Food addiction and bariatric surgery: a systematic review of the literature

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Emerging research suggests that rates of food addiction are high among individuals seeking bariatric surgery, but little is known about associated features and the prognostic significance of pre-operative food addiction. Thus, this article provides a systematic review and synthesis of the literature on food addiction and bariatric surgery. Articles were identified through PubMed and SCOPUS databases, resulting in a total of 19 studies which assessed food addiction among pre-bariatric and/or post-bariatric surgery patients using the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Most studies were cross-sectional, and only two studies prospectively measured food addiction both pre-operatively and post-operatively. The presence of pre-surgical food addiction was not associated with pre-surgical weight or post-surgical weight outcomes, yet pre-surgical food addiction was related to broad levels of psychopathology. The relationship between food addiction and substance misuse among individuals undergoing bariatric surgery is mixed. In addition, very few studies have attempted to validate the construct of food addiction among bariatric surgery patients. Results should be interpreted with caution due to the methodological limitations and small sample sizes reported in most studies. Future rigorous research with larger and more diverse samples should prospectively examine the clinical utility and validity of the food addiction construct following bariatric surgery.

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