New research by scientists from Imperial College London shows that gastric bypass surgery alters people’s food preferences.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Psychology, suggest some types of bariatric surgery could lead to long-term weight loss.
A growing number of patients are opting to undergo bariatric surgery in order to lose weight, with over 7,000 such procedures being carried out on the NHS in 2009/10.
The new research saw scientists use data collected from human trials.
The researchers used data from 16 participants in a study in which obese people were randomly assigned either gastric bypass surgery or another type of operation, vertical-banded gastroplasty, in which the stomach volume is reduced but no part of the intestine is bypassed.
The participants who had had gastric bypass had a significantly smaller proportion of fat in their diet six years after surgery, based on questionnaire responses.
Lead researcher Dr Carel le Roux, Imperial Weight Centre at Imperial College London, said: “It appears that after bypass surgery, patients become hungry for good food and avoid junk food not because they have to, but because they just don’t like it any more.”