When food porn holds no allure: The science behind satiety

January 28, 2013, University of British Columbia

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

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

June 7, 2011
Researchers reporting in the June issue of Cell Metabolism have what they say is some of the first solid proof that insulin has direct effects on the reward circuitry of the brain. Mice whose reward centers can no longer ...

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 ...

Blame game doesn't help obese patients, researchers find

June 28, 2011
Doctors should be more understanding when it comes to obese patients and their lack of success, according to a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center obesity researchers.

Researchers find blame game doesn't help obese patients

March 16, 2012
Doctors should be more understanding when it comes to obese patients and their lack of success, according to a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center obesity researchers.

Recommended for you

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning

January 16, 2018
Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby's brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom's face, or the sound of her voice.

Researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction

January 16, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system—granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)—that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently

January 16, 2018
Keith Jarret, world-famous jazz pianist, once answered in an interview when asked if he would ever be interested in doing a concert where he would play both jazz and classical music: "No, that's hilarious. [...] It's like ...

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

Brain imaging predicts language learning in deaf children

January 15, 2018
In a new international collaborative study between The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, researchers created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain scans to predict ...

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.