The neurohumoral signaling systems of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are considered the most significant of the peripheral inputs controlling both food intake in the short term and energy balance over a longer time course. The importance of the GI tract in the control of energy balance is underscored by the marked beneficial effects of bariatric surgeries for the treatment of obesity. Despite their effectiveness, the mechanisms of bariatric surgery remain to be fully elucidated. Considerable new evidence points to the importance of gut-brain communication, gut barrier function and microbial signaling as three of the most important mechanisms of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss. These mechanisms are reviewed in the present article and the accompanying four papers.