Description

The worldwide increase in obesity and related diseases has called for attention on understanding the complex network of signals that control feeding behavior. Feeding is of course needed for nutrition but drives also other processes such as reward/source of pleasure, being a clear contributor to psycho-physical well-being. In fact, even if the choice of which food we are willing to eat is primary influenced by availability, food choice, intake and the desire to consume one item over another is mainly due to the hedonic effects of food. Fat is an essential component of the mammalian diet, but its availability in nature is often unpredictable. Mammals have adapted to this environmental challenge by developing a network of neural and hormonal signals that align food intake and lipid metabolism to the variable accessibility of fat-rich foods. Thus, as it is accepted the linkage between food and health (i.e. coronary heart disease, obesity, certain cancers are dietrelated), it is also of importance to deeply investigate the association between food and all the positive emotions, such as pleasure, hedonism or reward, and their relationships with satiety.

The present research aims at investigating the biological processes and the molecular mechanisms activated, in the mesocorticolimbic system, during the consumption of local foods (such as olive oil and cheese) in order to evaluate the differences between high-quality local and industrial food and to identify novel neuronal targets able to increase the temporary rewarding effects of consumers and to induce satiety.

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