A number of Doctors, scientists, and policymakers gathered in Boston for the Obesity Week 2014.The gathering were also an opportunity to present new findings. The most interesting one was that bariatric surgery may alter taste buds and make food taste less appealing. An important focus of the gathering was how to address the society’s food rich environment which can help to combat obesity.
The study was spearheaded by Dr. John Morton, the chief of bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine and president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Dr. Morton was interviewed by Sacha Pfeiffer from Here & Now’s and asked him what he thinks about approaches to be adopted to treat obesity. Dr. Morton explained the details of the study which envisaged testing the taste sensitivity of people. A strip was impregnated with five different taste components – salt, sweet, bitter, umami and sour, researchers gave different gradations, or strength, of intensity.
The scientists found that taste sensitivity was quite less in obese patients as compared to the controlled patients. The obese patients were not able to differentiate between the tastes like a normal weight person. This condition happened before surgery. However when the patients had undergone surgery they reported that they were less disposed towards salty food. The scientists also found some changes in taste sensitivity of the patients after surgery.
Dr Morton said that this new treatment is termed the intergastric balloon and will revolutionize the way we treat obesity. The surgery basically involves an endoscope which is passed into the stomach and the balloon is inflated and left in place for six months. The patient is educated about right habits for long-term success.Post Bariatric Surgery 87 percent of patients said they had a change in taste. The patients no longer taste as good as it does prior to surgery and hence they eat less.