Food intake following gastric bypass surgery: patients eat less but do not eat differently

Barbara Livingstone, Tamsyn L. Redpath, Fathimath Naseer, Adele Boyd, Melanie Martin, Graham Finlayson, Alexander Miras, Zsolt Bodnar , David Kerrigan, Dimitri J. Pournaras, CW Le Roux, Alan C. Spector, RK Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Background Lack of robust research methodology for assessing ingestive behavior has impeded clarification of the mediators of food intake following gastric bypass (GBP) surgery. Objectives To evaluate changes in directly measured 24-h energy intake (EI), energy density (ED) (primary outcomes), eating patterns, and food preferences (secondary outcomes) in patients and time-matched weight-stable comparator participants. Methods Patients [n = 31, 77% female, BMI (in kg/m2) 45.5 ± 1.3] and comparators (n = 32, 47% female, BMI 27.2 ± 0.8) were assessed for 36 h under fully residential conditions at baseline (1 mo presurgery) and at 3 and 12 mo postsurgery. Participants had ad libitum access to a personalized menu (n = 54 foods) based on a 6-macronutrient mix paradigm. Food preferences were assessed by the Leeds Food Preference Questionnaire. Body composition was measured by whole-body DXA. Results In the comparator group, there was an increase in relative fat intake at 3 mo postsurgery; otherwise, no changes were observed in food intake or body composition. At 12 mo postsurgery, patients lost 27.7 ± 1.6% of initial body weight (P < 0.001). The decline in EI at 3 mo postsurgery (–44% from baseline, P < 0.001) was followed by a partial rebound at 12 mo (–18% from baseline), but at both times, dietary ED and relative macronutrient intake remained constant. The decline in EI was due to eating the same foods as consumed presurgery and by decreasing the size (g, MJ), but not the number, of eating occasions. In patients, reduction in explicit liking at 3 mo (–11.56 ± 4.67, P = 0.007) and implicit wanting at 3 (–15.75 ± 7.76, P = 0.01) and 12 mo (–15.18 ± 6.52, P = 0.022) for sweet foods were not matched by reduced intake of these foods. Patients with the greatest reduction in ED postsurgery reduced both EI and preference for sweet foods. Conclusions After GBP, patients continue to eat the same foods but in smaller amounts. These findings challenge prevailing views about the dynamics of food intake following GBP surgery. This trial was registered as as NCT03113305.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2319-2332
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Early online date23 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition.


  • gastric bypass
  • energy intake
  • energy density
  • eating patterns
  • food preferences


Dive into the research topics of 'Food intake following gastric bypass surgery: patients eat less but do not eat differently'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this