The Chocolate Study 2.0

Overview

The purpose of this study is to test how the brain responds when enjoyable foods such as chocolate are consumed. The investigators know that eating certain types of foods can make an individual want to keep eating even when he or she is full. The chemical in the brain that causes this is called dopamine. The investigators can measure this response by looking at changes to how an individual's eye responds to light.

Full Title of Study: “Assessment of Dopaminergic Neurotransmission in Response to Tasting Chocolate (The Chocolate Study 2.0)”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Observational
  • Study Design
    • Time Perspective: Other
  • Study Primary Completion Date: September 5, 2019

Detailed Description

The overall objective of this study is to determine dopamine (DA) neuromodulation (changes in b-wave amplitude as measured by electroretinography (ERG)) in response to consuming a highly reinforcing food (chocolate). The investigators hypothesize that orosensory stimulation with chocolates with increasing sugar content will increase the beta wave (b-wave) amplitude and the increase in the b-wave amplitude will correlate with score changes on the Psychophysical Effects Questionnaire (PEQ). This will be accomplished by testing different chocolates (extreme dark (90% cocoa), dark (70% cocoa), milk (38% cocoa), and white (0% cocoa)) on different days using 1.0 cd∙s/m2 flash luminance energy.

Interventions

  • Other: Chocolate
    • Participants will be asked to taste commercially available chocolate varying in sugar, fat and percent cocoa (extreme dark (90%), dark (70%), milk (38%), and white (0%)).

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Chocolate
    • Participants will be asked to taste commercially available chocolate varying in sugar, fat and percent cocoa.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Retinal dopamine response to oral stimuli
    • Time Frame: 30 minutes
    • Electroretinograph b-wave amplitude will increase in response to increases in the amount of sugar in the chocolate.

Secondary Measures

  • Correlation between b-wave amplitude and PEQ scores
    • Time Frame: 30 minutes
    • The change in b-wave amplitude will positively correlate to Psychophysical Effects Questionnaire (PEQ) score changes.
  • Correlation between b-wave amplitude and habitual dietary intake
    • Time Frame: 30 minutes
    • A preference for dark chocolate and/or a greater habitual fat intake will positively correlate with the retinal dopamine-mediated response to the dark chocolates (90% and 70% cocoa) and a preference for milk chocolate and/or a greater habitual added sugar will positively correlate with the retinal dopamine-mediated response to the milk and white chocolates. Higher amounts of artificial sweetener intake will will positively correlate with the retinal dopamine-mediated response to the milk and white chocolates. Greater habitual chocolate intake will positively correlate to changes in b-wave amplitude.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • BMI 20-24.9 kg/m2
  • ability to understand and sign the consent form
  • availability of transportation (i.e., participants must be able to provide their own transportation to the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center)
  • be free of any major illness/disease

Exclusion Criteria

  • food allergies
  • participation in a weight loss diet/exercise program
  • pregnancy
  • lactation
  • metabolic illness/disease (diabetes, renal failure, thyroid illness, hypertension)
  • eye illness/disease (narrow angle glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataracts)
  • psychiatric, neurological or eating disorders (schizophrenia, depression, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, cerebral palsy, stroke, epilepsy, anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa)
  • taking any type of prescription medication with the exception of oral contraceptives and antihyperlipidemia agents

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 30 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • USDA Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Shanon Casperson, Research Biologist – USDA Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Shanon Casperson, PhD, Principal Investigator, USDA Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center

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