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Reductions in addiction-like food behaviors and increases in alcohol intake have been reported after weight loss surgery. However, no studies have tracked these measures in combination and prospectively. In this preliminary study, 27 participants underwent bariatric surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) (n = 10) and sleeve gastrectomy (SG) (n = 6)), dietary weight loss (n = 6), or no treatment (n = 5). Participants were weighed, completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), and reported alcohol intake frequency before intervention and at 4 and 24 months after baseline. At 24 months, only the surgery group showed
significant reductions in BMI. Between baseline and 24 months, YFAS scores decreased (p = .006) and alcohol intake increased in the surgery group (p = .005). Significant changes were not observed in the diet or no treatment groups.

Abstract

Summary

Most (93%) participants were female. The average age at baseline was 32.7 and did not differ between groups. Baseline BMI did not vary between groups. When comparing baseline and 4 months within each group, BMI declined significantly in all groups. When comparing baseline and 24 months within each group, BMI declined significantly in the surgery group only. There was a trend toward an increase in BMI in the no treatment group and no change was observed in the diet group. YFAS scores at pre-intervention did not vary between the groups. At baseline, 6.3% of the surgery group, 33.3% of diet group, and 40% of the no treatment group met the criteria for food addiction. When comparing baseline and 4 months within groups, YFAS scores significantly decreased in the surgery group, but no differences in YFAS scores were seen in the diet group or the no treatment group between baseline and 4 months. YFAS scores declined significantly between baseline and the final assessment in the surgery group. Neither the diet group nor the no treatment group showed significant changes. Alcohol intake at baseline did not vary between groups, and when comparing baseline and 4 months within each group, alcohol intake did not change significantly. However, alcohol intake significantly increased between baseline and the final assessment in the surgery group. Significant changes were not observed in either the diet group or the no treatment group between baseline and 24 months. Notably, of 10 surgery participants who reported not drinking prior to surgery, 6 reported drinking once or twice a week at the second follow-up at 24 months. No correlation was observed between change in alcohol intake scores from baseline to 2 years or change in YFAS scores from baseline to 2 years in surgery participants. At 24 months, only the surgery group showed a significant reduction in BMI from baseline. A significant reduction in YFAS scores was observed in both follow-up assessments in the surgery group. A decrease in YFAS scores was not observed in the diet or no treatment groups. Two years after baseline, a significant increase in alcohol intake was seen in surgery patients. Six out of ten surgery participants who reported 0 drinks per week prior to surgery reported having 1 to 2 drinks per week at 24 months. Notably, increased weekly alcohol intake was not observed when comparing baseline to the initial follow-up at 4 months, highlighting the importance of long-term follow-up. This preliminary study suggests that patients may experience sustained reductions in addiction-like food intake but increased alcohol intake following weight loss surgery. These effects were specific to surgery patients and were not observed among individuals enrolled in a diet weight loss program or no treatment.

A Longitudinal Preliminary Study of Addiction-Like Responses to Food and Alcohol Consumption Among Individuals Undergoing Weight Loss Surgery

Murray, S. M., Tweardy, S., Geliebter, A., & Avena, N. M.

Body mass indices (BMI) were calculated, and Yale Food Addiction Scales (YFAS) were administered. Participants answered the question, “How many drinks do you typically consume per week?” Activities were repeated at 4 and 24 months.

Methodology

Sample Size

27 participants were recruited from candidates for bariatric surgery. 16 participants underwent weight loss surgery (10 underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and 6 underwent sleeve gastrectomy), 6 participated in a dietary weight loss intervention that included a liquid meal replacement diet for 3 months, and 5 participants received no treatment.

Conclusion

This preliminary study suggests that patients may experience sustained reductions in addiction-like food intake but increased alcohol intake following weight loss surgery. These effects were specific to surgery patients and were not observed among individuals enrolled in a diet weight loss program or no treatment.

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URL

Obesity . Weight loss surgery . Food addiction . Alcohol

Key Words

Murray, Susan M., et al. “A Longitudinal Preliminary Study of Addiction-Like Responses to Food and Alcohol Consumption Among Individuals Undergoing Weight Loss Surgery.” Obesity Surgery, vol. 29, no. 8, Aug. 2019, pp. 2700–03. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-019-03915-3.

Citation

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