Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Is Fasting Response to Food Cues Gender Dependent?

Obesity; ePub 2017 Dec 13; Legger, Cornier, et al

Fasting women may be more sensitive to the reward value of hedonic foods than fasting men, researchers concluded after conducting a recent study. Participants included adult men and women who were either resistant or prone to obesity. They underwent functional MRI while viewing visual food cues involving hedonic foods, neutral foods, and nonfood objects while both fasting and in a fed state. Among the results:

  • In a fasting state there were greater responses in women than men in the nucleus accumbens and insula when shown hedonic vs neutral foods.
  • Differences between men and women were not seen when fed participants were given visual cues.
  • No significant group effects (resistant or prone) or group-by-sex interactions were seen in fasted or fed states.


Legger K, Cornier M, Bessesen D, Mohl B, Thomas E, Tregellas J. Greater reward-related neuronal response to hedonic foods in women compared with men. [Published online ahead of print December 13, 2017]. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.22082.

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