There has long been a debate over whether binge eating presents a gastric bypass risk and increases the possibility of a poor outcome following surgery. A recent report published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry may however shed new light on this argument.
The study carried out at the Yale University School of Medicine involved nearly 140 extremely obese patients and looked at their eating habits prior to surgery and then followed them up during the twelve months after gastric bypass surgery.
Of the study group, some 40 patients reported binge eating in the month before their operation and approximately ten percent of the study group were classified as meeting the criteria to be diagnosed as having binge eating disorder. It was also noted that those people classed as binge eaters were considerably more nervous about their impending surgery than the non-binge eaters.
Following surgery the study noted that there was no difference of note between the two groups and that both binge eaters and non-binge eaters showed virtually identical weight loss profiles in the twelve months after their gastric bypass.
Prior to surgery the average body mass index was 51.7, placing the group well over the body mass index figure of 40 which defines extreme, or morbid, obesity. One year after surgery this figure had fallen to just 33.3, bringing many of those in the study group close to a normal body mass index.
Also of importance, this study reported that, although some of the binge eaters did experience slightly elevated, but relatively easily managed, eating related disturbances after surgery, their pre-surgical anxiety had reduced considerably and there was little if any difference at all between binge eaters and non-binge eaters in terms of depression following surgery.
While the results of the study are of course encouraging, it should be remembered that the study has only followed this group of patients for a period of twelve months so far. It will be necessary to see this, and other studies, running over a period of several years following gastric bypass before we can be sure that these initial results will hold true in the longer term.
Steering clear of sugary foods after surgery can be difficult for many patients as sugar forms such a major part of many diets and it is the sugary foods that are invariably our favorites. Natural sugars are however generally safe and so diets containing such things as fruit and skimmed milk are fine.