Effect of satiety on brain activation during chocolate tasting in men and women

P.A.M. Smeets, C. de Graaf, A. Stafleu, M.J.P. Osch, R.A.J. Nievelstein, J. van der Grond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Background:The brain plays a crucial role in the decision to eat, integrating multiple hormonal and neural signals. A key factor controlling food intake is selective satiety, ie, the phenomenon that the motivation to eat more of a food decreases more than does the motivation to eat foods not eaten. Objective:We investigated the effect of satiation with chocolate on the brain activation associated with chocolate taste in men and women. Design:Twelve men and 12 women participated. Subjects fasted overnight and were scanned by use of functional magnetic resonance imaging while tasting chocolate milk, before and after eating chocolate until they were satiated. Results:In men, chocolate satiation was associated with increased taste activation in the ventral striatum, insula, and orbitofrontal and medial orbitofrontal cortex and with decreased taste activation in somatosensory areas. Women showed increased taste activation in the precentral gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and putamen and decreased taste activation in the hypothalamus and amygdala. Sex differences in the effect of chocolate satiation were found in the hypothalamus, ventral striatum, and medial prefrontal cortex (all P <0.005). Conclusions:Our results indicate that men and women differ in their response to satiation and suggest that the regulation of food intake by the brain may vary between the sexes. Therefore, sex differences are a covariate of interest in studies of the brain's responses to food.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1305
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • human orbitofrontal cortex
  • sensory-specific satiety
  • gender-differences
  • liquid food
  • eating behavior
  • sex-differences
  • stimuli
  • appetite
  • humans
  • fmri

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