Does FGF21 mediate the potential decrease in sweet food intake and preference following bariatric surgery?

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The liver-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) has recently been linked to preference for sweet-tasting food. We hypothesized, that surgery-induced changes in FGF21 could mediate the reduction in sweet food intake and preference following bariatric surgery. Forty participants (35 females) with severe obesity (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 ) scheduled for roux-en-y gastric bypass (n = 30) or sleeve gastrectomy (n = 10) were included. Pre-and postprandial responses of intact plasma FGF21 as well as intake of sweet-tasting food assessed at a buffet meal test, the hedonic evaluation of sweet taste assessed using an apple juice with added sucrose and visual analog scales, and sweet taste sensitivity were assessed before and 6 months after bariatric surgery. In a cross-sectional analysis pre-surgery, pre-and postprandial intact FGF21 levels were negatively associated with the hedonic evaluation of a high-sucrose juice sample (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02). However, no changes in pre- (p = 0.24) or postprandial intact FGF21 levels were found 6 months after surgery (p = 0.11), and individual pre-to postoperative changes in pre-and postprandial intact FGF21 levels were not found to be associated with changes in intake of sweet foods, the hedonic evaluation of sweet taste or sweet taste sensitivity (all p ≥ 0.10). In conclusion, we were not able to show an effect of bariatric surgery on circulating FGF21, and individual postoperative changes in FGF21 were not found to mediate an effect of surgery on sweet food intake and preference.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3840
Issue number11
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Fibroblast growth factor 21, Food preference, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, Sleeve gastrectomy, Sweet taste sensitivity, Taste preference

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