Certain smells are enough to make your mouth water when it comes to food. The unmistakable scent of bacon cooking, bread fresh out of the oven or warm, melted chocolate can all make you feel suddenly ravenous because they smell so good.
In fact, you’ve probably thought at least once that something smells so good that just sniffing it could make you put on weight. Now it seems as though this could actually be the case, as scientists have suggested that smelling food before eating it could make you pile on the pounds.
New research from the University of California has found that those who are able to smell their food before eating it could put on double the weight of those who don’t or can’t get a sniff. If you have a heightened sense of smell, this could mean bad things for your waistline as, according to the scientists, this means you’ll put on extra weight – even if you’re eating exactly the same food as others.
Celine Riera, from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said: “This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance.”
The researchers have suggested that smelling your food before you eat could trigger the body to store it rather than burn it off, leading to weight gain. This means that you might be better off avoiding the smell of dinner before tucking in.
It’s hoped that the findings could help those who are trying to overcome eating disorders or who struggle to lose weight, with the researching possibly leading to a way to trigger bodies to burn food energy instead of store.
According to senior author Andrew Dillin, professor molecular and cell biology at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, this research proves that it isn’t just what you eat that has an impact on your weight, it is also how your body reacts to and perceives the calories you consume.
He suggests the findings could lead to a drug therapy that temporarily wipes out a person’s sense of smell in order to rewire their metabolism, helping them to lose or gain weight.
We’re not sure if we could give up the smell of fish and chips, curry or barbecue, even temporarily!