Food for Thought: Reward Mechanisms and Hedonic Overeating in Obesity

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Abstract

Purpose of Review

This review examines the food addiction model and the role of food hedonic pathways in the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity.

Recent Findings

The hedonic pathway interacts with the obesogenic environment to override homeostatic mechanisms to cause increase in body weight. Weight gain sustained over time leads to “upward setting” of defended level of body-fat mass. There are neurobiological and phenotypic similarities and differences between hedonic pathways triggered by food compared with other addictive substances, and the entity of food addiction remains controversial. Treatment for obesity including pharmacotherapy and bariatric surgery impacts on neural pathways governing appetite and hedonic control of food intake. The food addiction model may also have significant impact on public health policy, regulation of certain foods, and weight stigma and bias.

Summary

Recent rapid progress in delineation of food hedonic pathways advances our understanding of obesity and facilitates development of effective treatment measures against the disease.

Keywords

Obesity Hedonic overeating Food reward pathway Energy homeostasis Neural control of appetite 

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Obesity and Metabolism Unit, Department of EndocrinologySingapore General HospitalBukit MerahSingapore
  2. 2.Clinical Obesity ResearchBaker Heart and Diabetes InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Iverson Health Innovation Research InstituteSwinburne UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Primary Care Research UnitMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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