Effects of RYGB on energy expenditure, appetite and glycaemic control: a randomized controlled clinical trial

Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Feb;40(2):281-90. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.162. Epub 2013 Aug 25.


Objectives: Increased energy expenditure (EE) has been proposed as an important mechanism for weight loss following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). However, this has never been investigated in a controlled setting independent of changes in energy balance. Similarly, only few studies have investigated the effect of RYGB on glycaemic control per se. Here, we investigated the effect of RYGB on EE, appetite, glycaemic control and specific signalling molecules compared with a control group in comparable negative energy balance.

Subjects/methods: Obese normal glucose-tolerant participants were randomized to receive RYGB after 8 (n=14) or 12 weeks (n=14). The protocol included a visit at week 0 and three visits (weeks 7, 11 and 78) where 24-h EE, appetite and blood parameters were assessed. Participants followed a low-calorie diet from weeks 0-11, with those operated at week 12 serving as a control group for those operated at week 8.

Results: Compared with controls, RYGB-operated participants had lower body composition-adjusted 24-h EE and basal EE 3 weeks postoperatively (both P<0.05) but EE parameters at week 78 were not different from preoperative values (week 7). Surgery changed the postprandial response of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), peptide YY3-36 (PYY), ghrelin, cholecystokinin, fibroblast growth factor-19 and bile acids (all P<0.05). Particularly, increases in GLP-1, PYY and decreases in ghrelin were associated with decreased appetite. None of HOMA-IR (homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance), Matsuda index, the insulinogenic index, the disposition index and fasting hepatic insulin clearance were different between the groups, but RYGB operated had lower fasting glucose (P<0.05) and the postprandial glucose profile was shifted to the left (P<0.01).

Conclusions: Our data do not support that EE is increased after RYGB. More likely, RYGB promotes weight loss by reducing appetite, partly mediated by changes in gastrointestinal hormone secretion. Furthermore, we found that the early changes in glycaemic control after RYGB is to a large extent mediated by caloric restriction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Ghrelin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Ghrelin