Benefits of gastric bypass surgery linked to changes in sweet taste preference

July 18, 2017

Worldwide, the number of patients struggling with obesity is rapidly increasing in both adults and children. Diet and exercise are the mainstays of treatment for obesity, but have limited effectiveness. While bariatric surgery can produce sustained and significant weight loss for most patients, not all patients experience similar benefits. The reasons for this variation are unknown, but researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine believe that part of the answer may lie in how taste preferences are altered by weight loss surgery.

Kimberley Steele MD PhD, Principal Investigator and Director of Bariatric Research at Hopkins, was inspired to investigate this phenomenon after observing that her had a heightened sensitivity to sweet foods after surgery. Dr. Steele and her team of neuroscientists and imaging specialists hypothesized that the factors responsible for variation in following may lie not just in the gut but also in the brain.

Dr. Steele's team studied for sugars and fats in patients prior to surgery and up to 3 months after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) or vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). While both RYGB and VSG procedures reduce the size of the stomach, RYGB also reroutes the progression of food through the intestines. Thus it alters many of the gut responses that would usually be triggered during digestion. Their preliminary data show that all patients experienced a decrease in their liking of sweet taste, but a more pronounced effect was observed with RYGB. No changes in fat preference were observed in either group. "These preliminary data suggest that the changes in sweet taste preference in individuals who had RYGB may be driven by alterations in the reward value of food induced by the anatomical and/or metabolic changes that occur with RYGB." says Dr. Kimberly Smith, a postdoctoral fellow and co-investigator on the team.

A better understanding of what drives changes in diet selection following bariatric surgery may allow clinicians to predict which patients will respond best to different types of surgery, and may provide insight into the mechanisms responsible for overeating in the obese, of potential importance to the development of surgical and non-surgical approaches to the treatment of obesity.

Explore further: Rapid improvement in insulin sensitivity with bariatric surgery

Related Stories

Rapid improvement in insulin sensitivity with bariatric surgery

September 5, 2016
(HealthDay)—For obese patients without diabetes, bariatric surgery improves insulin sensitivity (IS), with more pronounced improvements for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) than for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding ...

Popular weight-loss surgery puts patients at high risk for alcohol problems

May 16, 2017
One in five patients who undergo one of the most popular weight-loss surgical procedures is likely to develop problems with alcohol, with symptoms sometimes not appearing until years after their surgery, according to one ...

Weight loss following bariatric surgery sustained long-term

August 31, 2016
Obese patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) lost much more weight than those who did not and were able to sustain most of this weight loss 10 years after surgery, according to a study published online by ...

Roux-en-Y surgery can reverse insulin treatment in T2DM

January 21, 2015
(HealthDay)—Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) strongly predicts insulin cessation after surgery in insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (I-T2D) patients, independent of weight loss, according to a study published online ...

High rate of symptoms, hospitalization following gastric bypass surgery for obesity

January 6, 2016
Although the vast majority of patients reported improved well-being after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, the prevalence of symptoms such as abdominal pain and fatigue were high and nearly one-third of patients were ...

Metabolic benefit same with similar weight loss after surgery

November 21, 2016
(HealthDay)—Early metabolic differences following laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) disappear when weight loss reaches ...

Recommended for you

Study adds to evidence that most prescribed opioid pills go unused

August 2, 2017
In a review of half a dozen published studies in which patients self-reported use of opioids prescribed to them after surgery, researchers at Johns Hopkins report that a substantial majority of patients used only some or ...

Engineers harness the power of 3-D printing to help train surgeons, shorten surgery times

August 2, 2017
A team of engineers and pediatric orthopedic surgeons are using 3D printing to help train surgeons and shorten surgeries for the most common hip disorder found in children ages 9 to 16. In a recent study, researchers showed ...

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.