DZD Scientists Participate in an Interdisciplinary EU Project on Nutrition

The European Research Commission will fund the interdisciplinary project “Nudge-it” with nine million euros. DZD scientists from Tübingen are among the research groups from six European countries who will study the metabolic, neurobiological, psychological and social foundations of our eating behavior.

Scientists hope that a better understanding of the principles driving eating behavior will lead to the development of effective prevention programs. One of the great challenges of the future will be coping with a growing number of overweight people ‒ and thus with associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Within the scope of the project and using imaging techniques of brain research, the DZD research groups led by PD Dr. Hubert Preissl (Institute for Medical Psychology of the University of Tübingen / Fetal Magnetoencephalography Center, fMEG) and Prof. Andreas Fritsche (Department of Internal Medicine IV of the University Hospital Tübingen) will explore decision-making processes in the brain which influence eating behavior. Hormonal influences such as from the hormone insulin which is associated with food intake are of particular interest. The Tübingen research groups have many years of experience in this field.
In the extensive project, which consists of behavioral studies, MRI brain scans and laboratory experiments, scientists will investigate how eating behavior develops and how it is impacted by hunger, food prices, stress and physical exercise. In additional field studies with direct contact to consumers, the scientists will explore the influence of social and economic conditions on eating behavior, with a special focus on adolescents. Over the long term, the project will provide the scientific basis for health policy to support better nutrition in society and to provide concrete assistance. As the title says, a “nudge” can perhaps be more effective than prohibiting various foods.