Hedonic sensations implicated in the control of human food intake : alimentary alliesthesia and sensory-specific satiety

Abstract : The control of food intake is a complex and multifactorial process controlled by the CNS. It is implicated in the regulation of body weight and the supply of energy substrates, as well as the supply of a panoply of nutrients to cover the specific needs of the organism. Among all the factors involved, hedonic sensations play an important role in guiding food selection and limitation of intake. The theoretical section of this thesis takes into account the physio-anatomical aspects of the control of food intake, in particular sensory pleasure and its evaluation, within the framework of the three principal hedonic phenomena: Conditioned Satiety (CS), Alimentary alliesthesia (AA) and sensory-specific satiety (SSS). The experimental section evaluated the impact of various manipulations of food (adding non-caloric and caloric condiments to simple or prepared foods, offering condiments successively or simultaneously, alternating foods in a meal) on hedonic sensations and on food intake in the short term. Four studies were performed in normal-weight and overweight human subjects of both genders. The first study in three experiments in simple foods suggests that specific satiation and energy intake depend on the sensory properties of foods and thus on the sensory stimulation exerted on oropharyngeal receptors. Under the present experimental conditions, the influence of SSS turned out to be more important than that of AA in limiting specific intake. However, this limitation by SSS could be overridden by modification of the sensory properties of the food eaten to specific satiation: in parallel with the re-increase in pleasure for the flavor, food intake was resumed when a second food with distinctive flavor was offered or when non-caloric condiments were added.The second study re-examined the data of the first one according to anthropometric and demographic characteristics of the population and provided evidence for similar hedonic control of food intake in obese and normal weight persons with simple unseasoned and unprocessed foods. These results suggest that the nature and the presentation of food stimuli impacted food intake more than person-related traits like gender, age or BMI. The third study induced successive and simultaneous sensory variety by adding condiments to ‘fast food’ style meal, and increased food pleasantness and intake. Successive variety was more efficient in increasing intake than simultaneous access to condiments. These results seem to show that renewal in sensory stimulation produces disruption of sensory-specific satiety which may explain the increase of food intake and might be playing a role in the actual obesity epidemic. The fourth study investigated the impact of several levels of alternation of foods. Moderate alternation in a two-course meal increased food intake in the short term, probably by disruption of sensory tuning to a given flavor and may explain the increased intake with sensorily varied meals. Multiple alternations of foods however decreased intake, probably caused by sensory overstimulation. SSS seems to have two opposite intrinsic teleonomies: on the one hand it specifically limits intake of foods eaten, while on the other hand it promotes variety seeking. In this thesis, both functions could be manipulated through simple modifications of the sensory properties of foods or of the way they were offered. In the long term, these kinds of manipulations might compromise a body-mass index medically considered as healthy. The modification of the flavor alone was sufficient to increase pleasure and in turn food intake. The prolongation of intake of the same food when offered with two distinct flavors seems to be related to cerebral representation as two distinct foods. The question on whether sensory pleasure is a sign of usefulness of food stimuli or mere sensory stimulation of the chemical senses may ultimately depend on the nature of the food stimulus.
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Michael Romer. Hedonic sensations implicated in the control of human food intake : alimentary alliesthesia and sensory-specific satiety. Agricultural sciences. Université de Bourgogne, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011DIJOS081⟩. ⟨tel-00728852⟩

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