Sniff your way to weight loss?

Manipulating scent could help people lose weight, some say

A range of new products promise to help dieters sniff their way to weight loss, the New York Times reports. Available since last summer, Sensa granules can be scattered over food, and are supposed to make people less hungry by enhancing taste and smell, signaling the “satiety centre” of the brain until appetite-suppressing hormones are released. “Every time I touch a piece of food, I pour it on,” said Wendy Bassett, 34, who says she’s lost 30 pounds after using the product since February. Other products include SlimScents, aromatherapy diet pens filled with fruity or minty smells; a peppermint spray called Happy Scent; and a vanilla-scented Aroma Patch, worn on the hand, wrist or chest. “Eighty per cent of what you perceive as taste is actually smell,” said Christopher Adams, a molecular biologist who plans to offer a nasal spray to curb appetite by blocking smell. “The hypothesis is that if we can alter your sense of smell we can make food less palatable, because the hedonic effect—that is, the pleasurable effect you get from eating chocolate—won’t be there.” In one study, 3,193 patients were given aromatic inhalers, and inhaled whenever hungry while keeping normal diet and exercise routines. They lost an average of 5 pounds a month. Even so, some experts question the products’ effectiveness. “There’s been a theory around for a number of years that if you saturate your sensory system that you’ll not be as hungry,” said Dr. Richard L. Doty, the director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. “There needs to be more research done.”

The New York Times

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