The scientists’ advice: Scent can lessen the craving for fatty foods

The scientists’ advice: Scent can lessen the craving for fatty foods

Now and then, pizza for dinner can be delicious. However, if you want to consume less unhealth foods, you can follow a simple trick.

You might often get the feeling of craving for something unhealthy – especially in the afternoon or in the evening, when your blood sugar is low. A lot of things can spark the temptation to eat something sweet or unhealthy, such as an ice cream commercial on tv or the scent of freshly made pizza during a walk.  However, if you want to avoid giving in to the temptation every time, there is a simple trick that you can try.

An American study, published in Science Alert, has concluded that the scent of the food can cause you to lose interest in the exact same food.


Two minutes for the reward system

It isn’t uncommon that most people will feel the urge to eat if they catch the scent of something unhealthy. However, if you are exposed to the scent for just a couple of minutes, the reward system in our brain kicks in and that will alleviate at least part of the craving, says the scientists.

The scent can be an effective tool to resist the hunger for unhealthy foods, says professor Dipayan Biswas from University of South Florida; one of the scientists behind the study.

It is not yet proven, but a possible explanation for the scent of food’s effect could be that the senses are closely intertwined. The brain can’t figure out whether it is our sense of smell or taste enjoying the food.

Even if only a hypothesis, the explanation is supported be earlier studies, which have concluded that our senses affect one another.


The scent of a pizza in the cafeteria

“The scent trick” isn’t just for you to use at home; it has an even greater effect on our choice of food. A study has shown that children are more likely to choose a healthy option, if they are exposed to the scent of pizza, rather than the scent of an apple.

In a cafeteria of an American school, scientists tried to expose 900 children to different scents. With the help of a scent disperser, the scientists made the cafeteria smell like apples, strawberries, pizza, and cookies.

The study showed that 37% of the children chose the unhealthy option when the cafeteria was filled with the scent of apples, while only 21% of the children chose the unhealthy option when the cafeteria smelled like pizza.

If they didn’t use a specific scent, about 37% of the children chose the unhealthy option.


Short bursts are twice as dangerous

The scientists could also conclude that the children whom only caught a brief whiff of something unhealthy were twice as likely to pick the unhealthy option, when compared to those who were allowed to smell cookies for two minutes.

In conclusion, try “inhaling” your food for a couple of minutes next time you approach the pizzeria. Maybe it that can alleviate the craving and you can go home to prepare a healthy dish.



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