What do Gastric Bypass and the Mediterranean Diet have in Common??

Gastric bypass (bariatric surgery) represents, for the most part, an elective form of surgery that might be considered by some as a last ditch effort to stop obese individuals from eating themselves to death. Indeed the health profession considered gastric bypass surgery to be the single most effective long-term treatment ("therapy") for morbid obesity. One of the most common bariatric surgical procedures is called the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, RYGB.

The most obvious reason for weight loss following bariatric surgery is the reduced size of the stomach pouch preventing excess food intake. However, this does not explain all of the benefits of this type of surgery and numerous laboratory and clinical studies have been carried out to define all of these benefits.

A recent paper published in the prestigious journal, Cell Metabolism, demonstrates that changes in fatty acid-mediated cellular signaling, in response to RYGB in rats, alters their feeding behavior:

Gastric Bypass Surgery Recruits a Gut PPAR-α-Striatal D1R Pathway to Reduce Fat Appetite in Obese Rats

This study found that, as a result of the RYGB procedure, there was increased, and more rapid synthesis of the diet-derived, lipid signaling molecule called oleoylethanolamide, OEA. OEA is produced from the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) oleic acid and it exerts numerous effects within the body. For more details go to my website:


I also have a blog post about OEA and dopamine from 2013 that you can read:

From the intestines OEA induces nerve signals back to the brain that initiate sensations of satiety, that feeling of being full and not hungry. Specifically this study showed that there was increased dopamine release in the brain in response the neural signals initiated by OEA. Among many of its properties, dopamine signaling is required for appropriate regulation of feeding behavior. Any dysregulation in brain dopamine signaling has been widely considered to lead to compensatory overeating in obesity. Therefore, the increased release of OEA, following food intake in RYGB patients, likely explains a part of the reduced desire for further food consumption.

So how does this relate to the Mediterranean diet?? One of the major health benefits of this diet is the consumption of olive oil. Olive oil is enriched in oleic acid where up to 85% of the fatty acid in the triglycerides in this oil is oleic acid. Other vegetable and nut oils also contain high levels of oleic acid in their triglycerides with canola oil (60%–65%) having the second highest amount compared to olive oil. Pecan oil has 60%–75% oleic in triglyceride.

Another excellent source of oleic acid (43%) is argan oil (from the argan tree which is abundant in Morocco). In addition to the presence of oleic acid, argan oil has added benefits in that it is high in numerous antioxidant plant phenolic compounds as well as vitamin A (carotenes) and vitamin E (tocopherols). Peanut oil (35%–70%), sunflower oil (20%–80%), and grape seed oil (15%–20%) are also excellent plant sources of oleic acid. Food grade argan oil is harder to find given that the most common use of this oil is in the cosmetics/haircare products industry. However, despite this and the extra cost of food grade argan oil compared to olive oil it is well worth it for your health.


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