Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Aug;90(2):304-13. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27283. Epub 2009 May 20.

Differential effects of daily snack food intake on the reinforcing value of food in obese and nonobese women.

Author information

Departments of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY14214, USA.



Food reinforcement, ie, motivation to obtain food, is associated with energy intake and obesity. Finding ways to decrease the reinforcing value of unhealthy foods may help with adherence to diets and maintenance of weight loss. Our previous study in nonobese adults showed that daily consumption of the same snack food (food consumed apart from meals) for 14 d significantly decreased its reinforcing value.


The aims of this study were to replicate and extend these findings to obese individuals and to examine the effects of different portion sizes of snack foods on food reinforcement.


Food reinforcement and liking were tested in 31 obese and 27 nonobese women at baseline and after 2 wk of daily consumption of 0, 100, or 300 kcal/d of the same snack food.


We found a significant interaction of phase, portion size, and body mass index on the pattern of operant responding for food. Obese women had a significant increase in food reinforcement after consuming the 300-kcal portion of food for 2 wk, whereas nonobese women had the opposite response. No significant differences were found on the reinforcing value with the 0- and 100-kcal portion-size conditions. Women in the 300-kcal group (obese and nonobese) reported a significant decrease in snack food liking from baseline to after daily intake.


These findings suggest that obese and nonobese women respond differently to the daily intake of a snack food and that this may not be a viable mechanism for reducing food reinforcement in obese women. This trial was registered at as NCT00837694.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center