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The Pavlovian power of palatable food: lessons for weight-loss adherence from a new rodent model of cue-induced overeating.

Boggiano MM, Dorsey JR, Thomas JM, Murdaugh DL - Int J Obes (Lond) (2009)

Bottom Line: This effect occurred using various cues (for example, different types of bedding or wallpaper).The effect was strengthened by priming with a morsel of PF (P<0.001) and was unaffected by baseline differences in propensity to binge on PF.This model should help identify the reflex-like biology that sabotages attempts to adhere to healthy reduced calorie regimens and call greater attention to the cue-factor in the treatment of binge eating and obesity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Behavioral Neuroscience Division, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35394-1170, USA. boggiano@uab.edu

ABSTRACT

Objective: Relapsing to overeating is a stubborn problem in obesity treatment. We tested the hypothesis that context cues surrounding palatable food (PF) intake have the power to disrupt caloric regulation even of less PF. Context cues are non-food cues that are in the environment where PF is habitually eaten.

Design: Rats were conditioned to associate intake of Oreo cookies as the PF to cages with distinct context cues that differed from cues in cages where they were only given chow. PF naturally stimulated greater caloric intake. The rats were then tested in the PF cage with only chow available to determine whether the PF-paired cues, alone, could elicit overeating of plain chow.

Subjects: Non-food-deprived female Sprague-Dawley rats.

Measurements: Intake of plain chow under PF-paired cues vs chow-paired cues was compared. This was also measured in tests that included a morsel of PF as a priming stimulus. We also controlled for any effect of binge-prone vs binge-resistant status to predict cued-overeating.

Results: Rats consumed significantly more chow when exposed to context cues paired earlier with PF than with chow (P<0.01). This effect occurred using various cues (for example, different types of bedding or wallpaper). The effect was strengthened by priming with a morsel of PF (P<0.001) and was unaffected by baseline differences in propensity to binge on PF.

Conclusion: Context-cues associated with PF intake can drive overeating even of a less PF and abolish the ability of rats to compensate for the calories of a PF primer. Just as drug-associated context cues can reinstate drug-addiction relapse, PF-paired cues may trigger overeating relapses linked to weight regain and obesity. This model should help identify the reflex-like biology that sabotages attempts to adhere to healthy reduced calorie regimens and call greater attention to the cue-factor in the treatment of binge eating and obesity.

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Amount of chow consumed over 4 hrs when rats were placed in a cage previously associated only with chow (Chow Cage) vs. in a cage previously associated with cookies in addition to chow (Cookie Cage) with context elements counterbalanced for each food condition. A) Intake of chow in each cage with and without a 2 g (10 kcal) piece of cookie as the palatable food (PF) “trigger”; ***p<0.001 main effect of PF-trigger to increase chow intake; **p<0.01 main effect of Cookie Cage to increase chow intake. B) Duplication of graph A but without the PF kcals shown to highlight the compensatory decrease in chow intake after a PF preload but only when rats were in the Chow Cage (**p<0.01). In the Cookie Cage, chow intake was greater than in the Chow Cage (***p<0.001) and there was no compensatory decrease in intake following the PF-trigger preload (ns).
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Figure 3: Amount of chow consumed over 4 hrs when rats were placed in a cage previously associated only with chow (Chow Cage) vs. in a cage previously associated with cookies in addition to chow (Cookie Cage) with context elements counterbalanced for each food condition. A) Intake of chow in each cage with and without a 2 g (10 kcal) piece of cookie as the palatable food (PF) “trigger”; ***p<0.001 main effect of PF-trigger to increase chow intake; **p<0.01 main effect of Cookie Cage to increase chow intake. B) Duplication of graph A but without the PF kcals shown to highlight the compensatory decrease in chow intake after a PF preload but only when rats were in the Chow Cage (**p<0.01). In the Cookie Cage, chow intake was greater than in the Chow Cage (***p<0.001) and there was no compensatory decrease in intake following the PF-trigger preload (ns).

Mentions: When the context cues were counterbalanced across the Chow Cage and the Cookie Cage, rats still overate when subjected to the cues associated only with the Cookie Cage. As shown in Figure 3A, as early as in the first 4 hrs of feeding, the rats consumed more kcals of chow when in the Cookie Cage whether they received a PF-trigger or not (p<0.001). Inspection of only the chow intake (Fig. 3B) reveals that in the Chow Cage, rats were able to compensate for the additional kcals of the PF-trigger by eating significantly less chow (p<0.01) than they would without the PF-trigger. However, this ability to compensate for the extra calories of the PF-trigger was abolished if the rats were in the Cookie Cage. I.e., the cues associated with the Cookie Cage caused rats to eat as much chow as they ate without the PF-trigger preload (ns chow intake in Cookie Cage with vs. without PF-trigger; Fig. 3B). After being placed back into their home cages for 2 days then re-tested with a PF-trigger test, they again consumed more chow in the Cookie Cage vs. than in the Chow Cage (Figure 4A). However the difference in mean intake was not as large as in Fig. 3, likely due to more unreinforced experience (no ad lib cookies in the Cookie Cage). By the third PF-trigger test, the differences in chow intake between Cages were not observed (not shown) indicating conditioning extinction. However, once they were re-exposed to cookies in the Cookie Cage and only Chow in the Chow cage, the rats again, under a PF-trigger test, consumed significantly more chow in the Cookie Cage when only chow was available there. This is evident in Figure 4B (p<0.01).


