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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. 

NOTICE: This website will be discontinued by the end of 2021. Resources can still be found at the OSF project pages of Paul Smeets.

Nudge-it symposium

On April 13th a symposium about healthy food choice will take place in Utrecht. 

Nudge-it Public symposium

Healthy food choice – state of the art, challenges & solutions

12.30 – 18.30 h 13 April 2016, UMC Utrecht
Heidelberglaan 100, Auditorium (Q01.226)

Nudge-it is a European Commission-funded FP7 project bringing together internationally leading experts in the neurobiology of motivational behaviour, reward and regulation of appetite, experimental psychology, functional brain imaging, behavioural economics and computational modelling. The overall aim of Nudge-it is to better understand decision-making in food choice and to build predictive models to contribute to improving public health policy.

This symposium takes places on the occasion of the Nudge-it midterm meeting, held in Utrecht.

In view of the obesity problem and the associated burden on health care systems it is clear that healthy eating behaviour needs to be promoted. Many people have the intention to eat healthy but nevertheless, overweight and obesity continue to be growing problems. How can we convince the population at risk to make more healthy food choices in our ‘obesogenic environment’?

In this symposium speakers from different disciplines and positions address questions such as:

* Which approaches have been shown to be effective in promoting healthy (eating) behaviour and inducing sustainable lifestyle changes?

* Which knowledge is needed to develop better strategies to affect food choice?

* How can this knowledge be put in to practice? Which policy or government initiatives are needed?

The symposium will be chaired by Dr. Benedikt Herrmann, who is leader of a group of Behavioural Economists at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.


12.30 – 12.40 Welcome & Opening. Dr. Benedikt Herrmann  (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

12.40 – 13.10 Nudging for better health - concept, choices and critique. Prof. Lucia Reisch (Copenhagen Business School)

13.10 – 13.40 Taking advantage of psychological insights: why nudging is the better alternative for promoting healthier food choices. Prof. Denise de Ridder (Utrecht University, Health Psychology)

13.40 – 14.10 What is needed for successful behaviour change in obesity prevention interventions? Prof. Hans Brug (VU University Medical Center)

14.10 – 14.40 Healthy food choices: Spurning, Learning and Yearning. Dr. Liesbeth Zandstra (Unilever R&D)

14.40 – 15.10 Coffee break

15.10 – 15.40 On sustainable and healthy nutrition. Dr. Jan Steijns (FrieslandCampina Innovation)

15.40 – 16.10 Implementation of healthy eating interventions. Fréderike Mensink (Netherlands Nutrition Centre)

16.10 – 16.40 The Dutch policy on nutrition, overweight and obesity - the challenge. Dr. Henk Reinen (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS))

16.40 – 17.10 Getting kids to eat healthier - Policies inspired by Behavioural Economics. Dr. Michele Belot (University of Edinburgh)

17.10 – 17.40 Round table discussion & wrap up. Moderator Dr. Benedikt Herrmann. 

Identify current challenges in changing eating behaviour and possible road map towards solutions: how can we help people to eat more healthily and change their lifestyle?

17.45 – 18.30 Drinks


Seating is limited, so please register.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name and affiliation.

Cost: 25 euro, students 15 euro, which includes drinks & snacks.


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