Large, binge-type meals of high fat diet change feeding behaviour and entrain food anticipatory activity in mice

T Bake, M Murphy, D G A Morgan, J G Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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Male C57BL/6 mice fed ad libitum on control diet but allowed access to a palatable high fat diet (HFD) for 2 h a day during the mid-dark phase rapidly adapt their feeding behaviour and can consume nearly 80% of their daily caloric intake during this 2 h-scheduled feed. We assessed food intake microstructure and meal pattern, and locomotor activity and rearing as markers of food anticipatory activity (FAA). Schedule fed mice reduced their caloric intake from control diet during the first hours of the dark phase but not during the 3-h period immediately preceding the scheduled feed. Large meal/binge-like eating behaviour during the 2-h scheduled feed was characterised by increases in both meal number and meal size. Rearing was increased during the 2-h period running up to scheduled feeding while locomotor activity started to increase 1 h before, indicating that schedule-fed mice display FAA. Meal number and physical activity changes were sustained when HFD was withheld during the anticipated scheduled feeding period, and mice immediately binged when HFD was represented after a week of this "withdrawal" period. These findings provide important context to our previous studies suggesting that energy balance systems in the hypothalamus are not responsible for driving these large, binge-type meals. Evidence of FAA in HFD dark phase schedule-fed mice implicates anticipatory processes in binge eating that do not involve immediately preceding hypophagia or regulatory homeostatic signalling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
Early online date12 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • feeding pattern
  • palatability
  • food anticipation
  • scheduled feeding
  • binge-like eating


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