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The impact of ingesting various foods on psychological and behavioural functions is a topic of both interest and concern to the general public. In this paper, the scientific literature concerning demonstrated cause-and-effect relationships is reviewed, beginning with methodological considerations specific to the quantification of particular behaviours and psychological events. The contributions of macronutrients to appetite and satiety are described, as well as their impact on metabolism and energy balance. The effects of foods and individual nutrients on the performance of diverse psychomotor tasks are studied with consideration given to the various validated quantitative tools used to assess behaviour. The effects of food components on activation, sedation and affective states such as dysphoria are also reviewed, with special attention given to brain function and neuroactive substances such as serotonin and the endorphins. The case of hyperactivity in children is given special emphasis with reference to the potential influence of sugar and food additives. Safety issues related to food constituents and additives are discussed. Finally, a set of criteria is proposed for the evaluation and elaboration of studies in the behavioural and psychological fields, along with suggestions for future research.

This is one of six thematic papers produced within the concerted action 'Functional Food Science in Europe' (FUFOSE), which is part of the European Commission's Fourth Framework Programme for research and technological development.

Additional information

Authors: SPECTER S, INSERM - Unité 341 et Service de Nutrition, Paris (FR);BLUNDELL J E, PsychoBiology Group, Department of Psychology, University of Leeds (GB);DYE L, PsychoBiology Group, Department of Psychology, University of Leeds (GB);FANTINO M, Laboratoire de Physiologie, Faculté de Médicine, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon (FR);FERN E, Nestec Ltd, Nestlé, Vevey (CH);FLETCHER R J, Kellogg Company of Great Britain Ltd, Manchester (GB);LAMBERT J, Mars Confectionery, Division of Mars UK, Slough (GB);ROBERFROID M, UCL, École de Pharmacie, Brussels (BE);WESTENHÖFER J, Department of Nutrition and Home Economics, Advanced Technical College, Hamburg (DE);WESTERTERP-PLANTENGA M S, Department of Sciences, Open University of the Netherlands / Maastricht University, Heerlen (NL);BELLISLE F, INSERM - Unité 341 et Service de Nutrition, Paris (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: A paper published in 'Functional food science in Europe - volume 1', EUR 18591 EN, pp.S173-S193.
Availability: EUR-OP reference: CG-NO-18591-EN-S; price: 71 euros (set of 3 volumes). Available from EUR-OP sales agents. URL:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-828-4776-4 (3
Record Number: 200214678 / Last updated on: 2002-05-08
Original language: en
Available languages: en