Hedonic hunger or hedonic hyperphagia is "the drive to eat to obtain pleasure in the absence of an energy deficit." Particular foods may have a high "hedonic rating" or individuals may have increased susceptibility to environmental food cues. Weight loss programs may aim to control or to compensate for hedonic hunger. Therapeutic interventions may influence hedonic eating behavior.
Although hunger may arise from energy or nutrient deficits, as would be expected in the set-point theories of hunger and eating, hunger may arise more commonly from anticipated pleasure of eating, consistent with the positive-incentive perspective. Gramlich distinguished the overeating responses to these stimuli as homeostatic hyperphagia and hedonic hyperphagia respectively. Accordingly, hunger and eating are subject to feedback control from homeostatic, hedonic, and cognitive processes. Although these mechanisms interplay and overlap to some extent, they can nonetheless be individually separated. Thus, the positive-incentive perspective suggests that eating is similar to sexual behavior: humans engage in sexual behavior, not because of an internal deficit, but because they have evolved in a way that makes them crave it. High calorie foods have had intrinsic reward value throughout evolution. The presence of desirable (or "hedonic") food, or the mere anticipation of it, makes one hungry. The psychological effects of hedonic hunger may be the appetitive equivalent of hedonically driven activities such as recreational drug use and compulsive gambling. Susceptibility to food cues can lead to overeating in a society of readily available calorie dense, inexpensive foods. Such hedonistic eating overrides the body's ability to regulate consumption with satiety. While there is a breadth of evidence for hedonic hunger, this topic is not without controversy. For example, recent evidence suggests that there is no relationship between milkshake liking and body mass index(BMI).
A related phenomenon, specific appetite, also known as specific hunger, is conceptually related to, but distinct from, hedonic hunger. Specific appetite is a drive to eat foods with specific flavors or other characteristics: in usage, specific appetite has put greater emphasis on an individual who adaptationally learns a particular appetite behavior rather than an evolutionarily innate, hedonic appetite preference.
A "hedonic rating" of foods reflects those individuals are more likely to eat even though they aren't hungry. For example, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning suggests that fed rats show a high preference for a mixture of fat and carbohydrate in the form of potato chips compared to their standard chow or single macronutrient foods. When binge eating occurs without the presence of energy deprivation, researchers think it is due to frequent exposure to palatable food. Another study evaluated how hedonic ratings of individual foods aggregate into the food components of particular types of meals, and related preferences to overall dietary intake.
Individuals may have increased hedonic hunger susceptibility to environmental food cues. Genetic variability may influence hedonic hyperphagia. Variation in hedonic hunger levels from person to person may be key in determining success in weight loss tactics and a person's ability to cope with tempting foods that are readily available. To assess this, a Power of Food Scale (PFS) has been developed that quantifies a person's appetitive anticipation (not consumption). Binge-eaters, obese individuals and those with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa scored higher than restrictive type and normal weight college students. A decrease in PFS score leads to better success in weight loss.
The reinforcing value of food refers to how hard someone is willing to work to obtain food. Food reinforcement is influenced by several factors including food palatability, food deprivation, and food variety. It is also motivated by concerns about fullness (expected satiation) and the hunger that might be experienced in the intervening period between meals (expected satiety). The effector mechanisms of food reinforcement depend on dopaminergic activity in the brain.
Conceptually, weight loss programs might target control of hedonic hunger. Specific research to determine what diet techniques would be most beneficial for those with an increased hedonic hunger would help people modify their immediate availability of food or its palatability. For example, whole grain popcorn may be a better choice than potato chips due to a lower calorie load and an increased sense of satiety. Adding dietary fiber to foods and beverages increases satiety and reduces energy intake at the next meal. Low-energy-density foods with high satiating power may be useful tools for weight management. Satiety has been found to be greater with yogurt beverages than fruit juice, and was equal with low-energy-density yogurt with inulin and high-energy-density yogurt. People with high PFS scores may do better with meal replacement products.
Medications may affect hedonic eating behavior. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) agonists, such as exenatide and liraglutide, which are used for diabetes, may help suppress food reward behavior. Inhibition of dopamine transport within the brain increases dopamine concentrations, which can reduce energy intake. Despite theoretical underpinnings, opiate antagonists as single agents have generally not shown substantial clinical benefit. However, preliminary data has suggested synergistic effects with concurrent targeted therapy of opiate receptors and either dopamine or cannabinoid receptors.
Bariatric surgery of various types may influence hedonic hunger particularly if accompanied by counseling interventions that reduce automatic hedonic impulses. These surgeries may work in part by modifying the production of gastrointestinal hormones, particularly by increasing glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY (PYY); reduction of ghrelin has been inconsistent.
