GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– In an attempt to shed extra pounds, many Americans turn from one fad diet to another.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, we asked a bariatric surgeon if you can trust something marketed as a quick fix and the best ways to lose weight.

Fad diets and products promoting weight loss seem to flood social media, TV ads, and pop culture.

Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, a bariatric and general surgeon, urges caution before hopping on the latest bandwagon.

“Do it in a healthy way rather than a quick fix, because there’s not really a quick fix to weight loss. You know, obesity is a chronic disease, that it took you many years to get there. So, you’re not going to lose the weight in a few months.”

Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, Bariatric and general surgeon, Bon Secours St. Francis

Talking with your doctor should be the first step on your weight loss journey, then, Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez says take a look at what you’re eating.

She says, “We usually recommend the protein first diet where you’re eating your protein first… usually protein will help you get full, and it also lasts longer, that energy, it takes longer to metabolize.”

Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez also says increasing physical activity will promote weight loss.

“The recommendation is that patients do at least 300 minutes a week of moderate activity exercise, you know, physical activity. If they do high intensity, it will be at least 150 minutes a week.”

Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, Bariatric and general surgeon, Bon Secours St. Francis

There are prescriptions that can aid in losing weight, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Ozempic to name a few, but they don’t come without side effects, like GI upset.

“I think the safest medication is the medication that gives you the least side effects and gives you the effect that you want on your weight,” says Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still can’t lose the weight, Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez says surgical weight loss may be an option.

She says, “Any patient that has a BMI over 35 and has one medical problem, like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol qualifies for surgery, or if they have a BMI over 40 and no medical problems”.

Dr. Gonzalez says getting your weight under control and getting to a healthy BMI decreases your risk of dying suddenly from a heart problem by almost over 30 percent.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.