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Physiological response may explain why some severely obese patients overeat
Date:6/9/2009

PROVIDENCE, RI Don't feel like you are getting full when eating a large meal? New research from The Miriam Hospital suggests that a physiological response may partially explain why severely obese individuals may not feel satisfied after eating and often have difficulty controlling the amount of food they consume during a meal.

Researchers led by Dale Bond, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center focused on habituation, or the idea that continual exposure to a specific food decreases one's physical response to that food. Habituation theory suggests that if one habituates, or adjusts, slowly to food cues, they are less likely to feel satisfied with that particular food and can consume more of it.

In the study, published online in Obesity Surgery, the research team looked at saliva production following repeated exposure to lemon juice. They compared the responses of two groups severely obese patients preparing for bariatric surgery and normal weight individuals and found that the bariatric surgery candidates continued to salivate at a consistent rate throughout the tastings, indicating that very little habituation occurred. Meanwhile, the salivation rate of the normal weight controls decreased with successive exposures to the lemon juice.

"The failure of bariatric surgery candidates to habituate suggests that satiation, or the feeling of fullness while eating, is impaired in this population. This could play a role in the inability of some severely obese individuals to regulate or control the amount of food that they eat during a meal," says Bond.

He adds that the findings make a case for the use of habituation as a model to study why some patients who have undergone bariatric surgery continue to engage in problematic behaviors, such as binge eating, which contributes to poorer weight loss outcomes.

The study included 34 severely obese bariatric surgery candidates and 18 indi
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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