Washington DC: Obesity is a growing epidemic worldwide and a leading cause of death alongside heart disease and smoking. Bariatric surgery, specifically Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), is the most effective treatment for obesity.
With RYGB many patients exhibit a reduction in taste preference for sweet and fatty foods, although this effect may only be temporary, according to a new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Professor Patricia DiLorenzo said, "People who have this surgery are what we call morbidly obese, meaning that they are at least 100 pounds overweight, and in many cases are diabetic. It's life or death for them."
RYGB makes the stomach much smaller into what is called a pouch. This pouch bypasses part of the small intestine, so when you eat, your food enters a smaller stomach and empties right into the small intestine. This means that people cannot eat large meals anymore, leading to weight loss. However, taste and odour preferences are also known to change after surgery, and their potential involvement with the noted weight loss is a question of the study.
DiLorenzo and her research team investigated food and odour preference changes following RYGB and compared them to changes in body-mass index (BMI) post-surgery.
The research team also found that people who liked coffee more post-surgery were also the people that lost the most weight. Coffee and vegetables share a bitter flavor, indicating that post-RYGB surgery, some patients' taste preferences shifted from high-fat and sweet foods to ones where bitter tastes were less aversive. Patients who experienced this effect lost the most weight and had lower BMI in the long run after surgery.
However, these altered food preferences generally trend back towards pre-surgery preferences over time. Additionally, the rate of weight loss lessens as time increases post-surgery.
Despite the risk for some patients to regain weight post-surgery, the majority of patients successfully lose and keep the weight off.
The study is presented in the journal- PLOS ONE.