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Individual variability in preference for energy-dense foods fails to predict child BMI percentile

Christina Potter, Rebecca L. Griggs, Danielle Ferriday, Peter J. Rogers, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

Physiology & Behaviour 176 (2017) 3-8

Many studies show that higher dietary energy density is associated with greater body weight. Here we explored two propositions: i) that child BMI percentile is associated with individual differences in children's relative preference for energy-dense foods, ii) that child BMI percentile is associated with the same individual differences between their parents. Child-parent dyads were recruited from a local interactive science center in Bristol (UK). Using computerized tasks, participants ranked their preference and rated their liking for a range of snack foods that varied in energy density. Children (aged 3–14 years, N=110) and parents completed the tasks for themselves. Parents also completed two further tasks in which they ranked the foods in the order that they would prioritize for their child, and again, in the order that they thought their child would choose. Children preferred (t(109) =3.91, p < 0.001) and better liked the taste of (t(109) =3.28, p=0.001) higher energy-dense foods, and parents correctly estimated this outcome (t(109) = 7.18, p < 0.001). Conversely, lower energy-dense foods were preferred (t(109) =−4.63, p < 0.001), better liked (t(109) =−2.75, p=0.007) and served (t(109) = −15.06, p < 0.001) by parents. However, we found no evidence that child BMI percentile was associated with child or parent preference for, or liking of, energy-dense foods. Therefore, we suggest that the observed
relationship between dietary energy density and body weight is not explained by individual differences in preference for energy density.

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Food portion size area mediates energy effects on expected anxiety in anorexia nervosa

Musya Herzog , Christopher R. Douglas , Harry R. Kissileff *, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom , Katherine Ann Halmi

Appetite 112 (2017) 17-22

A study in which adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa (n ¼ 24) rated their expected food-anxiety in response to images of portions of food (potatoes, rice pizza, and M&Ms) showed that lower energy-dense foods elicited higher expected anxiety per kilocalorie than higher energy-dense foods. However, the area of the portion sizes could be an unmeasured variable driving the anxiety response. To test the hypothesis that area mediates the effects of energy content on expected anxiety, the same images of portions were measured in area (cm2), and standardized values of expected anxiety were regressed from standardized values of energy and area of portions. With regression of expected anxiety from portion size in area, M&Ms, which had the highest energy density of the four foods, elicited the highest expected anxiety slope (b ¼ 1.75), which was significantly different from the expected anxiety slopes of the other three foods (b range ¼ 0.67 e 0.96). Area was confirmed as a mediator of energy effects from loss of significance of the slopes when area was added to the regression of expected anxiety from energy x food. When expected anxiety was regressed from food, area, energy and area by energy interaction, area accounted for 5.7 times more variance than energy, and b for area (0.7) was significantly larger (by 0.52, SE ¼ 0.15, t ¼ 3.4, p ¼ 0.0007) than b for energy (0.19). Area could be a learned cue for the energy content of food portions, and thus, for weight gain potential, which triggers anxiety in patients with anorexia nervosa

 

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Variation in the Oral Processing of Everyday Meals Is Associated with Fullness and Meal Size; A Potential Nudge to Reduce Energy Intake?

Danielle Ferriday , Matthew L. Bosworth, Nicolas Godinot, Nathalie Martin, Ciarán G. Forde, Emmy Van Den Heuvel, Sarah L. Appleton, Felix J. Mercer Moss, Peter J. Rogers and Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

