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Weight Loss Surgery Changes Appetite and Taste Buds

Update Date: Apr 16, 2014 01:47 PM EDT

Weight loss surgery is often used as a last resort for obese people who cannot lose weight through diet and exercise. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on people's hunger for food. They found that after this procedure, which shrinks the stomach and shortens the intestines, people tend to experience changes in appetite and tastes.

In this study, the researchers headed by Lisa Graham from Leicester Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom, examined answers from questionnaires that were sent to 103 people who had weight loss surgery. The patients all had surgery at the University Hospitals of Leicester from 2000 to 2011. The questionnaire was made up of 33 questions that asked participants about their appetite, taste and sense of smell.

The researchers found that 97 percent of the participants stated that their appetites changed after surgery. 42 percent stated that their sense of smell was also altered post surgery. 73 percent felt that their taste buds changed, particularly in their sweet and sour palate. More specifically, people stated that chicken, beef, port, roast meat, lamb or sausage, fast food, greasy foods, pasta, rice and fish all tasted different.

The patients who had altered taste buds also reported developing food aversions. People with food aversions tended to have greater postoperative weight loss and had reductions in their body mass index (BMI), which measures obesity.

"This study indicates that subjective changes in appetite, taste and smell are very common after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass," Graham concluded according to Medical Xpress.

The study, "Taste, Smell and Appetite Change After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery, Obesity Surgery," was published in Obesity Surgery.

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