April 2023: $$ Habitual daily intake of a sweet and fatty snack modulates reward processing in humans

Paper: Cell metabolism
Author: Dr. Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah
Institution: Max-Planck-Institute for Metabolism Research, Cologne, Department for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, University Hospital Frankfurt


Project description:

Obesity has severe health consequences and is often the result of increased calorie intake from unhealthy foods. However, why do we find it difficult to abstain from these foods?
In this study, a group of participants received a pudding high in sugar and fat in addition to their regular diet for 8 weeks. The control group consumed a pudding with the same calorie content but lower fat and sugar content. After 8 weeks, the brain's response to high-fat and high-sugar food was significantly increased in the first group, specifically in the dopamine system - the brain's reward area. This study demonstrates for the first time that regular consumption of a western diet teaches the brain to prefer high-fat and high-sugar foods. These changes were independent of metabolic status and weight gain.


Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah, Alexandra G. DiFeliceantonio, Kerstin Albus, Bojana Kuzmanovic, Lionel Rigoux, Sandra Iglesias, Ruth Hanßeen, Marc Schlamann, Oliver A. Cornely, Jens C. Brüning, Marc Tittgemeyer, Dana M. Small. Habitual daily intake of a sweet and fatty snack modulates reward processing in humans. Cell metabolism. Published: March 22, 2023.

Here you can find the paper.


Submitting the Paper of the Month:

Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is using the series “Paper of the Month” to report in an exemplary and hot-off-the-press style on the outstanding work being done by the scientists it supports. We regularly present publications which have recently appeared in especially renowned journals, have emerged from foundation funding and been given appropriate acknowledgment. This is done in the respective categories “Original Paper” and “Review”. In the case of each of these publications, the first author and/or senior author are being funded by the foundation.

We invite all project managers, fellowship recipients and members of graduate study programs to send their work in accordance with the stated criteria as proposal for Paper of the Month to Ms. Anne Asschenfeldt (a.asschenfeldt@ekfs.de).

Anne Asschenfeldt
Anne Asschenfeldt
Scientific Funding: Ongoing Project Funding and Fellowships