What triggers hedonistic eating?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Hedonistic eating is emotional eating; it is driven by the need for pleasure not hunger. When eating is motivated by pleasure, rather than hunger, in the brain reward chemical signals are activated which leads to overeating. The phenomenon ultimately affects weight and may be a major factor in the rise of obesity.

Hedonic hunger’ refers to the desire to eat for pleasure, and to enjoy the taste, rather than the body’s energy needs. For example, desiring and eating a piece of cake even after a filling meal is generally driven by pleasure and not by hunger. The physiological process underlying hedonistic eating is not fully understood, but it is likely that hormones regulating reward mechanisms in the brain, like the hormone ghrelin, are involved.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.