Appetite regulation and energy balance

Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2005 Jun;94(448):40-1. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb02128.x.


The decision to begin eating or to stop eating is a complex process. Hunger is primarily driven by hunger signals, like ghrelin and neuropeptide Y, originating from the gastrointestinal tract and from the hypothalamus. The hunger signals stimulate the seeking of food and the eating, being activating for the body and mind. Thirty minutes after the start of eating, satiety signals arise from the intestinal tract and, in between meals, from the adipose tissue and liver. Satiety signals are sedative and arrest the processing of food in the intestine, hence leading to termination of eating. One problem with overeating today is the ready access to palatable food, such as sucrose and fat. The palatable food works by weakening the satiety signals and activating the hunger signals. The reward system with endogenous opiates may also be activated.

Conclusions: Food and drinks rich in sucrose and fat should be given in a restricted way to children, since there is no biological control feedback to regulate the intake of such products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation / physiology*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Satiety Response / drug effects
  • Satiety Response / physiology*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology


  • Dietary Fats
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose