Thirst interoception and its relationship to a Western-style diet

Mairead Brannigan, Richard J. Stevenson*, Heather Francis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Less sensitive interoception for hunger and fullness has been observed in people who consume a diet rich in saturated fat and added sugar. In this study we examined whether healthy young people who routinely consume such diets, also demonstrate less sensitive thirst interoception. Participants, varying primarily in diet, were made thirsty by consuming salted chips and later provided with ad libitum access to water, with thirst ratings obtained throughout. A self-report measure of interoceptive awareness was also included plus measures to determine eating habits, memory and executive function. A diet reported as richer in saturated fat and added sugar (an HFS diet) was associated both with less sensitive thirst interoception and with greater attention to somatic signs. Evidence of poorer hippocampal-sensitive learning and memory was also detected. Poorer sensitivity to interoceptive cues appears to be a reliable correlate of an HFS diet and its causal origins are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-429
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysiology and Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


    • Interoception
    • Thirst
    • Individual difference
    • Diet


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