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The drive to eat in homo sapiens: Energy expenditure drives energy intake

Blundell, John E, Gibbons, Catherine, Beaulieu, Kristine, Casanova, Nuno, Duarte, Cristiana ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6566-273X, Finlayson, Graham, Stubbs, R James and Hopkins, Mark (2020) The drive to eat in homo sapiens: Energy expenditure drives energy intake. Physiology & Behavior, 219 (112846). p. 112846.

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The drive to eat is a component of appetite control, independent of the omnivorous habit of humans, and separate from food choice, satiety and food reward. The drive forms part of the tonic component of appetite and arises from biological needs; it is distinct from episodic aspects of appetite which are heavily influenced by culture and the environment (and which reflect the omnivorous habit). It is proposed that the tonic drive to eat reflects a need state generated by metabolic energy expenditure (EE) required to maintain the functioning and integrity of vital organs. Specifically, the tonic drive is quantitatively associated with fat-free mass (FFM) and resting metabolic rate (RMR). A rational proposition is that high metabolic rate organs (such as heart, liver, kidneys, brain) together with skeletal muscle generate a metabolic need which drives energy intake (EI). The basic phenomenon of a relationship between FFM, RMR and EI, first published in 2011, has been substantially replicated and there are at least 14 concordant published studies carried out in 9 different countries (and 4 continents) with various ethnic groups of lean and obese humans. These studies demonstrate that FFM and RMR represent major determinants of the drive to eat, and this is rational from an evolutionary perspective. The EE of bodily movements through skeletal muscle activity (namely physical activity and exercise) represents another driver which is clearly but more weakly associated with an increase in EI. This account of appetite control, developed within an energy balance framework, is consistent with the apparent inexorable escalation of fatness in individual humans, and for the progressive increase in the prevalence of obesity which, among other factors, reflects the difficulty of managing the biological drive to eat.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.112846
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5772

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