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The obesogenic environment ‘offers’ the possibility for people to overeat. People get excessive pleasure from the taste and texture (sensory appeal) of foods and because their body fails to generate stop signals for eating, or because eating food fails to suppress normal hunger and fitness. This over-consumption could occur because of excessive activation of hedonic (pleasure seeking) processes, or because of a defect in homeostatic process. This means that people will eat more because of an elevated ‘liking’ or ‘wanting’ for foods (hedonic process) or because their physiological systems fail to shut off eating quickly (leading to large meals) or because food fails to suppress their hunger after eating. These last two processes are called satiation (termination of eating episodes) and satiety (keeping hunger suppressed between meals). This three year project investigated homeostatic processes (body composition, metabolism, appetite-related peptides) and hedonic processes (liking, wanting, eating behaviour traits) in response to a ‘safe’ model of overconsumption using a 12 week exercise intervention in overweight and obese individuals.
DIVA (Diet-Induced Variability in Appetite) – It has been suggested that achieving weight loss through traditional daily energy restriction may be problematic due to the reduction in lean mass and subsequent compensatory drive to overeat. Alternate day fasting (ie ad libitum “feed day”, alternated with 25% energy intake “fast day”) has generated interest in recent years as an alternative weight loss strategy for its favourable effects on body composition as it may attenuate the reduction in lean mass and the compensatory drive to overeat seen with traditional energy restriction. DIVA is a proof of concept RCT investigating the impact of 5% supervised weight loss through standard daily energy restriction or alternate day fasting on homeostatic and hedonic determinants of appetite on overweight and obesity women. By comparing these two contemporary strategies, this project will provide insight into the appetitive processes involved in compensatory adaptations - whether physiological, psychological or behavioural - that occur with diet-induced weight loss.