Study: No feeling of satiety at the favorite meal

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Hormone prevents satiety in favorite foods

Everyone has their favorite food and most of the time there is still something in there, even if you have been full for a long time. Italian scientists at the University of Naples have investigated the reason for this and found that the appetizing hormone ghrelin and the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol play an important role here.

When you see and eat your favorite food, such as spaghetti, pizza or schnitzel, the concentration of the hunger hormone ghrelin and the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol in the blood increases. This causes those affected to feel hungry, even if their body does not suffer from a lack of energy, the researchers led by Palmiero Monteleone from the university reported in the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism".

The phenomenon of hedonistic hunger - eating for no reason? The phenomenon of so-called hedonistic hunger - food that does not serve to cover the calorie requirement but only serves the feeling of pleasure - has been known for a long time, but so far the biochemical basis of this apparently irrational behavior has remained unclear. The Italian researchers asked themselves why people can literally overeat themselves with their favorite dishes without a feeding block, as is the case with most animals. From an evolutionary point of view, food that does not serve to cover a lack of energy, but is only worthwhile because of its flavor, is difficult to explain. It has so far remained a mystery which mechanism turns the hunger for survival into an instinct for fulfilling lust.

Release of hunger hormone increases when eating your favorite food In a small study with eight full healthy participants at the age of 21, the Italian researchers served the test subjects with their favorite foods in a first trial phase and then checked the effect on the composition of the blood plasma. In a second trial phase, the test subjects received a less popular meal that corresponded to the first dish in terms of its nutritional content. Here, too, the blood plasma was examined before and after eating. The researchers found that “eating food for pleasure goes hand in hand with increased peripheral levels of the peptide ghrelin and the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol”. This positive “correlation between plasma 2-arachidonoylglycerol and ghrelin” was only discovered when eating the favorite foods and was not found in any of the test subjects in the second trial phase, Monteleone et al. Wrote.

New approaches to fight obesity? The researchers see the increase in ghrelin and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol concentrations in the blood after eating their favorite food as the reason for the hedonistic hunger. The feeling of satiety is switched off and those affected tend to overeat. Here, "a peripheral activation of two endogenous chemical signals was observed", which could possibly play a role in the fight against obesity in the future, the scientists explained. Around half a billion people worldwide are overweight or obese. In most cases, excessive calorie intake in combination with a lack of exercise are the cause of the weight problems. Switching off the hunger hormone ghrelin or suppressing the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerin could reduce the appetite for tasty foods, avoid gluttony and thus significantly reduce calorie intake. However, the results of Palmiero Monteleone and colleagues still have to be confirmed in further studies, since the small number of study participants does not allow any general statements. (fp)

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