Researchers said that Bariatric Surgery Showed Effects on the Brain's Reward System Which Curbs the Sugary Cravings

Dec 10, 2015 01:20 PM EST | By Pao Uychiat

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Weight loss and fad diets are among the most searched topics on the internet these days. People are too health conscious that they decide to change their entire lifestyle including food choices and for some, they are even willing to risk it all and go through it in a painful but quick way, through surgery. An article in Times of India said that a new study found that weight loss surgery was found to act on the brain's rewarding system part which helps curb the sugar cravings.

The researchers tried the study with some mice. They found that gastrointestinal bypass surgery, process in which is used to treat obesity and diabetes, showed that there was a lower sugar-seeking behavior because there was a reduced level of dopamine in the brain which is known as the reward chemical.

Senior study author Ivan de Araujo of Yale University School of Medicine said, "By shedding light on how bariatric surgeries affect brain function, our study could pave the way for the development of novel, less-invasive interventions, such as drugs that reduce sugar cravings by preventing sugar absorption or metabolism upon arrival in the gastrointestinal tract." Bariatric surgery has a higher level of success if the patient also reduce the calorie intake and less consumption of sugary food as well. This is an important behavior change.

The team was able to record positive outcomes like the success rates can be achieved if sugary foods seem less rewarding for patients after going through the surgery. Patients have reported that there was indeed a change in the type of food they prefer to consume right after the surgery. In the past studies, it showed that the brain dopamine reward system is the one regulating the calorie intake. His team also found that nutrient sensing in the gastrointestinal tract stimulates dopamine release in the dorsal striatum.

To prove the theory, that bariatric surgery relies on the same brain circuitry to curb sugary food preference; they performed a surgery in mice. They bypass the small intestine and directly connecting the stomach to the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract. This is the same process that is being performed in humans but no gastric pouches in order to limit the food consumption. After the surgery, it inhibited sweet-seeking impulse as if it prevented the sugar attraction from being put on hold.

Finally, de Araujo said, "Our findings provide the first evidence for a causal link between striatal dopamine signalling and the outcomes of bariatric interventions. However, ultimately we would like to help patients lose weight and reverse their diabetes without going under the knife." 

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