Monday, February 2, 2015

Why Do We Eat? A Neurobiological Perspective. Part V

In previous posts, I explained that food intake is determined by a variety of factors that are detected by the brain, and integrated by circuits in the mesolimbic system to determine the overall motivation to eat.  These factors include 'homeostatic factors' that reflect a true energy need by the body, and 'non-homeostatic factors' that are independent of the body's energy needs (e.g. palatability, habit, and the social environment).

In this post, we'll explore the hedonic system, which governs pleasure.  This includes the pleasure associated with food, called palatability.  The palatability of food is one of the factors that determines food intake.

The Hedonic System

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