Calorie restriction is a major determinant of the short-term metabolic effects of gastric bypass surgery in obese type 2 diabetic patients

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Jun;80(6):834-42. doi: 10.1111/cen.12254. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Objective: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and restrictive weight loss interventions, such as gastric banding (GB) and very-low-calorie diets (VLCD) directly impact glucose metabolism, possibly by calorie restriction and/or altered secretion of gut hormones. We aimed to establish the direct endocrine and metabolic effects of RYGB compared to restrictive interventions in obese glucose-tolerant (NGT) subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Design: Controlled, nonrandomized observational trial.

Patients and measurements: Four groups of obese females received a mixed meal at baseline and 3 weeks after intervention; NGT-GB (n = 11), NGT-RYGB (n = 16), T2DM-RYGB (n = 15) and T2DM-VLCD (n = 12). Normal weight controls (n = 12) were studied once.

Results: At baseline, all obese subjects were hyperinsulinemic. T2DM was associated with hyperglycaemia and decreased GLP-1 levels. RYGB and VLCD reduced glucose levels to a similar extent in T2DM, insulin levels decreased only after VLCD. Comparison of restrictive intervention vs RYGB showed a more pronounced decrease in glucose and insulin AUC after restriction. In NGT and T2DM subjects, RYGB increased GLP-1 and PYY levels and decreased ghrelin levels, whereas VLCD and GB only increased GIP levels.

Conclusions: These data indicate that deterioration of glucose metabolism in T2DM is associated with a decline of GLP-1 levels. Calorie restriction facilitates glucose metabolism and blunts hyperinsulinemia in obese (diabetic) humans. Additional duodenal exclusion through RYGB induces gut hormone release and hyperinsulinemia but does not improve postprandial glucose levels any further. Our data thus strongly suggest that calorie restriction underlies the short-term metabolic benefits of RYGB in obese T2DM patients.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Diabetes Complications / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / methods*
  • Ghrelin / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Weight Loss


  • Blood Glucose
  • Ghrelin
  • Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Glucose