Cafeteria diet impairs expression of sensory-specific satiety and stimulus-outcome learning

A range of animal and human data demonstrates that excessive consumption of palatable food leads to neuroadaptive responses in brain circuits underlying reward. Unrestrained consumption of palatable food has been shown to increase the reinforcing value of food and weaken inhibitory control; however, whether it impacts upon the sensory representations of palatable solutions has not been formally tested. These experiments sought to determine whether exposure to a cafeteria diet consisting of palatable high fat foods impacts upon the ability of rats to learn about food-associated cues and the sensory properties of ingested foods. We found that rats fed a cafeteria diet for 2 weeks were impaired in the control of Pavlovian responding in accordance to the incentive value of palatable outcomes associated with auditory cues following devaluation by sensory-specific satiety.

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