Specialty: Surgery, Bariatric Medicine
Hospital: HCA Virginia
Fun Fact: I like to work on cars a lot. I’ve actually rebuilt a 1985 Land Cruiser.

What is your favorite way to stay fit?
Running. I used to hate it and then I spent about a year working on my stride. As cliché as it sounds, I found my stride and that changed it all for me.

What health trends are you watching these days?
I strongly believe in low carb diets so I follow the medical parts of the concept pretty closely. Most recently, I’ve been looking at sleep as a weight loss tool because the effect of sleep on weight is really dramatic. I think it’s underappreciated. Our sleep and work patterns directly relate to our weight and health.

What is the one food or drink you wish you could eliminate from restaurant or fast food menus?
Sweet tea. Our society has a vision that tea is healthy. By volume, sweet tea has more sugar than soda, and unlike soda, it’s not carbonated or acidic, so people drink more of it.

Why did you become a bariatric surgeon?
When I started doing this in the late ’90s, if you wanted to do something that could really change lives, but wasn’t cancer surgery, this was the option. With weight loss surgery, you develop this relationship with people -- you work with them for months ahead of time, you do the procedure, and you see them over and over again, watching their life transform from an unhealthier version of themselves into people who run triathlons, play with their grandkids and have children that couldn’t before. It’s a great specialty to be in.

What is the last book you read?
I have a side interest in behavioral economics. The last book I read was Who Gets What – and Why by Alvin Roth.

What is your favorite way to sneak healthy food into your diet?
I like hummus, and it’s good to put on anything you don’t really care for – like carrots and celery. You can slather it on any vegetable and knock it back.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Honestly, it’s that as a society, we don’t provide universal coverage for weight loss. When someone comes in that is 150 pounds overweight and has to use a walker and oxygen tank to get around, and I have to tell them I cannot perform the surgery, it’s the worst. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released the current numbers and one-third of the country is obese.

Learn more about Dr. Brengman here.