Dr. Marc Bessler is assistant professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and director of the Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery. He is also the director of the Minimal Access Surgery Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. A fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Bessler's clinical specialties include surgical management of morbid obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease, laparoscopic surgery of the stomach, esophagus and hernia surgery, and natural orifice surgery. His research interests focus on hormonal, oncologic, and immune responses in laparoscopy.
He earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and completed his residency in general surgery and his fellowship in surgical endoscopy at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
Question: What resources do you suggest for designing an appropriate diet?
Marc Bessler: You know, interestingly I’m a surgeon and advising diets that I just told you don’t really work, isn’t my specialty, so I don’t, you know, nutritionists are a reasonable source, but I gotta tell ya the food pyramid that was being, I would say pushed by the USDA for a long time, which had oils at the top and really carbs at the bottom, is really wrong, I hate to say it and they revised the food pyramid recently to look very different, it’s still pyramid shaped but it’s not based stacked one on top of the other. The Mediterranean diet for example which isn’t a diet at all but people who live in the Mediterranean region, they tend to eat a lot of fats but they’re good fats, oils. They tend to eat carbs but relatively low Glycemic, they drink a lot of red wine, they live longer than we do. So actually oils aren’t a bad thing as long as it’s the right fats and protein is a good thing as long as they’re relatively lean and carbs may not be a good thing and it shouldn’t be, you know, the breakfast cereal for example that we give our kids. Breakfast cereals are low Glycemic index, sorry. Breakfast cereals are high Glycemic index, carbohydrates and your feed a kid a bowl of cereal and two hours later they’re gonna be hungry and they might eat junk two hours later. So, you know, I don’t wanna get phone calls from the breakfast cereal industry but really we have to mix this up well, we have to put in proteins in breakfast and I think that there are good sources out there, I just can’t easily recommend one.
Recorded on: 6/16/08