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Appetite. 1997 Dec;29(3):325-52.

Food cravings, endogenous opioid peptides, and food intake: a review.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada.


Extensive research indicates a strong relationship between endogenous opioid peptides (EOPs) and food intake. In the present paper, we propose that food cravings act as an intervening variable in this opioid-ingestion link. Specifically, we argue that altered EOP activity may elicit food cravings which in turn may influence food consumption. Correlational support for this opioidergic theory of food cravings is provided by examining various clinical conditions (e.g. pregnancy, menstruation, bulimia, stress, depression) which are associated with altered EOP levels, intensified food cravings, and increased food intake.

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