Palatable foods are frequently high in energy density. Chronic consumption of high-energy density foods can contribute to the development of cardiometabolic pathology including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This article reviews the contributions of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence the reward components of food intake.
A narrative review was conducted to determine the behavioral and central nervous system (CNS) related processes involved in the reward components of high-energy density food intake.
The rewarding aspects of food, particularly palatable and preferred foods, are regulated by CNS circuitry. Overlaying this regulation is modulation by intrinsic endocrine systems and metabolic hormones relating to energy homeostasis, developmental stage, or gender. It is now recognized that extrinsic or environmental factors, including ambient diet composition and the provocation of stress
or anxiety, also contribute substantially to the expression of food reward behaviors such as motivation
for, and seeking of, preferred foods.
High-energy density food intake is influenced by both physiological and pathophysiological processes. Contextual, behavioral, and psychological factors and CNS-related processes represent potential targets for multiple types of therapeutic intervention.