If the question is whether you should have weight loss surgery or focus on diet and exercise, a new study has the answer.

Weight loss surgery, the study reports, is better than diet and exercise.

The study, which was recently published in the British Medical Journal, used two years of data to compare the overall efficacy of 11 different types of weight loss surgery against the results of lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise. What it found is that weight loss surgery is more effective–in the short term as well as the long term.

Short-Term Weight Loss Results

In terms of sheer weight loss, the researchers found that people who had surgery lost significantly more weight (an average of 57 pounds, to be exact) than those who used diet and exercise to lose weight.

In addition, the study found that people who undergo weight loss surgery had an easier time keeping off the weight than those who relied on lifestyle changes.

If your goal is to lose weight, surgery is a better long-term option, according to the study.

Long-Term Health Benefits

Of course simply losing weight isn’t the only reason people undergo weight loss surgery or commit to rigorous diet and exercise regiments. Fighting off chronic illnesses is another reason–and a benefit that is perhaps the most important.

The study found that, in addition to losing greater amounts of weight and keeping it off, people who had weight loss surgery also had lower rates of Type II Diabetes than those who relied solely on a healthy diet and exercise.

In fact, those who underwent weight loss surgery had rates of Type II Diabetes that were 22 times lower than the other group of people.

In addition, they were also at lower risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.

The Takeaway

While the results of the study are encouraging for anyone who has or is considering weight loss surgery, the researchers acknowledge that more research is needed.

Only two years’ worth of data was analyzed. But if the trends hold true in subsequent research, the news is good.