When food porn holds no allure: The science behind satiety

January 28, 2013

New research from the University of British Columbia is shedding light on why enticing pictures of food affect us less when we're full.

"We've known that insulin plays a role in telling us we're satiated after eating, but the mechanism by which this happens is unclear," says Stephanie Borgland, an assistant professor in UBC's Dept. of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the study's senior author.

In the new study published online this week in , Borgland and colleagues found that insulin – prompted by a sweetened, high-fat meal – affects the (VTA) of the brain, which is responsible for reward-seeking behaviour. When insulin was applied to the VTA in mice, they no longer gravitated towards environments where food had been offered.

"Insulin dulls the synapses in this region of the brain and decreases our interest in seeking out food," says Borgland, "which in turn causes us to pay less attention to food-related cues."

"There has been a lot of discussion around the environmental factors of the ," Borgland adds, pointing to fast bans in Quebec, Norway, the U.K., Greece and Sweden. "This study helps explain why pictures or other cues of food affect us less when we're satiated – and may help inform strategies to reduce environmental triggers of overeating."

The VTA has also been shown to be associated with addictive behaviours, including . Borgland says better understanding of the mechanism in this region of the brain could, in the long run, inform diagnosis and treatment.

Explore further: Study links insulin action on brain's reward circuitry to obesity

More information: www.dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.3321

Related Stories

Morphine and cocaine affect reward sensation differently

October 5, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—A new study by scientists in the US has found that the opiate morphine and the stimulant cocaine act on the reward centers in the brain in different ways, contradicting previous theories that these types ...

Recommended for you

MRI technique induces strong, enduring visual association

June 30, 2016

Researchers have made two new scientific points with a set of experiments in which they induced people to perceive colors that weren't really there—one concerning how the brain works and the other concerning how to work ...

Erasing unpleasant memories with a genetic switch

June 30, 2016

Researchers from KU Leuven (Belgium) and the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (Germany) have managed to erase unpleasant memories in mice using a 'genetic switch'. Their findings were published in Biological Psychiatry.

Motivation to bully is regulated by brain reward circuits

June 29, 2016

Individual differences in the motivation to engage in or to avoid aggressive social interaction (bullying) are mediated by the basal forebrain, lateral habenula circuit in the brain, according to a study conducted at the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.