Changes in taste function and ingestive behavior following bariatric surgery

Katie Nance, M. Belén Acevedo, M. Yanina Pepino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe obesity and its related comorbidities. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) and Sleeve Gastrectomy (SG) are currently the most popular weight-loss surgeries used worldwide. Following these surgeries, many patients self-report changes in taste perception and decreased preference for unhealthy foods. These reported changes might account for increased adherence to healthier diets and successful weight loss after surgeries. However, researchers have used a variety of methodologies to assess patients' reported changes andresults are discrepant. The goal of this review is to summarize the literature regarding changes to taste function and ingestive behavior following RYGB and SG to examine differences in findings by methodology (indirect vs. direct measurements). We focused our review around changes in sweets, fats, and alcohol because most of the documented changes in ingestive behavior post-surgery are related to changes in these dietary items. We found that studies using surveys and questionnaires generally find that subjects self-report changes in taste and decrease their preference and cravings for energy-dense foods (particularly, sweets and high-fats). However, studies using validated sensory techniques that include oral sampling or by using direct food intake measurements find little to no change in subjects’ ability to perceive taste or their preference for energy-dense foods. Therefore, reported changes in taste and food preferences are unlikely to be explained by alterations in taste intensity and diet selection, and are rather related to changes in the rewarding value of food. Further, that RYGB, and likely SG, is associated with increased alcohol consumption and arisk to develop an alcohol use disorder) supports the notion that these surgeries alter central circuits of reward that are critical in the regulation of ingestive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104423
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Changes in taste function and ingestive behavior following bariatric surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this