Nutrition across the lifespan encompasses both preventative and treatment options to maintain health and vitality. This review will focus on the challenge of overconsumption of energy relative to energy expenditure and the consequent development of overweight and obesity, since they are responsible for much of the burden of chronic disease in the developed world. Understanding the mechanisms of hunger and satiety and how particular foodstuffs and nutrients affect appetite and motivation to eat is important for evidence-based interventions to achieve weight control and design of community-wide dietary strategies that reach across the lifespan. Food reformulation for appetite control and weight management requires a knowledge of the mechanisms of hunger and satiety, how food interacts with peripheral and central regulatory systems, and how these interactions change across the lifecourse, allied to the technical capability to generate, evaluate and develop new ingredients and foods with enhanced biological potency based on these mechanisms. Two European Union-funded research projects, Full4Health and SATIN, are adopting these complementary approaches. These research projects straddle the sometimes conflicted ground between justifiable public health concerns on the one hand and the food and drink industry on the other. These multi-disciplinary projects pull together expertise in nutrition, neuroimaging, psychology and food technology that combines with food industry partners to maximise expected impact of the research. Better knowledge of mechanisms regulating hunger/satiety will lead to evidence base for preventive strategies for the European population, to reduction of chronic disease burden and to increased competitiveness of European food industry through the development of new food products.
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