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Physiol Behav. 1989 Jan;45(1):163-8.

Dietary hyperphagia and obesity: what causes them?

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Diets that cause animals to overeat and become obese have been used in many investigations of obesity. Most of this research, however, has concentrated on the consequences rather than the causes of overeating. Furthermore, in most studies, several nutritional variables were manipulated simultaneously, making cause and effect relationship impossible to disentangle. Consequently, progress has been slow. Diets could alter energy intake by virtue of their effects on oral-sensory, gastrointestinal or postabsorptive effects. Palatability is the most popular oralsensory hypothesis but the empirical basis for this hypothesis is particularly weak. A substantial body of evidence is consistent with the possibility that the osmotic effects of diets in the gastrointestinal tract and metabolic postabsorptive factors may play a major role in dietary hyperphagia and obesity. Suggestions for future research directions are offered.

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