People who have undergone a bariatric operation involving a gastric bypass will only see the benefits of the procedure for a short amount of time, a new study suggests.

An investigation from Lund University in Sweden has found that of people who underwent the surgery regained weight within a year.

According to the research, their concentrations of metabolites and polyunsaturated fats had returned to nearly the same levels as before the operation 12 months afterwards.

Prior studies have revealed that most people who have gastric bypass surgery put weight back on within five years of the operation.

Lead author Professor Peter Spégel said: “Just following up on the weight of people can be a blunt instrument for studying the effects of the procedure.

“Our study provides a greater understanding of what happens to the metabolism in connection with a gastric bypass operation.”

During the investigation, the team of scientists looked at the metabolism of 148 overweight people, both before and after undergoing a gastric bypass procedure. They assessed the participants’ fats and metabolites by reviewing samples of their blood.

The findings show that one-year post-surgery, some of the participants were back at the same levels they were at before the operation.

Fellow author Professor Nils Wierup said: “We could see the changes while the participants still had a low BMI after the operation.

“By studying metabolism, we can obtain a clear indication that unhealthy changes are on the way.”

Professor Wierup added: “We hope that the knowledge can be used in follow-up so that preventive measures can be put in place.”

The participants’ levels of some polyunsaturated fats rocketed following the gastric bypass operation but fell back to the same level within a year, according to the research.

Polyunsaturated fats are crucial for the body and can combat the development of cardiovascular disease.

The scientists also identified a drop in the concentration of specific types of amino acids after the operation, but they increased again a year afterwards.

People with higher level of amino acids are more at risk of being insulin resistant and therefore more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, the study has reported.

Professor Spégel said: “One conclusion we draw is that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is considerably reduced after the operation among individuals who do not have the disease, but one year later we see an increased risk again.

“Among individuals who already had type 2 diabetes at the time of the surgery, we see a remission of the disease, but the risk of the disease returning then increases over time.”

Professor Wierup noted: “We need more and larger studies in order to draw reliable conclusions.

“One advantage of bariatric operations is that a majority of people with type 2 diabetes see a remission of their disease afterwards. And even though a large percentage of individuals who undergo this procedure gain weight afterwards, it’s usually not a return to the same weight as before.”

Professor Wierup concluded: “In the future, we want to take a closer look at what happens to metabolism on an individual level, as this can vary.”

Read the full study in the journal Obesity.

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