The smell of a favourite food can literally make your mouth water. But a new study suggests that the stronger a food smells, the less of it you'll eat—so it might be time for dieters to reach for the cured fish and curry.
The study, carried out by the Institute Food and Nutrition in The Netherlands, saw participants serving themselves custard out of squeezy tubes, while different concentrations of custard aroma were wafted past their nostrils. When a stronger smell was used, the amount of custard the participants ate decreased. The result appears in the wonderfully titled journal Flavor.
But why does it happen? The scientists suggest that a stronger smell may subconsciously indicate that a food is richer and higher in calories—meaning the the body's reflex is simply to eat less of it. Regardless of how it works, the scientists suggest that making food more pungent should mean that people take smaller mouthfuls. Something tells me a stinky food diet might not be the most sociable of weight loss programs, though. [Flavor via Scientific American]