Your sense of smell will change and become less sensitive than before surgery – this means you may find yourself sniffing everything! You may notice increased sensitivity in your taste buds as well…this brings us to the topic for this post. In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about taste changes following bariatric surgery.
What is bariatric surgery, and how does it work?
Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is divided to decrease its capacity. The two most common types are gastric banding and gastric bypass, in which stapling or dividing the stomach limits how much can be eaten at one time. The surgeon may also re-route the small intestine so that less food is absorbed.
Among patients who have not undergone surgery, many struggles with obesity for years prior to seeking help. Many people gain additional weight over time due to changes in metabolic rate, an increased appetite, or difficulty sticking with a diet. The more years that pass before surgery is performed, the harder it may be for patients to lose weight and keep it off. Weight-loss surgery can also help reverse other health conditions related to obesity, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Why does taste change post-bariatric surgery?
Taste, like most other body senses, comes from the function and structure of sensory organs. The tongue and mouth are lined with specialized nerve endings that detect chemical stimuli in food, including sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes. Once the information is received by the brain, these signals create a sensation that we perceive as taste. After bariatric surgery, the stomach and intestines are altered. This can affect how nutrients are absorbed, changing taste significantly. These changes might make certain foods seem too sweet, sour, salty, or even bitter after surgery. This is because some foods release more of their flavor with less help from the mouth and tongue; it’s similar to when food gets stuck in your teeth or when you have a throat cold and still think everything tastes fine. It takes some getting used to, but it is possible, with time, to retrain your palate. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger, and taste preference is linked to ghrelin levels. In one study, patients who had gastric bypass surgery showed reduced postoperative ghrelin concentrations and reduced hunger and food cravings.
How do taste changes affect the diet of a post-bariatric patient?
Most patients who have undergone Bariatric Surgery in Mexico report that their sense of smell and taste change following the procedure. This change in taste is one reason why foods may not seem as appealing after weight-loss surgery and may also contribute to increased food cravings. The ability to taste saltiness is diminished more than sweetness. Other changes in taste may include a metallic or bitter flavor after eating, especially with certain foods.
Tips for adapting to new tastes after weight loss surgery
Some of the tips for adapting to new tastes after bariatric surgery include:
– Try various brands and flavors of food. Many companies create low-sodium and sugar-free foods that may be appealing for patients.
– Try different cooking methods such as marinating meat or sautéing vegetables in broth, wine, or herbs to add flavor.
– Try to eat healthy food in moderation at regular intervals throughout the day.
– If cravings become too difficult, speak with your doctor about taking an over-the-counter supplement such as calcium or vitamin D.
This may also interest you: Is It Smart to Follow a Vegetarian Diet After Bariatric Surgery?
Are these taste changes permanent?
Taste changes brought on by weight-loss surgery are often temporary. It can take time for your body to adjust to this new way of eating, just as if you made a sudden change in diet or lifestyle. If you used to eat salty foods and want them again, give it at least 6 months before adding salt to your food.
Following bariatric surgery, food no longer provides the same pleasurable sensation that it once did. Patients may struggle with addiction to certain foods after weight-loss surgery. Some of these foods are high in sugar and fat, leading to further problems following surgery. Working closely with your doctor is important if you begin experiencing strong food cravings. This is especially true after gastric bypass surgery when food cravings are more likely to lead to overeating and weight gain.