Challenges in quantifying food intake in rodents

Mohamed A. Ali, Alexxai V. Kravitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Feeding is a critical behavior that animals depend on for survival, and pathological alterations in food intake underlie disorders such as obesity and anorexia nervosa. To understand these disorders and their development in animal models, researchers must quantify food intake. Although conceptually straightforward, it remains a challenge to obtain accurate records of food intake in rodents. Several approaches have been used to accomplish this, each with benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we survey the four most common methods for measuring food intake in rodents: manual weighing of food, automated weighing scales, pellet dispensers, and video-based analyses. We highlight each method's benefits and drawbacks for use in feeding research, focusing on accuracy, potential sources of errors, affordability, and practical concerns relating to their use. Finally, we discuss the outlook for feeding devices and unmet challenges for measuring food intake in laboratory rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-191
Number of pages4
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • Eating
  • Feeding
  • Intake
  • Obesity
  • Open-source


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