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Welcome to the website of the Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory

The Nutritional Neuroscience lab studies the neural correlates of taste, satiety and (unhealthy) food choice, gut-brain interactions, effects of personality characteristics on food-induced brain responses and functional neuroimaging in anorexia nervosa. For more details about our research, recent publications, or our team, check the corresponding pages in the menu above. On our Resources page, you can download stimuli and tasks developed in our laboratory.

Publication in PLOS

Published: Thursday, 13 March 2014

Many of us have loosened our belt a notch after heavy yet highly satisfying meal. But what underlying biological mechanisms actually account for the feelings of satiation after such a meal? Maartje Spetter sheds light on this issue in her most recent publication in PLOS ONE. 

Maartje Spetter recently published a study in PLOS ONE, conducted at our Nutritional Neuroscience Lab, that investigated the separate effects of gastric filling, nutrient sensing in the stomach, and oral exposure to food (sipping, tasting and swallowing it), on feelings of satiation and the accompanying brain responses. To this end, she scanned subjects after either gastric infusion of water, gastric infusion of chocolate milk, or oral (normal) ingestion of chocolate milk. Her main finding was that after normal (oral) food ingestion, subjects felt more satiated than after gastric infusion, and that this was accompanied by greater activation in brain areas related to stomach distention, food intake and satiation. This study provides neural evidence for the importance of the sensory experience in the process of satiation. So, next time you tuck into the buffet, don’t bolt your food but truly take the time to experience its flavors, tastes and textures.

Please click here for the full publication. 

Spetter2014 gastric

The Nutritional Neuroscience Lab is affiliated with the Image Sciences Institute of the UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands.