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Appetite. 2006 Jul;47(1):10-7. Epub 2006 May 2.

Eating for pleasure or just wanting to eat? Reconsidering sensory hedonic responses as a driver of obesity.

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  • 1Unilever Food & Health Research Institute, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


Pleasure from foods can stimulate "non-homoeostatic" eating, and might therefore also potentially contribute toward obesity. However, obesity is not reliably associated with heightened hedonic responses to foods. This apparent discrepancy may reflect the differentiation between "liking" and "wanting". Supporting this, behavioural and neurophysiological data on responsiveness to food-related cues indicate that obesity may be associated with increased motivation for food consumption, without necessarily any greater explicit pleasure derived from the orosensory experience of eating. This distinction may have important implications for further research, and applications in commercial and public health approaches to modifying energy intakes.

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