Obesity: Outwitting the wisdom of the body?

  • Susan E. Swithers
  • Terry L. Davidson
Invited Commentary


Pavlovian Conditioning Sweet Taste Meal Size Flavor Preference Metabolic Memory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Cannon WR: The Wisdom of the Body. New York: WW Norton; 1932.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kuczmarski RJ, Johnson CL: Overweight and obesity in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1960–1994. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998, 22:39–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL: Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999–2000. JAMA 2002, 288:1723–1727.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mokdad AH, Bowman BA, Ford ES, et al.: The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States. JAMA 2001, 286:1195–1200.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mokdad AH, Ford ES, Bowman BA, et al.: Prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and obesity-related health risk factors, 2001. JAMA 2003, 289:76–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mokdad AH, Serdula MK, Dietz WH, et al.: The spread of the obesity epidemic in the United States, 1991–1998. JAMA 1999, 282:1519–1522.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Flegal KM: Epidemiologic trends in overweight and obesity. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 2003, 32:741–760, vii.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Flegal KM, Ogden CL, Wei R, et al.: Prevalence of overweight in US children: comparison of US growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with other reference values for body mass index. Am J Clin Nutr 2001, 73:1086–1093.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ogden CL, Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Johnson CL: Prevalence and trends in overweight among US children and adolescents, 1999–2000. JAMA 2002, 288:1728–1732.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Polhamus B: Pediatric Nutritional Surveillance 2001 Report. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2001.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Troiano RP, Flegal KM: Overweight children and adolescents: description, epidemiology, and demographics. Pediatrics 1998, 101(3 Pt 2):497–504.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pi-Sunyer FX: Comorbidities of overweight and obesity: current evidence and research issues. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999, 31(Suppl 11):S602-S608.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Havel PJ: Update on adipocyte hormones: regulation of energy balance and carbohydrate/lipid metabolism. Diabetes 2004, 53(Suppl 1):S143-S151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Woods SC, Schwartz MW, Baskin DG, Seeley RJ: Food intake and the regulation of body weight. Annu Rev Psychol 2000, 51:255–277.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mrdjenovic G, Levitsky DA: Nutritional and energetic consequences of sweetened drink consumption in 6- to 13-year-old children. J Pediatr 2003, 142:604–610.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Power C, Parsons T: Nutritional and other influences in childhood as predictors of adult obesity. Proc Nutr Soc 2000, 59:267–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Nicklas TA, Baranowski T, Cullen KW, Berenson G: Eating patterns, dietary quality and obesity. J Am Coll Nutr 2001, 20:599–608.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tordoff MG: Obesity by choice: the powerful influence of nutrient availability on nutrient intake. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2002, 282:R1536-R1539.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Willett WC, Leibel RL: Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat. Am J Med 2002, 113(Suppl 9B):47S-59S.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rolls BJ: The role of energy density in the overconsumption of fat. J Nutr 2000, 130(Suppl 2S):268S-271S.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rescorla RA: Pavlovian conditioning. It’s not what you think it is. Am Psychol 1988, 43:151–160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Escobar M, Miller RR: A review of the empirical laws of basic learning in Pavlovian conditioning. Int J Compar Psychol 2004, 17:279–303.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Gunther LM, Miller RR, Matute H: CSs and USs: what’s the difference? J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process 1997, 23:15–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pavlov IP: Conditioned Reflexes. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1927.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Booth D: Conditioned satiety in the rat. J Compar Physiol Psychol 1972, 81:457–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Davis J, Campbell C: Peripheral control of meal size in the rat. Efect of sham feeding on meal size and drinking rate. J Compar Physiol Psychol 1973, 83:379–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Davis J, Smith G: Learning to sham feed: behavioral adjustments to loss of physiological postingestional stimuli. Am J Physiol 1990, 259(6 pt 2):R1228-R1235.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Davis J, Smith G, Miessner J: Postpyloric stimuli are necessary for the normal control of meal size in real feeding and sham rats. Am J Physiol 1993, 265(4 pt 2):R888-R895.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Drucker DB, Ackroff K, Sclafani A: Flavor preference produced by intragastric polycose infusions in rats using a concurrent conditioning procedure. Physiol Behav 1993, 54:351–355.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Elizalde G, Sclafani A: Flavor preferences conditioned by intragastric polycose infusions: a detailed analysis using an electronic esophagus preparation. Physiol Behav 1990, 47:63–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lucas F, Sclafani A: Flavor preferences conditioned by intragastric fat infusions in rats. Physiol Behav 1989, 46:403–412.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lucas F, Sclafani A: Differential reinforcing and satiating effects of intragastric fat and carbohydrate infusions in rats. Physiol Behav 1999, 66:381–388.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sclafani A, Nissenbaum JW: Robust conditioned flavor preference produced by intragastric starch infusions in rats. Am J Physiol 1988, 255(4 Pt 2):R672-R675.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Weingarten H, Kulikovsky O: Taste-to-postingestive consequence conditioning: is the rise in sham feeding with repeated experience a learning phenomenon. Physiol Behav 1989, 45:471–476.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Davidson TL, Altizer AM, Benoit SC, et al.: Encoding and selective activation of “metabolic memories” in the rat. Behav Neurosci 1997, 111:1014–1030.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Davidson TL: The nature and function of interoceptive signals to feed: toward integration of physiological and learning perspectives. Psychol Rev 1993, 100:640–657.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Davidson TL: Modulation of “metabolic memories” in the rat. In Nutrition, Genetics & Obesity. Edited by Bray GA, York D. Baton Rouge, LA: Pennington Press; 1999:493–509.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Davidson TL: Pavlovian occasion setting: a link between physiological change and appetitive behavior. Appetite 2000, 35:271–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Giduck SA, Threatte RM, Kare MR: Cephalic reflexes: their role in digestion and possible roles in absorption and metabolism. J Nutr 1987, 117:1191–1196.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Mattes RD: Nutritional implications of the cephalic-phase salivary response. Appetite 2000, 34:177–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mattes RD: Physiologic responses to sensory stimulation by food: nutritional implications. J Am Diet Assoc 1997, 97:406–413.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Woods SC, Ramsay DS: Pavlovian influences over food and drug intake. Behav Brain Res 2000, 110:175–182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Hashkes PJ, Gartside PS, Blondheim SH: Effect of food palatability on early (cephalic) phase of diet-induced thermogenesis in nonobese and obese man. Int J Obes 1997, 21:608–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Cooling J, Blundell JE: Lean male high- and low-fat phenotypes —different routes for achieving energy balance. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2000, 24:1561–1566.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Davidson TL, Swithers SE: A Pavlovian approach to the problem of obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2004, 28:933–935.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Davidson TL, Swithers SE: Food viscosity influences caloric intake compensation and body weight in rats. Obes Res 2005, In press.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Doerflinger AM, Swithers SE: Inconsistent sweet-calorie pairings impair caloric compensation following sweet meals. Appetite 2004, 42:357.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan E. Swithers
    • 1
  • Terry L. Davidson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations