Satiety and smell

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: September 25th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If, like millions of other Americans, you are trying to lose weight, you may want to add a new tool to your dieting arsenal: your sense of smell. Some manufacturers are now producing products designed to manipulate the olfactory senses in an effort to help consumers lose weight.

One such product promises to help dieters drop pounds by enhancing the smell and taste of food. The granules, designed to be sprinkled over food, are supposed to signal the part of the brain that tells us we’re full, causing it to release hormones that suppress appetite. Another product performs the opposite function. It attempts to curb the appetite by blocking rather than enhancing smell.

Researchers say there’s definitely a link between satiety and smell. In fact, eighty percent of what we perceive as taste is actually smell.

There is some research to back up the theory that smell can be used to manipulate appetite. In one study, patients were given inhalers containing aromatic ingredients, which they inhaled whenever they were hungry. They were instructed to keep their normal diet and exercise routines, but lost an average of five pounds a month.

Still, many experts have doubts. They say more research is necessary before any definite conclusions can be made. And some of the consumers who have tried these products complained they didn’t make them feel full.

So, in the meantime, the best way to lose weight still comes down to this: Eat less and exercise more.