Meal Patterns and Food Choices of Female Rats Fed a Cafeteria-Style Diet Are Altered by Gastric Bypass Surgery

Ginger D. Blonde, Ruth K. Price, Carel W. le Roux, Alan C. Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB), rats tend to reduce consumption of high-sugar and/or high-fat foods over time. Here, we sought to investigate the behavioral mechanisms underlying these intake outcomes. Adult female rats were provided a cafeteria diet comprised of five palatable foodstuffs varying in sugar and fat content and intake was monitored continuously. Rats were then assigned to either RYGB, or one of two control (CTL) groups: sham surgery or a nonsurgical control group receiving the same prophylactic iron treatments as RYGB rats. Post-sur-gically, all rats consumed a large first meal of the cafeteria diet. After the first meal, RYGB rats reduced intake primarily by decreasing the meal sizes relative to CTL rats, ate meals more slowly, and displayed altered nycthemeral timing of intake yielding more daytime meals and fewer nighttime meals. Collectively, these meal patterns indicate that despite being motivated to consume a cafeteria diet after RYGB, rats rapidly learn to modify eating behaviors to consume foods more slowly across the entire day. RYGB rats also altered food preferences, but more slowly than the changes in meal patterns, and ate proportionally more energy from complex carbohydrates and protein and proportionally less fat. Overall, the pattern of results suggests that after RYGB rats quickly learn to adjust their size, eating rate, and distribution of meals without altering meal number and to shift their macronutrient intake away from fat; these changes appear to be more related to postingestive events than to a fundamental decline in the palatability of food choices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3856
Issue number11
Early online date28 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2021


  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • cafeteria diet
  • meal pattern analysis
  • macronutrient selection
  • food choice
  • rat


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