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Front Psychol. 2014 Sep 1;5:925. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00925. eCollection 2014.

Mood, food, and obesity.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA, USA ; Department of Pediatrics, HHMI, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA, USA.

Abstract

Food is a potent natural reward and food intake is a complex process. Reward and gratification associated with food consumption leads to dopamine (DA) production, which in turn activates reward and pleasure centers in the brain. An individual will repeatedly eat a particular food to experience this positive feeling of gratification. This type of repetitive behavior of food intake leads to the activation of brain reward pathways that eventually overrides other signals of satiety and hunger. Thus, a gratification habit through a favorable food leads to overeating and morbid obesity. Overeating and obesity stems from many biological factors engaging both central and peripheral systems in a bi-directional manner involving mood and emotions. Emotional eating and altered mood can also lead to altered food choice and intake leading to overeating and obesity. Research findings from human and animal studies support a two-way link between three concepts, mood, food, and obesity. The focus of this article is to provide an overview of complex nature of food intake where various biological factors link mood, food intake, and brain signaling that engages both peripheral and central nervous system signaling pathways in a bi-directional manner in obesity.

KEYWORDS:

anxiety; depression; food; mood; obesity

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