Problematic intake of high-sugar/low-fat and high glycemic index foods by bariatric patients is associated with development of post-surgical new onset substance use disorders

Lauren Fowler, Valentina Ivezaj, Karen K. Saules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bariatric or weight loss surgery (WLS) patients are overrepresented in substance abuse treatment, constituting about 3% of admissions; about 2/3 of such patients deny problematic substance use prior to WLS. It is important to advance our understanding of the emergence of substance use disorders (SUDs) - particularly the New Onset variant - after WLS. Burgeoning research with both animal models and humans suggests that "food addiction" may play a role in certain forms of obesity, with particular risk conferred by foods high in sugar but low in fat. Therefore, we hypothesized that WLS patients who reported pre-WLS problems with High-Sugar/Low-Fat foods and those high on the glycemic index (GI) would be those most likely to evidence New Onset SUDs after surgery. Secondary data analyses were conducted using a de-identified database from 154 bariatric surgery patients (88% female, Mage= 48.7. yrs, SD= 10.8, Mtime since surgery= 2.7 yrs, SD= 2.2 yrs). Participants who endorsed pre-surgical problems with High-Sugar/Low-Fat foods and High GI foods were at greater risk for New Onset SUD in the post-surgical period. These findings remained significant after controlling for other predictors of post-surgical SUD. Our findings provide evidence for the possibility of addiction transfer among certain bariatric patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-508
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Addiction transfer
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Food addiction
  • Obesity
  • Substance abuse
  • Weight loss surgery

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