As if it wasn’t already hard enough trying to avoid piling on the pounds just by living, scientists go and land this one on us: apparently you can put weight on by smelling food. SMELLING FOOD. What are we supposed to do, then? Walk around with cotton wool shoved up our noses? Give us a break.
The study was conducted on mice by a group of researchers at the University of California, who cut off the sense of smell of a group of obese mice in order to test their theory, reports the Independent. The results revealed that the mice who lost their sense of smell shed more weight when on the same diet than those who could still sniff their meals to their heart’s content.
The mice who could smell ended up doubling in weight, while the mice who had their nasal capabilities boosted put on the most pounds.
Scientists now believe that smelling food prior to eating it could actually impact how the body processes calories. Apparently, sniffing your food could signal to the body that it should story the food as fat as opposed to burning it off. How bloody miserable.
“Sensory systems play a role in metabolism,” Andrew Dillin, a senior author of the study, explained. “Weight gain isn’t purely a measure of the calories taken in; it’s also related to how those calories are perceived.”
But the positive news in all of this is that scientists want to use their new understanding to help adapt human metabolisms. “If we can validate this in humans, perhaps we can actually make a drug that doesn’t interfere with smell but still blocks that metabolic circuitry. That would be amazing,” said Dillin.
Researchers believe it could help people with eating disorders, those who are overweight, or people with developing diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Alright then, it’s probably for the greater good. But you won’t catch me sniffing my bowl of spaghetti bolognese right before devouring it, let me tell you.