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Gastric Bypass Patients' Sense of Smell and Taste Changed Post-Procedure

A new study has revealed that people who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery experienced changes in their sense of smell and taste post-procedure.

Julie S, HNGN, Apr 21, 2014

UK researchers from the Leicester Royal Infirmary worked with study leader Lisa Graham for the probe. Scholars administered questionnaires to 103 patients who underwent the weight loss surgery at any of the University Hospitals of Leicester between 2000 and 2011. Subjects were asked about changes in their appetite, taste and sense of smell.

The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery involves cutting out a small portion of the stomach and attaching it to the small intestine to create a pouch. This stomach sack holds a majority of consumed food, bypassing the duodenum, which in turn, reduces fat absorption. About 80 percent of all weight-loss surgeries done in the United States involve this procedure, because of its proven weight loss average of 60 percent.

Graham's team noticed some changes with patients who underwent surgery in the past, but there was no official documentation on the matter, leading them to initiate the study.

"This study indicates that subjective changes in appetite, taste and smell are very common after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass," Graham wrote in a press release.

After tabulating the responses of study participants, officials found that 97 percent of them experienced changes on their appetite; 42 percent reported experiencing difference in food scent recognition after the surgery, and 73 percent felt that things tastes differently, especially on the sweet and sour portions of the tongue.

Furthermore, the researchers found that 73 percent of the respondents avoided meat products including chicken, beef, sausages, ham, lamb, or bacon. About 12 percent skipped breads, pastas, and rice, as well as dairy products. A small number, around seven percent, stopped eating vegetables and fruits.

On a positive note, those who experienced changes in their sense of smell and taste showed more significant weight loss and decreased body mass index (BMI). On average, they were able to shed off 8 kilograms more, in average, than those who did not report any appetite changes.

Details of the study can be read in the online journal, Obesity Surgery.

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