Potent foods make for petite bites

By Shayna Brouker • Published: July 27th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Still trying to get fit for bikini season? The key to weight loss is simply consuming less calories … and the nose just might know best when it comes to portion control. A new study published in the journal Flavour found that the smellier the food, the fewer bites taken.

To sniff out the source of this phenomenon, scientists fitted volunteers with a nosepiece that supplied varying whiffs of a vanilla custard dessert. As the scent got stronger, the subjects ate less of the creamy treat, by about 10 to 15 percent.

Taking daintier bites of such delectable food is normal, since we associate aromatic scents with richer, more decadent food. People also take smaller bites of food they don’t like or aren’t familiar with, as well as those that vary depending on texture.

The news gives notice to dieters or those simply trying to eat more mindfully: Slow down, savor and truly sense, rather than shovel, every morsel of food that goes into your mouth. Mindful eating can make you take in less calories at meals and aid weight loss overall by letting your hunger signals stay in touch with your stomach. That is, giving your brain a chance to tell your tummy it’s full before you get stuffed.

Start by eliminating all distractions, especially the T-V, and concentrate only on the task at hand: eating. You might even turn off the lights and light a candle. Commit to spending at least 20 minutes on your meal. Chew each mouthful thoroughly to get the most out of every morsel. Letting food linger in your mouth lets your stomach feel satisfied sooner. Pause between forkfuls and take a sip of water. Be sure to stop when you’re full, not when the plate is empty. And of course, go ahead and take a nice long whiff of the dish before you start in. You’ll start off on the right fork.