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Appetite. 2000 Aug;35(1):45-55.

Cephalic phase responses, craving and food intake in normal subjects.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.


Cephalic phase responses (CPRs) are elicited during exposure to food cues. They gear up the body to optimize digestion or they compensate for unwanted changes during a meal. The cue reactivity model of binge eating predicts that CPRs are experienced as craving for food, thereby increasing food intake and playing a role in abnormal eating behaviour. The present experiment was designed to measure CPRs in normal women and to examine its relationship with craving, food intake and restraint. Results show that normal subjects do react to food exposure with changes in heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), salivation, blood pressure, skin conductance and gastric activity. These CPRs presumably gear up the body and presumably do not reflect compensatory responses. Significant correlations between restraint and blood pressure, between blood pressure and craving, and between craving and food intake were also found. These results are in line with the cue reactivity model and suggest that research into physiological CPRs and craving in the field of eating disorders is valuable.

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