Satiation brings eating to an end. By contrast, satiety inhibits eating between meals. Both are well-documented mechanisms.
Scientists are now investigating the cerebral (brain) mechanisms underpinning food reward.
Researchers are now able to use new methods of brain imaging to identify brain sites where activity corresponds to food liking and food wanting. Activity in these brain sites is different according to your physiologic state (hungry vs. sated). It also differs between overweight and normal-weight individuals, particularly when people are under stress.
The concept of “reward homeostasis” suggests that when you feel satisfied by the pleasure you get from food, this helps you control your body weight. In particular, the pleasure you get from food helps you to avoid eating in the absence of hunger.
We clearly need more research in this emerging field. Its early results, however, have opened promising new avenues for the study of food motivation and reward.