Research article

A mathematical model of food intake

  • Received: 06 August 2020 Accepted: 30 November 2020 Published: 15 January 2021
  • The metabolic, hormonal and psychological determinants of the feeding behavior in humans are numerous and complex. A plausible model of the initiation, continuation and cessation of meals taking into account the most relevant such determinants would be very useful in simulating food intake over hours to days, thus providing input into existing models of nutrient absorption and metabolism. In the present work, a meal model is proposed, incorporating stomach distension, glycemic variations, ghrelin dynamics, cultural habits and influences on the initiation and continuation of meals, reflecting a combination of hedonic and appetite components. Given a set of parameter values (portraying a single subject), the timing and size of meals are stochastic. The model parameters are calibrated so as to reflect established medical knowledge on data of food intake from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database during years 2015 and 2016.

    Citation: Mantana Chudtong, Andrea De Gaetano. A mathematical model of food intake[J]. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2021, 18(2): 1238-1279. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2021067

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  • The metabolic, hormonal and psychological determinants of the feeding behavior in humans are numerous and complex. A plausible model of the initiation, continuation and cessation of meals taking into account the most relevant such determinants would be very useful in simulating food intake over hours to days, thus providing input into existing models of nutrient absorption and metabolism. In the present work, a meal model is proposed, incorporating stomach distension, glycemic variations, ghrelin dynamics, cultural habits and influences on the initiation and continuation of meals, reflecting a combination of hedonic and appetite components. Given a set of parameter values (portraying a single subject), the timing and size of meals are stochastic. The model parameters are calibrated so as to reflect established medical knowledge on data of food intake from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database during years 2015 and 2016.


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