Further discouraging news today for our fellow Americans suffering in the obesity epidemic: it turns out that having one's guts sliced open and then having a rubber ring tied around your stomach organ like a noose around a chicken neck may not be the breezy, no-hassle procedure that we had all imagined.

You'll recall the national sense of letdown that we all experienced when we learned last year that 1-800-GET-THIN was not a magical answer to all of our obesity complications. Now, the FDA is warning that LapBandVIP.com, a lap band surgery factory frequently advertised on Los Angeles-area highway billboards, may have " failed to include adequate warnings about the surgery's risks." Christ, if you can't trust 1-800-GET-THIN or LapBandVip.com, who can you trust? The anti-stomach surgeons rushed to defend themselves, the LAT reports:

A company official was quick to distinguish Lap-Band VIP from competitor 1-800-GET-THIN. Five patients died after Lap-Band surgery at clinics affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN from 2009 to 2011, according to lawsuits, autopsy reports and other public records.

"There have been no deaths associated with LapBandVIP.com," Shayla Reed, the firm's general manager, said in a statement to The Times.

LapBandVIP.com: Helping you to lose weight without dying, unlike some of those competitors we won't mention. Why not give it a try today? You have nothing to lose—but your obesity! (And maybe your life, past performance is no guarantee of future results.)

[LAT. Photo via]