Lots of interesting research coming out of Northern California, but this one is more on the disappointing side. It turns out that just smelling food is enough to cause some of us to gain weight.
The research was done on mice who were genetically engineered to not have a sense of smell. Those mice were studied alongside regular mice who had their typical sense of smell, and they were all fed the same sort of foods which were high in fat. The mice who could not smell the food actually lost weight despite eating the same amount of food, while the mice who still had their sense of smell gained much more weight on the new diet. There were even some mice who were genetically altered to have an even more sensitive sense of smell, and they gained more weight than the regular mice. To put it in the most basic way, the more sensitive the mouse’s sense of smell, the more weight it gained.
The theory is that our sense of smell is actually tied to our metabolism in the brain. When we smell something we naturally crave, and our brain expects to do certain things with that sense. It also alters our “energy balance,” and whether or not it speeds or slows our metabolism. Scientists say this may open the door to developing new medicine that can help regulate metabolism and contribute to weight-loss procedures and diets.