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Physiol Behav. 2011 Jul 6;103(5):530-4. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.04.009. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

A sex difference in the response to fasting.

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Karolinska Institutet, Section of Applied Neuroendocrinology, NVS, and Mandometer and Mandolean Clinics, AB Mando, S-141 04 Huddinge, Sweden.


We determined whether women and men would alter their pattern of food intake after they had deprived themselves of food. We found that women consumed 12% less food after fasting and that men ate 28% more food after fasting. Serving more food on the test day did not increase food intake of women. Women, who ate at a nearly constant rate (linear eaters), consumed less food than those eating at an initially high speed which decreased over the course of the meal (decelerated eaters). Women decreased their food intake after fasting as their eating pattern became more linear. After fasting, men increased their food intake, and the rate at which they ate became more decelerated. Food intake of both women and men was normalized after fasting by providing feedback that encouraged them to eat according to the pattern they showed in the non-fasted condition. The results support the hypothesis that linear eating, and the dieting that elicits linear eating, are risk factors for the development of the abnormal linear eating pattern that characterizes patients with anorexia nervosa. The data also provide additional support for the use of behavioral feedback to normalize the pattern of eating for individuals who have difficulty maintaining their body weight.

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