News from CRG and DCEXS-UPF
In mice, a prolonged diet of excess calories provokes abnormal feeding behaviour, such as disrupted eating patterns, bingeing, and snacking. This is the main conclusion of research led by Mara Dierssen from the CRG, and published in Addiction Biology. Cedric Notredame (CRG), and Rafael Maldonado (DCEXS) also participated in the study.
The mice had access to high-calorie food alongside their regular food. They quickly began showing signs of addictive behaviour: when chocolate was only available for one hour a day, they ate compulsively, consuming as much as they would over a whole day if it was available. They also showed inflexible behaviour, choosing to wait for chocolate while ignoring other available food. The mice changed their daily routines, too. They were more likely to eat during the daytime and had more frequent ‘snacks’ rather than longer spaced-out meals.
“Obesity is not just a metabolic disease – it is a behavioural issue. Obese people are usually told to eat less and move more, but this is too simplistic. We need to focus on preventing obesity, and this study shows us that understanding and modifying behaviour could be the key”, Dierssen explains. -Carlos Sierra/PRBB
Jose Espinosa-Carrasco et al. Time-course and dynamics of obesity-related behavioral changes induced by energy-dense foods in mice. Addiction Biology, 23, 531-543. (2018) DOI: 10.1111/adb.12595
Aurelijus Burokas et al. Extinction and reinstatement of an operant responding maintained by food in different models of obesity. Addiction Biology, 23, 544-555. (2018) DOI: 10.1111/adb.12597