The physiological mechanisms
Hedonic hunger show a positive correlation between plasma of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) and ghrelin during hedonic, but not nonhedonic, eating and the consumption of food for pleasure is characterized by increased peripheral levels of both peptides. And this two endogenous rewarding chemical signals influences food intake and, ultimately, body mass.
- Eating disorder
- Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist
- Melanin-concentrating hormone
- Peptide YY
- Specific appetite
- Witt AA, Lowe MR (2014). "Hedonic Hunger and Binge Eating Among Women with Eating Disorders". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 47 (3): 273–80. doi:10.1002/eat.22171.
- Theim KR, Brown JD, Juarascio AS, Malcom RR, O'Neil PM. Relations of hedonic hunger and behavioral change to weight loss among adults in a behavioral weight loss program utilizing meal-replacement products. Behav Modif. 2013; 37(6): 790-805.
- Lowe, MR; Butryn, ML (Jul 24, 2007). "Hedonic hunger: a new dimension of appetite?". Physiology & Behavior. 91 (4): 432–9. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.04.006. PMID 17531274.
- Yu, Y-H.; Vasselli, J. R.; Zhang, Y.; Mechanick, J. I.; Korner, J.; Peterli, R. (February 2015). "Metabolic vs. hedonic obesity: a conceptual distinction and its clinical implications". Obesity Reviews. 16: 234–247. doi:10.1111/obr.12246. PMC 5053237. PMID 25588316.
- Skibicka, KP (Oct 14, 2013). "The central GLP-1: implications for food and drug reward". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 7: 181. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00181. PMC 3796262. PMID 24133407.
- Berridge K. C. (2004). "Motivation concepts in behavioral neuroscience". Physiology & Behavior. 81 (2): 179–209. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2004.02.004. PMID 15159167.
- Booth D. A. (1981). "The physiology of appetite". British Medical Bulletin. 37: 135–140.
- Gramlich, L; Zeman M; Sharma AM. (2010). "25". Evidence-Based Gastroenterology and Hepatology Chapter 25. Edited by McDonald JWD, Burroughs AK, Feagan BG, Fennerty MB (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4443-4780-7.
- Hall, KD; Hammond, RA; Rahmandad, H (Jul 2014). "Dynamic interplay among homeostatic, hedonic, and cognitive feedback circuits regulating body weight". American Journal of Public Health. 104 (7): 1169–75. doi:10.2105/ajph.2014.301931. PMC 4056226. PMID 24832422.
- Yeomans, MR; Blundell, JE; Leshem, M (Aug 2004). "Palatability: response to nutritional need or need-free stimulation of appetite?". British Journal of Nutrition. 92 Suppl 1: S3-14. doi:10.1079/bjn20041134. PMID 15384315.
- Keen-Rhinehart, E; Ondek, K; Schneider, JE (Nov 15, 2013). "Neuroendocrine regulation of appetitive ingestive behavior". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 7: 213. doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00213. PMC 3828638. PMID 24298235.
- Van Schooten, WC; Ottenhoff, TH; Klatser, PR; Thole, J; De Vries, RR; Kolk, AH (Jun 1988). "T cell epitopes on the 36K and 65K Mycobacterium leprae antigens defined by human T cell clones". European Journal of Immunology. 18 (6): 849–54. doi:10.1002/eji.1830180604. PMID 2454825.
- Pinel, John P.J. (2006). Biopsychology (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson A and B. ISBN 0-205-42651-4.
- Haskins, SC; Klide, AM (Mar 1992). "Anesthesia for very old patients". Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 22 (2): 467–9. doi:10.1016/s0195-5616(92)50673-8. PMID 1585606.
- Stice, E; Figlewicz, DP; Gosnell, BA; Levine, AS; Pratt, WE (Nov 2013). "The contribution of brain reward circuits to the obesity epidemic". Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 37 (9 Pt A): 2047–58. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.12.001. PMC 3604128. PMID 23237885.
- Reid, C; Davis C. (2011). Targeting the opioid system: an effective therapy for obesity? in Anti-Obesity Drug Discovery and Development, Volume 1. Edited by Atta-ur-Rahman, Choudhary MI. page 186-199. Bentham Science Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60805-163-2.
- Wall, K (May 12, 2020). "No evidence for an association between obesity and milkshake liking". International Journal of Obesity. 44: 1668–1677. doi:10.1038/s41366-020-0583-x. PMC 7387147. PMID 32398755.
- McBride R. L. (1986). "Hedonic rating of food: single or side-by-side sample presentation?". International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 21 (3): 355–363. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.1986.tb00414.x.
- Kozak, M; Cliff, MA (Aug 2013). "Systematic comparison of hedonic ranking and rating methods demonstrates few practical differences". Journal of Food Science. 78 (8): S1257-63. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12173. PMID 23815796.
- Hoch, T; Pischetsrieder, M; Hess, A (2014). "Snack food intake in ad libitum fed rats is triggered by the combination of fat and carbohydrates". Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 250. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00250. PMC 3978285. PMID 24744741.
