Changes to brain response and behavior when we begin to consume something regularly may have important impacts on eating habit formation. This study investigates how a daily consumption of a sugar-sweetened beverage or unsweetened beverage affect brain and behavioral response. This study is currently enrolling adults (18-35 y) to participate in a three week intervention, during which those eligible will drink one, 10oz beverage every day. Participation also includes a behavioral assessment and brain scan, before and after the intervention.



The SPROUTS study is a continuation of the Pregnancy Eating Attributes Study (PEAS), and follows mother-child pairs through early childhood. This study investigates how eating behaviors and food choices develop in early life and aims to obtain information that can help shape programs to promote eating healthy. The study is currently enrolling families who participated in the PEAS study, and involves an in-person visit once a year for 3 years. We collect self-reported dietary and feeding practices data from mothers, on-site observation of mealtime and snacking behaviors, and use age-appropriate games to assess child executive function and impulse control. This study is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


Beverage Learning (BeveL)

The BeveL study will examine how the brain response to tasty and not-so-tasty feedback. The study involves completion of a single study visit, including a taste test, height and weight measurement, questionnaires, a finger stick, and fMRI scan.



Desire to eat high fat and high sugar foods is a barrier to weight loss and weight maintenance for many people. This study investigates how a type 2 diabetes treatment (Cycloset) may improve satiation and reduce the desire to eat high fat/sugar foods by improving fullness signals in the brain. This study is currently enrolling healthy adults (18-35 y) to participate in a screening visit. Those who qualify for the full study will be asked to complete two study visits (2 weeks apart), at which they will complete a functional MRI (fMRI) scan, blood draws, and to take either the type 2 diabetes medication Cycloset or a placebo.


Pregnancy Eating Attributes Study (PEAS)

There is much to learn about what foods women eat during this exciting time and the reasons for these choices. Scientists would like to understand better what motivates mothers’ eating behaviors in order to develop programs to help women achieve optimal nutrition for a healthy pregnancy. This study is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health.



How people learn from rewards and punishment is thought to guide behavior including eating habits. This study aims to alter better understand how food reward relates reward-based learning of symbols and easily that learning is disrupted.  These aspects of reward of well be tested for relationships weight and weight change. This study is funded bythe Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health.


The Juice Study

Registration, Protocol, & Assessment Tools

The neuroimaging study focused on the brain’s response to juice intake. Participants drank a juice beverage on a daily basis for three weeks in total; complete taste tests, behavioral questionnaires, height, weight, and computer tasks and fMRI scans. This study is supported by NIDDK grant P30DK056350 to the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center.


fMRI Workshop

NIBL partnered with the John and Laura Arnold Foundation and the Center of Reproducible Neuroscience at Stanford to conduct a one week fMRI training session at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill from December 11- 15, 2017. Thank you to everyone who attended!


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
American Diabetes Association