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Appetite. 2006 Jan;46(1):22-5. Epub 2005 Oct 28.

Food reinforcement.

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Department of Pediatrics, University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Farber Hall, Room G56, 3435 Main Street, Building #26, Buffalo, NY 14214-3000, USA.


The reinforcing value of food, measured by how hard someone is willing to work to obtain food, is influenced by food palatability, food deprivation and food variety, and may be a more powerful determinant of food intake than hedonics or liking. The reinforcing value of food is mediated in part by dopaminergic activity. Genotypes that influence dopamine transport and the density of dopamine D2 receptors interact with food reinforcement to influence eating behavior, and D2 receptor genotypes may influence food reinforcement and weight gain after smoking cessation. Inhibition of dopamine transport increases brain dopamine concentrations, which may influence weight gain after smoking cessation and can reduce energy intake in obese adults.

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