Emotional eating and routine restraint scores are associated with activity in brain regions involved in urge and self-control

Samantha M.W. Wood, Susan M. Schembre, Qinghua He, Jeffrey M. Engelmann, Susan L. Ames, Antoine Bechara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Researchers have proposed a variety of behavioral traits that may lead to weight gain and obesity; however, little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying these weight-related eating behaviors. In this study, we measured activation of reward circuitry during a task requiring response and inhibition to food stimuli. We assessed participants' emotional eating, external eating, and two subscales of dietary restraint—routine restraint and compensatory restraint—using the Weight-Related Eating Questionnaire. For routine restraint, we found positive associations with activation in the insula, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in response to high-calorie versus low-calorie foods. For emotional eating, we found positive associations with insula and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation in response to high-calorie versus low-calorie foods. We also found positive associations between emotional eating and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation in response to approach versus inhibition towards high-calorie foods. Thus, our results demonstrate an increase in activation across brain regions related to self-control and urges in response to high-calorie food associated with both emotional eating and routine restraint. Overall, these results support the construct validity of both emotional eating and routine restraint and provide preliminary evidence that these subscales have similar neural correlates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-412
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume165
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Eating behaviors
  • fMRI
  • Interoceptive system
  • Prefrontal system
  • Questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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