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Surg Endosc. 2019 Aug 2. doi: 10.1007/s00464-019-07033-0. [Epub ahead of print]

Does taste preference predict weight regain after bariatric surgery?

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University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 800 Rose Street MN 150, Lexington, KY, 40506, USA.
Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Health, Behavior and Society, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.



While bariatric surgery is well established as a means of inducing sustained weight loss, the rate of weight loss typically declines after a year, and weight regain has been observed. Preoperative taste preferences have been suspected to play a role in weight regain, possibly by influencing post-operative dietary practices. We sought to investigate the association between preoperative taste preferences and weight regain following bariatric surgery.


Patients who underwent bariatric surgery with at least 2 years of follow-up were included. Demographics and weight were collected in follow-up visits; while patient recall of preoperative taste preference was assessed, using a multiple-choice question in the study survey administered at least 6 months post-surgery. Weight regain was calculated as weight at 2 years minus weight at 1 year post-surgery, with weight regain denoted by positive values and weight loss by negative. Linear regression models were utilized to study associations between weight regain and preoperative taste preferences with and without adjusting for demographic factors and surgery type.


Patients undergoing RYGB had less weight regain (- 4.5 kg, p = 0.033) compared to patients undergoing VSG. Compared to patients with no preferences, patients with sweet food or salty food preferences had 5.5 kg (p = 0.038) and 6.1 kg (p = 0.048) weight regain, respectively, at 2 years post-surgery. After adjustment, patients with salty food preference had 6.8 kg (p = 0.027) weight regain compared to patients with no preferences.


Preoperative salty taste preference was associated with weight regain at 2 years post-surgery in patients undergoing bariatric surgery. Findings of this project might have implications for predicting long-term weight loss maintenance for patients with known preoperative taste preferences. Our study suggests that patients with preoperative salty taste preference may need further post-operative psychosocial support and resources to prevent weight regain and to ensure healthy and sufficient weight loss.


Bariatric surgery; Taste preferences; Weight regain


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