Fat and carbohydrate interact to potentiate food reward in healthy weight but not in overweight or obesity

Emily E. Perszyk, Zach Hutelin, Jessica Trinh, Arsene Kanyamibwa, Sophie Fromm, Xue S. Davis, Kathryn M. Wall, Kyle D. Flack, Alexandra G. Difeliceantonio, Dana M. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior work suggests that actual, but not estimated, energy density drives the reinforcing value of food and that energy from fat and carbohydrate can interact to potentiate reward. Here we sought to replicate these findings in an American sample and to determine if the effects are influenced by body mass index (BMI). Thirty participants with healthy weight (HW; BMI 21.92 ± 1.77; M ± SD) and 30 participants with overweight/obesity (OW/OB; BMI 29.42 ± 4.44) rated pictures of common American snacks in 120-kcal portions for liking, familiarity, frequency of consumption, expected satiety, healthiness, energy content, energy density, and price. Participants then completed an auction task where they bid for the opportunity to consume each food. Snacks contained either primarily carbohydrate, primarily fat, or roughly equal portions of fat and carbohydrate (combo). Replicating prior work, we found that participants with HW bid the most for combo foods in linear mixed model analyses. This effect was not observed among individuals with OW/OB. Additionally, in contrast with previous reports, our linear regression analyses revealed a negative relationship between the actual energy density of the snacks and bid amount that was mediated by food price. Our findings support altered macronutrient reinforcement in obesity and highlight potential influences of the food environment on the regulation of food reward.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1203
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center. The work of AGD was conducted with the support of the iTHRIV Scholars Program. The iTHRIV Scholars Program is supported in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers UL1TR003015 and KL2TR003016.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • BMI
  • Carbohydrate
  • Fat
  • Food reward/reinforcement
  • Macronutrient
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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