Nutrients 2016 8 315

Laboratory studies have demonstrated that experimental manipulations of oral processing can have a marked effect on energy intake. Here, we explored whether variations in oral processing across a range of unmodified everyday meals could affect post-meal fullness and meal size. In Study 1, female participants (N = 12) attended the laboratory over 20 lunchtime sessions to consume a 400-kcal portion of a different commercially available pre-packaged meal. Prior to consumption, expected satiation was assessed. During eachmeal, oral processingwas characterised using: (i) video-recordings of the mouth and (ii) real-time measures of plate weight. Hunger and fullness ratings were elicited
pre- and post-consumption, and for a further three hours. Foods that were eaten slowly had higher expected satiation and delivered more satiation and satiety. Building on these findings, in Study 2 we selected two meals (identical energy density) from Study 1 that were equally liked but maximised differences in oral processing. On separate days, male and female participants (N = 24) consumed a 400-kcal portion of either the “fast” or “slow” meal followed by an ad libitum meal (either the same food or a dessert). When continuing with the same food, participants consumed less of the slow meal. Further, differences in food intake during the ad libitum meal were not compensated at a subsequent snacking opportunity an hour later. Together, these findings suggest that variations in oral processing across a range of unmodified everyday meals can affect fullness after consuming a fixed portion and can also impact meal size. Modifying food form to encourage increased oral processing (albeit to a lesser extent than in experimental manipulations) might represent a viable target for food manufacturers to help to nudge consumers to manage their weight.

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Higher Heart-Rate Variability Is Associated with Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activity and Increased Resistance to Temptation in Dietary Self-Control Challenges

Silvia U. Maier and Todd A. Hare


Journal of Neuroscience Jan 11 2017 37(2) 446-455

Higher levels of self-control in decision making have been linked to better psychosocial and physical health. A similar link to health outcomes has been reported for heart-rate variability (HRV), a marker of physiological flexibility. Here, we sought to link these two, largely separate, research domains by testing the hypothesis that greater HRV would be associated with better dietary self-control in humans. Specifically, we examined whether total HRV at sedentary rest (measured as the SD of normal-to-normal intervals) can serve as a biomarker for the neurophysiological adaptability that putatively underlies self-controlled behavior. We found that HRV explained a significant portion of the individual variability in dietary self-control, with individuals having higher HRV being better able to downregulate their cravings in the face of taste temptations. Furthermore, HRV was associated with activity patterns in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a key node in the brain’s valuation and decision circuitry. Specifically, individuals with higher HRV showed both higher overall vmPFC blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity and attenuated taste representations when presented with a dietary self-control challenge. Last, the behavioral and neural associations withHRVwere consistent across both our stress induction and control experimental conditions. The stability of this association across experimental conditions suggests that HRV may serve as both a readily obtainable and robust biomarker for self-control ability across environmental contexts.

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Modulation of sweet preference by the actual and anticipated consequences of eating

Ashley A. Martin, Danielle Ferriday, Peter J. Rogers, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

Appetite  107(2016) 575-584

Previous research has shown that non-human animals exhibit an inverted-U pattern of sweet preference,with consumption increasing across moderate levels of sweetness and then declining for high levels of sweetness. In rodents, this pattern reflects an avoidance of the postingestive effects of consuming energy-dense sugar solutions (conditioned satiation). Here, we examined whether humans also adjust their preferences to compensate for the anticipated energy content/satiating outcomes of consuming sweetened foods. In two experiments (each N ¼ 40), participants were asked to taste and imagine eating small (15 g) and large (250 g) portions of five novel desserts that varied in sweetness. Participants evaluated the desserts' expected satiety, expected satiation, and expected sickliness. A measure of estimated energy content was also derived using a computerized energy compensation test. This procedure was completed before and after consuming a standard lunch. Across both experiments, results
confirmed that participants preferred a less sweet dessert when asked to imagine eating a large versus a small portion, and when rating the dessert in a fed versus fasted state. We also obtained evidence that participants anticipated more energy from the sweeter desserts (even in Experiment 2 when half of the participants were informed that the desserts were equated for energy content). However we found only partial evidence for anticipated satiationdexpected sickliness was related systematically to increases in sweetness, but expected satiation and expected satiety were only weakly influenced. These findings raise questions about the role of sweetness in the control of food intake (in humans) and the degree to which ‘sweet-calorie learning’ occurs in complex dietary environments where sweetness may actually be a poor predictor of the energy content of foods.

