This chapter reviews the recent literature on hormonal and neural signals critical to the regulation of individual meals and body fat. Rather than eating in response to acute energy deficits, animals eat when environmental conditions (social and learned factors, food availability, opportunity, etc.) are optimal. Hence, eating patterns are idiosyncratic. Energy homeostasis, the long-term matching of food intake to energy expenditure, is accomplished via controls over the size of meals. Individuals who have not eaten sufficient food to maintain their normal weight have lower levels of adiposity signals (leptin and insulin) in the blood and brain, and one consequence is that meal-generated signals (such as CCK) are less efficacious at reducing meal size. The converse is true if individuals are above their normal weight, when they tend to eat smaller meals. The final section reviews how these signals are received and integrated by the CNS, as well as the neural circuits and transmitters involved.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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