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Appetite. 2017 Feb 1;109:131-136. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.026. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

Assessment of the motivation to use artificial sweetener among individuals with an eating disorder.

Author information

1
Eating Disorders Research Unit, New York State Psychiatric Institute, USA; New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032, USA; Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA. Electronic address: js2202@cumc.columbia.edu.
2
New York University, Langone Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, USA.
3
Eating Disorders Research Unit, New York State Psychiatric Institute, USA; New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032, USA; Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.
4
Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute, USA; New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032, USA; Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

Eating disorders are associated with a range of abnormalities in eating behavior. Some individuals consume large amounts of non-caloric artificial sweeteners, suggesting abnormalities in appetitive responding. The current study aimed to quantify hedonic and motivating effects of artificial sweetener in individuals with and without an eating disorder. Two laboratory studies were conducted. Hedonic preference was estimated using the number of artificial sweetener packets (0-10) added to unsweetened cherry flavored Kool-Aid (study 1). Motivation to obtain sweetener was assessed by a progressive ratio (PR) work task (study 2). Ninety-three participants (25 anorexia nervosa restricting type (AN-R), 23 AN binge/purge type (AN-B/P), 20 bulimia nervosa (BN), and 25 normal controls (NC)) completed the study. No significant difference in hedonic preference was found among participant groups. Work completed at the PR task ranged from 0 to 9500 key-board presses. The AN-B/P group had a significantly higher breakpoint and performed significantly more work for sweetener compared to the BN and NC groups. Among AN-B/P and AN-R participants, the preferred number of Equal packets was significantly correlated with the breakpoint and total work. The increased amount of work for sweetener among individuals with AN-B/P supports an enhanced reward value of sweet taste in this population, and suggests that the characteristic food avoidance in AN cannot be accounted for by decreased reward value of all taste-related stimuli. This study also supports the novel application of a PR ratio task to quantify the motivating effect of sweet taste among individuals with an eating disorder.

KEYWORDS:

Anorexia nervosa; Artificial sweetener; Bulimia nervosa; Eating disorders; Hedonics; Ingestive behavior; Motivation; Progressive ratio task; Reward

PMID:
27884761
PMCID:
PMC5201128
DOI:
10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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