40, or are more than 45kg overweight. Other patients who may consider surgery are those with a BMI greater or equal to 35, who have at least one obesity-related health problem, and were unable to achieve a healthy sustained weight loss.

The basic principle in weight management is balancing the calorie input against the output.

If there is excessive intake and insufficient physical activity, one can still grow fat, even while on a vegetarian diet.

Advocates of fasting believe that restricting the calorie intake is good for not only weight control but also for brain health and a longer life. However, studies on this are still ongoing.

Obesity is a complex, multifactorial condition. To achieve consistent weight loss, one has to make long-term lifestyle changes like controlling the food intake, exercising and avoiding eating triggers.

Steven Gregory Ang Boon Kiang (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 09, 2017, with the headline 'Lifestyle changes key to weight loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe