This minireview focuses on the interpretative value of ingestive microstructure by summarizing observations from both rodent and human studies. Preliminary data on the therapeutic manipulation of distinct microstructural components of eating are also outlined. In rodents, the interpretative framework of ingestive microstructure mainly concentrates on deprivation state, palatability, satiation, and the role of learning from previous experiences. In humans, however, the control of eating is further influenced by genetic, psychosocial, cultural, and environmental factors, which add complexity and challenges to the interpretation of the microstructure of meal intake. Nevertheless, the presented findings stress the importance of microstructural analyses of ingestion, as a method to investigate specific behavioral variables that underlie the regulation of appetite control.
Keywords: appetite regulation; eating speed; ingestive behavior; ingestive microstructure; meal size.