What is going on with my Taste Buds After Bariatric Surgery?!

taste buds

Often patients talk about enjoying certain foods or supplements before bariatric (weight loss) surgery, but after bariatric surgery they no longer enjoy the taste of the same foods.

Research presented at Obesity Week 2014 in Boston from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California confirmed that there is a change in the taste buds after bariatric surgery.  The research lead by author John Morton, MD, found that patient’s sensitivity to taste decreased after surgery.

Doesn’t a cheeseburger sound so great when you’re hungry? And when you’re feeling quite full doesn’t a cheeseburger sound gross? (okay maybe not gross, but you get the point) :). When someone undergoes bariatric surgery it often affects hormones that cause the patient to lose one’s appetite. Since the patient does not feel as hungry many of the foods they once craved and loved do not taste as good.

Dr. Morton theorizes that people who suffer from obesity have taste buds that are not as sensitive as people with normal range BMIs, before bariatric surgery. He further speculates that this could even be a contributing factor to their obesity.  “Some people derive satisfaction from that full feeling, but you don’t eat as much if you derive satisfaction from the taste, not volume, “ Morton says.

Considering the theory that people with less sensitive taste buds derive satisfaction from the amount of food consumed, as opposed to taste, makes perfect sense for why overconsumption could very well be a by-product of less sensitive taste buds- therefore putting a person at risk for obesity.

Bring Back The Taste!tongue and candy

After bariatric surgery part of the counseling for bariatric patients is to focus on each bite of food and to savor the flavors of the food while eating at a slower pace.  The hormonal changes that occur after bariatric surgery will definitely take some getting used to, but in time your body will adapt.  Be patient and practice techniques to help you derive satisfaction from the way food tastes as opposed to feeling full. You need to give your mind a chance to register that you’re full and you can accomplish this by eating slowly. Slowing down consumption may be even more important if your taste buds are even less sensitive after bariatric surgery.

We all expect immediate gratification this day-in-age.  We are lucky that so many things we want in life can happen at the click of a button, but the fact is our mind and bodies don’t always work this way. They need time. Start the clock now and practice eating slowly to help re-sensitise your taste buds. It’s definitely worth a try!

Thanks for Reading!
Your Bari Life Team

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6 Responses to “What is going on with my Taste Buds After Bariatric Surgery?!”

  1. I find that my mouth waters at the thought of vegetables, and that makes me laugh because I NEVER ate veggies before surgery. I crave brussel sprouts now! crazy…

  2. My taste has definitely changed since my Gastric Sleeve, but certainly not for the better. Everything I eat tastes different now and the best way I can describe it is bitter or sharp. It all leaves a horrible aftertaste. Before my surgery, I had a very sensitive sense of taste and smell. Food still smells good, but doesn’t taste like it smells. Even fresh fruit tastes sharp to me now. It’s very disappointing and frustrating.

    • I also have had this experience. I had gastric bypass August 2009 and went from 305 to 255. Sept. 2015 I had the roux-n-y and had dropped to a sustained weight of 180. In July my taste buds just switched, as if overnight. Everything taste salty, almost alkaline. I’m still experimenting but I’m having a hard time finding anything but fresh fruit and veggies.

  3. I agree with Hope. Things that tasted good/palatable pre-op now taste horrible post-op which is interfering with my drinking my needs as I can’t find anything to drink that agrees with my palate.

  4. My sense of taste has completely changed after bariatric surgery as well. And the longer it goes since the date of surgery, the worse it gets! I can’t really taste anything anymore! Nothing tastes anything! I salt and salt and salt my food and I can’t taste a thing! I can even eat superhot food, like in the spicy way.. and I can’t even feel the burning or the taste of anything like I used to if I ever ate spicy food. I pretty much live of of water, diet coke and nutri bars and smoothies. Just to survive basically. I have lost more weight than I should in such a short period, and that is contributed to not feeling any sort of enjoyment at all to food anymore. I have lost 40 kg in 5 months! Basically 4 kg more than my doctor recommended per month. My hair is falling out, I feel dizzy and my skin looks horrible. I hope it gets better for sure so I don’t loose more than I want and become unhealthy again, but in an underweight sense this time.

    • My husband has the exact same issues. The loss of taste and the extreme weight loss in a short period is so frustrating. We have been dealing with this for almost a year. Please, if you get help, or find some relief I beg you to share it and we will do the same


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