Several studies indicate that the outcome of nutritional and lifestyle interventions can be linked to brain ‘signatures’ in terms of neural reactivity to food cues. However, ‘dieting’ is often considered in a rather broad sense, and no study so far investigated modulations in brain responses to food cues occurring over an intervention specifically aiming to reduce sugar intake. We studied neural activity and liking in response to visual food cues in 14 intensive consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages before and after a 3-month replacement period by artificially-sweetened equivalents. Each time, participants were presented with images of solid foods differing in fat content and taste quality while high-density electroencephalography was recorded. Contrary to our hypotheses, there was no significant weight loss over the intervention period and no changes were observed in food liking or in neural activity in regions subserving salience and reward attribution. However, neural activity in response to high-fat, sweet foods was significantly reduced from pre-to post-intervention in prefrontal regions often linked to impulse control. This decrease in activity was associated with weight loss failure, suggesting an impairment in individuals' ability to exert control and adjust their solid food intake over the intervention period. Our findings highlight the need to implement multidisciplinary approaches when aiming to help individuals lose body weight.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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