Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Sep;10(9):540-52. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2014.91. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Hormonal and neural mechanisms of food reward, eating behaviour and obesity.

Author information

New York Obesity Research Center, Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, P&S Box 30 DOM/NYORC, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032-3702, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Florida, McKnight Brain Institute, 1149 SW Newell Drive, L4-100, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


With rising rates of obesity, research continues to explore the contributions of homeostatic and hedonic mechanisms related to eating behaviour. In this Review, we synthesize the existing information on select biological mechanisms associated with reward-related food intake, dealing primarily with consumption of highly palatable foods. In addition to their established functions in normal feeding, three primary peripheral hormones (leptin, ghrelin and insulin) play important parts in food reward. Studies in laboratory animals and humans also show relationships between hyperphagia or obesity and neural pathways involved in reward. These findings have prompted questions regarding the possibility of addictive-like aspects in food consumption. Further exploration of this topic may help to explain aberrant eating patterns, such as binge eating, and provide insight into the current rates of overweight and obesity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center