BACKGROUND Weight-loss diets often target dietary fat or carbohydrates, macronutrients that are sensed via distinct gut-brain pathways and differentially affect peripheral hormones and metabolism. However, the effects of such diet changes on the human brain are unclear. METHODS We investigated whether selective isocaloric reductions in dietary fat or carbohydrates altered dopamine D2/3 receptor binding potential (D2BP) and neural activity in brain-reward regions in response to visual food cues in 17 inpatient adults with obesity as compared with a eucaloric baseline diet using a randomized crossover design. RESULTS On the fifth day of dietary fat restriction, but not carbohydrate restriction, both D2BP and neural activity to food cues were decreased in brain-reward regions. After the reduced-fat diet, ad libitum intake shifted toward foods high in both fat and carbohydrates. CONCLUSION These results suggest that dietary fat restriction increases tonic dopamine in brain-reward regions and affects food choice in ways that may hamper diet adherence. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00846040 FUNDING. NIDDK 1ZIADK013037.


Valerie L. Darcey, Juen Guo, Amber B. Courville, Isabelle Gallagher, Jason A. Avery, W. Kyle Simmons, John E. Ingeholm, Peter Herscovitch, Alex Martin, Kevin D. Hall


Download this citation for these citation managers:

Or, download this citation in these formats:

If you experience problems using these citation formats, send us feedback.