Bad news guys – smelling food before you eat could contribute to weight gain, new research has found.
Researchers in the US have found that the smell of food could actually play a vital role in how our body processes calories.
In a study, scientists at the University of California, Berkely, used gene therapy to eliminate in the sense of smell in a group of obese mice.
Results showed that the mice who couldn't smell lost weight when compared to those who could, even though they all ate the same amount of high-calorie food.
What's more, the mice who were able to smell actually doubled in weight, while mice with a boosted sense of smell put on the most weight.
As it turns out, smelling food could trigger the body into storing calories rather than burning them off.
Céline Riera, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said: “This paper is one of the first studies that really shows if we manipulate olfactory inputs we can actually alter how the brain perceives energy balance, and how the brain regulates energy balance.”
Researchers hope that the study could help people with eating disorders and diseases such as Parkinson's. It's also thought the results will help those who struggle to lose weight.
Senior author Andrew Dillin, said, “Sensory systems play a role in metabolism. Weight gain isn’t purely a measure of the calories taken in; it’s also related to how those calories are perceived,”
“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.”
For now though, it's probably best to avoid walking past that bakery on the way to work.