Meal patterns, satiety, and food choice in a rat model of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery

Huiyuan Zheng, Andrew C. Shin, Natalie R. Lenard, R. Leigh Townsend, Laurel M. Patterson, David L. Sigalet, Hans Rudolf Berthoud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Gastric bypass surgery efficiently and lastingly reduces excess body weight and reverses type 2 diabetes in obese patients. Although increased energy expenditure may also play a role, decreased energy intake is thought to be the main reason for weight loss, but the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize the changes in ingestive behavior in a rat model of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB). Obese (24% body fat compared with 18% in chow-fed controls), male Sprague-Dawley rats maintained for 15 wk before and 4 mo after RYGB or sham-surgery on a two-choice low-fat/high-fat diet, were subjected to a series of tests assessing energy intake, meal patterning, and food choice. Although sham-operated rats gained an additional 100 g body wt during the postoperative period, RYGB rats lost ∼100 g. Intake of a nutritionally complete and palatable liquid diet (Ensure) was significantly reduced by ∼50% during the first 2 wk after RYGB compared with sham surgery. Decreased intake was the result of greatly reduced meal size with only partial compensation by meal frequency, and a corresponding increase in the satiety ratio. Similar results were obtained with solid food (regular or high-fat chow) 6 wk after surgery. In 12- to 24-h two-choice liquid or solid diet paradigms with nutritionally complete low- and high-fat diets, RYGB rats preferred the low-fat choice (solid) or showed decreased acceptance for the high-fat choice (liquid), whereas sham-operated rats preferred the high-fat choices. A separate group of rats offered chow only before surgery completely avoided the solid high-fat diet in a choice paradigm. The results confirm anecdotal reports of "nibbling" behavior and fat avoidance in RYGB patients and provide a basis for more mechanistic studies in this rat model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1273-R1282
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Food preference
  • High-fat diet
  • Meal patterns
  • Obesity
  • Satiety ratio


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