- Johnson SL, Boles RE, Burer KS (2014). "Using participant hedonic ratings of food images to construct data driven food groupings". Appetite. 79: 189–196. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.021. PMC 4104662. PMID 24769294.
- Lowe, MR; Butryn, ML; Didie, ER; Annunziato, RA; Thomas, JG; Crerand, CE; Ochner, CN; Coletta, MC; Bellace, D; Wallaert, M; Halford, J (Aug 2009). "The Power of Food Scale. A new measure of the psychological influence of the food environment". Appetite. 53 (1): 114–8. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.05.016. PMID 19500623.
- Cappelleri, JC; Bushmakin, AG; Gerber, RA; Leidy, NK; Sexton, CC; Karlsson, J; Lowe, MR (Aug 2009). "Evaluating the Power of Food Scale in obese subjects and a general sample of individuals: development and measurement properties". International Journal of Obesity. 33 (8): 913–22. doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.107. PMID 19506564.
- Epstein, LH; Leddy, JJ (Jan 2006). "Food reinforcement". Appetite. 46 (1): 22–5. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2005.04.006. PMID 16257474.
- Nguyen, V; Cooper, L; Lowndes, J; Melanson, K; Angelopoulos, TJ; Rippe, JM; Reimers, K (Sep 14, 2012). "Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in normal-weight adults". Nutrition Journal. 11: 71. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-71. PMC 3502142. PMID 22978828.
- Perrigue, M; Carter, B; Roberts, SA; Drewnowski, A (Nov–Dec 2010). "A low-calorie beverage supplemented with low-viscosity pectin reduces energy intake at a subsequent meal". Journal of Food Science. 75 (9): H300-5. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01858.x. PMID 21535604.
- Perrigue, MM; Monsivais, P; Drewnowski, A (Nov 2009). "Added soluble fiber enhances the satiating power of low-energy-density liquid yogurts". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 109 (11): 1862–8. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.08.018. PMID 19857627.
- Paolini, BM; Laurienti, PJ; Norris, J; Rejeski, WJ (2014). "Meal replacement: calming the hot-state brain network of appetite". Frontiers in Psychology. 5: 249. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00249. PMC 3971177. PMID 24723901.
- Peciña, S; Berridge, KC (Dec 14, 2005). "Hedonic hot spot in nucleus accumbens shell: where do mu-opioids cause increased hedonic impact of sweetness?". The Journal of Neuroscience. 25 (50): 11777–86. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.2329-05.2005. PMID 16354936.
- Berridge, KC; Ho, CY; Richard, JM; DiFeliceantonio, AG (Sep 2, 2010). "The tempted brain eats: pleasure and desire circuits in obesity and eating disorders". Brain Research. 1350: 43–64. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.04.003. PMC 2913163. PMID 20388498.
- Schultes, B; Ernst, B; Wilms, B; Thurnheer, M; Hallschmid, M (Aug 2010). "Hedonic hunger is increased in severely obese patients and is reduced after gastric bypass surgery". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 92 (2): 277–83. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29007. PMID 20519559.
- Ullrich, J; Ernst, B; Wilms, B; Thurnheer, M; Hallschmid, M; Schultes, B (2013). "The hedonic drive to consume palatable foods appears to be lower in gastric band carriers than in severely obese patients who have not undergone a bariatric surgery". Obesity Surgery. 23 (4): 474–9. doi:10.1007/s11695-012-0818-6. PMID 23179243.
- Ullrich, J; Ernst, B; Wilms, B; Thurnheer, M; Schultes, B (2013). "Roux-en Y gastric bypass surgery reduces hedonic hunger and improves dietary habits in severely obese subjects". Obesity Surgery. 23 (1): 50–5. doi:10.1007/s11695-012-0754-5. PMID 22941334.
- Husted, M; Ogden, J (2014). "Emphasising Personal Investment Effects Weight Loss and Hedonic Thoughts about Food after Obesity Surgery". Journal of Obesity. 2014: 810374. doi:10.1155/2014/810374. PMC 4060496. PMID 24987525.
- Ashrafian, H; le Roux, CW (Jul 14, 2009). "Metabolic surgery and gut hormones - a review of bariatric entero-humoral modulation". Physiology & Behavior. 97 (5): 620–31. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.012. PMID 19303889.
- Monteleone, Palmiero; Piscitelli, Fabiana; Scognamiglio, Pasquale; Monteleone, Alessio Maria; Canestrelli, Benedetta; Di Marzo, Vincenzo; Maj, Mario (2012-06-01). "Hedonic eating is associated with increased peripheral levels of ghrelin and the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol in healthy humans: a pilot study". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 97 (6): E917–924. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-3018. ISSN 1945-7197. PMID 22442280.