Food reward system: current perspectives and future research needs

Nutr Rev. 2015 May;73(5):296-307. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv002. Epub 2015 Apr 9.


This article reviews current research and cross-disciplinary perspectives on the neuroscience of food reward in animals and humans, examines the scientific hypothesis of food addiction, discusses methodological and terminology challenges, and identifies knowledge gaps and future research needs. Topics addressed herein include the role of reward and hedonic aspects in the regulation of food intake, neuroanatomy and neurobiology of the reward system in animals and humans, responsivity of the brain reward system to palatable foods and drugs, translation of craving versus addiction, and cognitive control of food reward. The content is based on a workshop held in 2013 by the North American Branch of the International Life Sciences Institute.

Keywords: addiction; craving; definitions; food reward system; palatable food; translational science.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive
  • Brain / physiology
  • Craving
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Reward*