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Smelling food may make you fatter, says science

HEALTHY LIVNIG_Smelling food

by Ewan Sargent
Bakeries pumping the smell of muffins and cinnamon rolls out to the footpath to lure you in might be also making you fatter than you should be.
Same goes for that wonderful fish and chip shop hot fat smell that draws you in from the car park.
That’s the startling suggestion in just-published research on mice that looked at the link between weight gain and smell.
Researchers at University of California Berkley discovered that smelling food before eating it could increase weight gain independently of how much fat is in the food. In other words, if you eat the same food after smelling it and after not smelling it, you’ll get fatter after smelling it.
The scientists suggest this might indicate a link between a sense of smell and metabolism. The results were published in Cell Metabolism.
Mice fed the same high-fat diet showed big differences in weight gain depending on whether or not their sense of smell had been temporarily switched off.
The researchers tested three groups of mice. One had normal smell ability. The second had its sense of smell disabled temporarily, and the third were a group of “super smellers”. All groups were fed the same high-fat “Burger King diet”.
The normal mice nearly doubled in size. The mice that couldn’t smell only gained 10 per cent more. The super-smellers got even fatter than the normal mice.
Researchers speculate that smells might help tell the body what to do with calories. If you can’t smell the food, your body may burn it rather than store it as fat.
One of the researchers, Andrew Dillin, says if the smell-metabolism link can be validated in humans it might be possible to make a drug that doesn’t interfere with smell, but still blocks that metabolism link.
Such a drug would help weight loss by revving up a body’s fat-burning systems. It might also help improve what can be done for people who have lost their sense of smell through ageing or diseases like Parkinson’s.
But the researchers say one reason for caution is when the sympathetic nervous system gets more active, humans also produce more hormone noradrenaline – and that can trigger a heart attack. (-Stuff.com)


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