Good practice in food-related neuroimaging

Paul A.M. Smeets*, Alain Dagher, Todd A. Hare, Stephanie Kullmann, Laura N. van der Laan, Russell A. Poldrack, Hubert Preissl, Dana Small, Eric Stice, Maria G. Veldhuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The use of neuroimaging tools, especially functional magnetic resonance imaging, in nutritional research has increased substantially over the past 2 decades. Neuroimaging is a research tool with great potential impact on the field of nutrition, but to achieve that potential, appropriate use of techniques and interpretation of neuroimaging results is necessary. In this article, we present guidelines for good methodological practice in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies and flag specific limitations in the hope of helping researchers to make the most of neuroimaging tools and avoid potential pitfalls. We highlight specific considerations for food-related studies, such as how to adjust statistically for common confounders, like, for example, hunger state, menstrual phase, and BMI, as well as how to optimally match different types of food stimuli. Finally, we summarize current research needs and future directions, such as the use of prospective designs and more realistic paradigms for studying eating behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019



  • aroma
  • data sharing
  • food choice
  • food viewing
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • good practice
  • neuroimaging
  • satiation
  • taste

Cite this

Smeets, P. A. M., Dagher, A., Hare, T. A., Kullmann, S., van der Laan, L. N., Poldrack, R. A., ... Veldhuizen, M. G. (2019). Good practice in food-related neuroimaging. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 109(3), 491-503.