Body weight depends on equality between food intake and expenditures of nutrients and energy. This balance is largely achieved by controlling the intake of nutrients based on the size and frequency of meals. Intake is assessed by a pattern of signals eminating from the digestive tract as a meal is in progress. The characteristics of the food and the products of its digestion are used to inform the CNS continuously as to the amounts of nutrient ingested. This information is in the form of satiety signals that may be chemical signals or nerve impulses. As the meal proceeds, these satiety signals become progressively stronger, until they cause the meal to end at an appropriate size. In the subsequent intermeal interval, these satiety signals weaken as nutrients are consumed within the body again until the tonic influences driving eating behavior initiate eating.
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