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Connecting biology with psychology to make sense of appetite control

P. J. Rogers,D. Ferriday, S. A. Jebb and J. M. Brunstrom

Nutrition Bulletin, 41 344-352

Eating  more  than  is  required  to  maintain  bodyweight  is  weakly  resisted physiologically, as appetite does not closely track  body  energy  balance.  What does limit energy intake is the capacity of the gut to accommodate and process what is eaten. As the gut empties, we are ready to eat again. We typically refer to this absence of fullness as ‘hunger’, but in this state, even when it is prolonged (e.g. by missing one or two meals), our mental and physical performance is not compromised because body energy stores are mobilised to sustain energy supply to our brain and muscles. We illustrate this by discussing research on the effects of missing breakfast. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it appears that missing breakfast leads to a reduction in total daily energy intake and does not impair cognitive function (in adequately nourished
individuals). The problem with missing a meal or eating smaller meals, however, is that we miss out on (some of) the pleasure of eating (food reward). In current studies, we are investigating how to offset the reduced reward value of smaller food portions, by, for example, altering flavour intensity, food variety and unit size, in order to maintain overall meal satisfaction and thereby reduce or eliminate subsequent compensatory  eating.

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Intranasal insulin enhances brain functional connectivity mediating the relationship between adiposity and subjective feeling of hunger

Stephanie Kullmann, Martin Heni, Ralf Veit, Klaus Scheffler, Jürgen Machann, Hans-Ulrich Häring, Andreas Fritsche
& Hubert Preissl

Scientific Reports, (2017) 7 no 1627

Brain insulin sensitivity is an important link between metabolism and cognitive dysfunction. Intranasal insulin is a promising tool to investigate central insulin action in humans. We evaluated the acute effects of 160 U intranasal insulin on resting-state brain functional connectivity in healthy young adults. Twenty-five lean and twenty-two overweight and obese participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging, on two separate days, before and after intranasal insulin or placebo application. Insulin compared to placebo administration resulted in increased functional connectivity between the prefrontal regions of the default-mode network and the hippocampus as well as the hypothalamus. The change in hippocampal functional connectivity significantly correlated with visceral adipose tissue and the change in subjective feeling of hunger after intranasal insulin. Mediation analysis revealed that the intranasal insulin induced hippocampal functional connectivity increase served as a mediator, suppressing the relationship between visceral adipose tissue and hunger. The insulin-induced hypothalamic functional connectivity change showed a significant interaction with peripheral insulin sensitivity. Only participants with high peripheral insulin sensitivity showed a boost in hypothalamic functional connectivity. Hence, brain insulin action may regulate eating behavior and facilitate weight loss by modifying brain functional connectivity within and between cognitive and homeostatic brain
regions.

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High-sugar, but not high-fat, food activates supraoptic oxytocin neurones in the male rat

Catherine Hume, Nancy Sabatier and John Menzies

Endocrinology (in press)

Oxytocin is a potent anorexigen and is believed to have a role in satiety signalling. We developed rat models to study the activity of oxytocin neurones in response to voluntary consumption or oral gavage of foods using c-Fos immunohistochemistry and in vivo electrophysiology.

Using c-Fos expression as an indirect marker of neural activation, we showed that the percentage of magnocellular oxytocin neurones expressing c-Fos increased with voluntary consumption of sweetened condensed milk (SCM). To model the effect of food in the stomach, we gavaged anaesthetised rats with SCM. The percentage of supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus magnocellular oxytocin-immunoreactive neurones expressing c-Fos increased with SCM gavage but not with gastric distention. To further examine the activity of the supraoptic nucleus, we made in vivo electrophysiological recordings from SON neurones while anaesthetised rats were gavaged with SCM or single cream. Pharmacologically identified oxytocin neurones responded to SCM gavage with a linear, proportional and sustained increase in firing rate but cream gavage resulted in a transient reduction in firing rate. Blood glucose increased after SCM gavage but not cream gavage. Plasma osmolarity and plasma sodium were unchanged throughout.