The Pavlovian power of palatable food: lessons for weight-loss adherence from a new rodent model of cue-induced overeating.

Boggiano MM, Dorsey JR, Thomas JM, Murdaugh DL - Int J Obes (Lond) (2009)

Amount of chow consumed over 4 hrs when rats were placed in a cage previously associated only with chow (Chow Cage) vs. in a cage previously associated with cookies in addition to chow (Cookie Cage) with context elements counterbalanced for each food condition. A) Intake of chow in each cage with and without a 2 g (10 kcal) piece of cookie as the palatable food (PF) “trigger”; ***p<0.001 main effect of PF-trigger to increase chow intake; **p<0.01 main effect of Cookie Cage to increase chow intake. B) Duplication of graph A but without the PF kcals shown to highlight the compensatory decrease in chow intake after a PF preload but only when rats were in the Chow Cage (**p<0.01). In the Cookie Cage, chow intake was greater than in the Chow Cage (***p<0.001) and there was no compensatory decrease in intake following the PF-trigger preload (ns).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 3: Amount of chow consumed over 4 hrs when rats were placed in a cage previously associated only with chow (Chow Cage) vs. in a cage previously associated with cookies in addition to chow (Cookie Cage) with context elements counterbalanced for each food condition. A) Intake of chow in each cage with and without a 2 g (10 kcal) piece of cookie as the palatable food (PF) “trigger”; ***p<0.001 main effect of PF-trigger to increase chow intake; **p<0.01 main effect of Cookie Cage to increase chow intake. B) Duplication of graph A but without the PF kcals shown to highlight the compensatory decrease in chow intake after a PF preload but only when rats were in the Chow Cage (**p<0.01). In the Cookie Cage, chow intake was greater than in the Chow Cage (***p<0.001) and there was no compensatory decrease in intake following the PF-trigger preload (ns).
Mentions: When the context cues were counterbalanced across the Chow Cage and the Cookie Cage, rats still overate when subjected to the cues associated only with the Cookie Cage. As shown in Figure 3A, as early as in the first 4 hrs of feeding, the rats consumed more kcals of chow when in the Cookie Cage whether they received a PF-trigger or not (p<0.001). Inspection of only the chow intake (Fig. 3B) reveals that in the Chow Cage, rats were able to compensate for the additional kcals of the PF-trigger by eating significantly less chow (p<0.01) than they would without the PF-trigger. However, this ability to compensate for the extra calories of the PF-trigger was abolished if the rats were in the Cookie Cage. I.e., the cues associated with the Cookie Cage caused rats to eat as much chow as they ate without the PF-trigger preload (ns chow intake in Cookie Cage with vs. without PF-trigger; Fig. 3B). After being placed back into their home cages for 2 days then re-tested with a PF-trigger test, they again consumed more chow in the Cookie Cage vs. than in the Chow Cage (Figure 4A). However the difference in mean intake was not as large as in Fig. 3, likely due to more unreinforced experience (no ad lib cookies in the Cookie Cage). By the third PF-trigger test, the differences in chow intake between Cages were not observed (not shown) indicating conditioning extinction. However, once they were re-exposed to cookies in the Cookie Cage and only Chow in the Chow cage, the rats again, under a PF-trigger test, consumed significantly more chow in the Cookie Cage when only chow was available there. This is evident in Figure 4B (p<0.01).

Bottom Line: This effect occurred using various cues (for example, different types of bedding or wallpaper).The effect was strengthened by priming with a morsel of PF (P<0.001) and was unaffected by baseline differences in propensity to binge on PF.This model should help identify the reflex-like biology that sabotages attempts to adhere to healthy reduced calorie regimens and call greater attention to the cue-factor in the treatment of binge eating and obesity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Behavioral Neuroscience Division, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35394-1170, USA. boggiano@uab.edu

ABSTRACT

Objective: Relapsing to overeating is a stubborn problem in obesity treatment. We tested the hypothesis that context cues surrounding palatable food (PF) intake have the power to disrupt caloric regulation even of less PF. Context cues are non-food cues that are in the environment where PF is habitually eaten.

Design: Rats were conditioned to associate intake of Oreo cookies as the PF to cages with distinct context cues that differed from cues in cages where they were only given chow. PF naturally stimulated greater caloric intake. The rats were then tested in the PF cage with only chow available to determine whether the PF-paired cues, alone, could elicit overeating of plain chow.

Subjects: Non-food-deprived female Sprague-Dawley rats.

Measurements: Intake of plain chow under PF-paired cues vs chow-paired cues was compared. This was also measured in tests that included a morsel of PF as a priming stimulus. We also controlled for any effect of binge-prone vs binge-resistant status to predict cued-overeating.

Results: Rats consumed significantly more chow when exposed to context cues paired earlier with PF than with chow (P<0.01). This effect occurred using various cues (for example, different types of bedding or wallpaper). The effect was strengthened by priming with a morsel of PF (P<0.001) and was unaffected by baseline differences in propensity to binge on PF.

Conclusion: Context-cues associated with PF intake can drive overeating even of a less PF and abolish the ability of rats to compensate for the calories of a PF primer. Just as drug-associated context cues can reinstate drug-addiction relapse, PF-paired cues may trigger overeating relapses linked to weight regain and obesity. This model should help identify the reflex-like biology that sabotages attempts to adhere to healthy reduced calorie regimens and call greater attention to the cue-factor in the treatment of binge eating and obesity.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus