Most people have heard of bariatric surgery at least once in their life. Of course, it is commonly known for its weight-loss effects. While this can be a healthy and safe alternative for some people struggling with weight issues, other studies prove that these types of procedures can be beneficial for other reasons as well. An associate professor from Yale University revealed that bariatric procedures can do more than just help a person lose weight; they may even be able to curb a patient’s appetite for sugar.

For some time, bariatric surgeries have been recognized for their weight loss effects, which stem from two main mechanisms, malabsorption and restriction.

  • Malabsorption: This is the reduction in nutrient absorption after a bariatric procedure.
  • Restriction: This is the limited amount of food that can be consumed after a bariatric procedure.

In addition, studies have shown that caloric intake is partially mediated by a dopamine reward system, found in the dorsal striatum. This system is sensitive to any sugars found in the gastrointestinal tract. Various research proves this system is also responsible for decision-making and has the ability to combine motivational and emotional information in order to initiate actions. But how might these processes curb a person’s craving for sugar?

The Study

The Yale University professor performed a study, using mice, to explain how various bariatric procedures can reduce a person’s sugar addiction. To do this, he bypassed the first sections of the mice’s guts and attached their stomachs to the lower sections of the GI tracts.

The mice who underwent surgery, that were artificially satiated with sugary water, paid less attention to the sweetened water fountain, proving that the mice’s appetites for sugar had significantly decreased.

Researchers believe that these results occurred due to the reduction of sugar-induced dopamine released in the dorsal striatum, decreasing the rewarding effects of sugar consumption. Scientists believe that these effects may also occurs for humans who undergo bariatric procedures.

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