• Does Losing Weight Make You a "Lightweight" Drinker? ­­­– Chromatography Explores


Does Losing Weight Make You a "Lightweight" Drinker? ­­­– Chromatography Explores

Jan 06 2018

A recent study published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases has highlighted an unusual consequence of surgery performed to help people lose weight. They could become drunk much quicker than normal. Whilst this might seem like nirvana to a 19-year-old on a Friday night binge — in reality, it could have serious consequences including an increased risk of an alcohol related disease.

Operation weight loss

The procedure the study considered is called a sleeve gastrectomy. This is a surgical weight-loss procedure that is used to help obese people to lose weight. The surgery involves removing a large volume of the stomach — reducing the stomach to only 15% of its original size. This leaves a tube-like stomach — or sleeve.

The procedure is irreversible — unlike gastric band surgery, where the band can be removed if necessary. With a much smaller stomach, the patient cannot eat as much food and feels fuller more quickly than before. Although the surgery is usually performed using keyhole surgery techniques, the patient is under general anaesthetic and thus risks are involved.

Get drunk quicker — not always a good thing

It has been previously reported that women who had undergone gastric bypass surgery were affected more quickly by alcoholic drinks. Gastric bypass is a technique where staples are used to make a small pouch at the top of your stomach which is then connected to your small intestine bypassing most of the stomach. So, it takes less food to make you feel full — hopefully leading to a reduced calorie intake and weight loss.

The study wanted to compare the effect of alcoholic drinks on patients who had undergone sleeve gastrectomy surgery compared with a control group and a group who had undergone gastric bypass surgery. It was thought that blood alcohol levels increase faster after surgery.

Chromatography beats a breathalyzer

The team used gas chromatography to measure the blood alcohol levels of the subjects, comparing the levels to readings taken from breathalyzer machines and the ladies estimation of their drunkenness. The use of GC to measure analytes is discussed in the article, A New Method for Fast Residual Solvents Analysis and Untargeted Unknown Identification Faster Sample Throughput and Shorter GC Runtimes Using GC-VUV and Static Headspace.

The team found that blood alcohol levels were almost double in the group that had had sleeve surgery when compared to the women who hadn’t had any surgery, and that the women reported that the women who underwent surgery reported more intense feelings of drunkenness. In a press release from the University of Illinois, one of paper’s authors states ‘After having a sleeve gastrectomy, if a woman has a couple of drinks, she could be exposing her brain to blood alcohol levels that are achieved in a woman without surgery when she consumes four or five drinks.’ The breathalyzer method also underestimated the blood alcohol readings when compared to the gold standard chromatography method.

Digital Edition

Chromatography Today - Buyers' Guide 2022

December 2021

In This Edition Modern & Practocal Applications - Accelerating ADC Development with Mass Spectrometry - Implementing High-Resolution Ion Mobility into Peptide Mapping Workflows Chromatogr...

View all digital editions


Plastics Recycling World Expo Europe

Jun 14 2023 Essen, Germany

HPLC 2023

Jun 18 2023 Dusseldorf, Germany


Jul 04 2023 Cardiff, UK

Water Expo Nigeria 2023

Jul 11 2023 Lagos, Nigeria

ACS National Meeting & Expo, Fall 2023

Aug 13 2023 San Francisco, CA, USA

View all events