We show that in response to a high-sugar, but not high-fat, food in the stomach, there is an increase in the activity of oxytocin neurones. This does not appear to be a consequence of stomach distention or changes in osmotic pressure. Our data suggest that the presence of specific foods with different macronutrient profiles in the stomach differentially regulates the activity of oxytocin neurones.

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Keeping Pace with Your Eating: Visual Feedback Affects Eating Rate in Humans

Laura L. Wilkinson, Danielle Ferriday, Matthew L. Bosworth , Nicolas Godinot ,Nathalie Martin, Peter J. Rogers, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom

Plos one FEb 2016 1-13

Deliberately eating at a slower pace promotes satiation and eating quickly has been associated with a higher body mass index. Therefore, understanding factors that affect eating rate should be given high priority. Eating rate is affected by the physical/textural properties of a food, by motivational state, and by portion size and palatability. This study explored the prospect that eating rate is also influenced by a hitherto unexplored cognitive process that uses ongoing perceptual estimates of the volume of food remaining in a container to adjust intake during a meal. A 2 (amount seen; 300ml or 500ml) x 2 (amount eaten; 300ml or 500ml) between-subjects design was employed (10 participants in each condition). In two ‘congruent’ conditions, the same amount was seen at the outset and then subsequently consumed (300ml or 500ml). To dissociate visual feedback of portion size and actual amount consumed, food was covertly added or removed from a bowl using a peristaltic pump. This created two additional ‘incongruent’ conditions, in which 300ml was seen but 500ml was eaten or vice versa.We repeated these conditions using a savoury soup and a sweet dessert. Eating rate (ml per second) was assessed during lunch. After lunch we assessed fullness over a 60-minute period. In the congruent conditions, eating rate was unaffected by the actual volume of food that was consumed (300ml or 500ml). By contrast, we observed a marked difference across the incongruent conditions. Specifically, participants who saw 300ml but actually consumed 500ml ate at a faster rate than participants
who saw 500ml but actually consumed 300ml. Participants were unaware that their portion size had been manipulated. Nevertheless, when it disappeared faster or slower than anticipated they adjusted their rate of eating accordingly. This suggests that the control of eating rate involves visual feedback and is not a simple reflexive response to orosensory stimulation.

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Computerized measurement of anticipated anxiety from eating increasing portions of food in adolescents with and without anorexia nervosa: Pilot studies

H.R. Kissileff , J.M. Brunstrom , R. Tesser, D. Bellace, S. Berthod , J.C. Thornton, K. Halmi.

Appetite 97 (2016) 160-168

Dieting and excessive fear of eating coexist in vulnerable individuals, which may progress to anorexia nervosa [AN], but there is no objective measure of this fear. Therefore, we adapted a computer  program that was previously developed to measure the satiating effects of foods in order to explore the potential of food to induce anxiety and fear of eating in adolescent girls. Twenty four adolescents (AN) and ten healthy controls without eating disorders rated pictures of different  types of foods in varying sized portions as too large or too small and rated the expected anxiety
of five different portions (20e320 kcal). Two low energy dense (potatoes and rice) and two high  energy dense (pizza and M&Ms) foods were used. The regression coefficient of line lengths (0e100 mm)  marked from “No anxiety” to ”this would give me a panic attack”, regressed from portions shown, was  the measure of “expected anxiety” for a given food. The maximum tolerated portion size [kcal]  (MTPS),  computed by method of constant stimulus from portions shown, was significantly smaller for  high energy dense foods, whereas the ex- pected anxiety response was greater, for all foods, for  patients compared to controls. For both groups, expected anxiety responses were steeper, and
maximum tolerated portion sizes were larger, for low, than high, energy dense foods. Both maximum  tolerated portion size and expected anxiety response were significantly predicted by severity of  illness for the patients. Those who had larger maximum tolerated portion sizes had smaller  anticipated anxiety to increasing portion sizes. Visual size had a greater in- fluence than energy  content for these responses. This method could be used to quantify the anxiety inducing potential  of foods and for studies with neuro-imaging and phenotypic clarifications.

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