Those who want to lose weight should think twice before enjoying the wafting aroma of food.
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found a connection between the sense of smell (olfactory) and regions of the brain that regulate the metabolism, particularly the hypothalamus, which can cause weight gain.
Berkeley News reported that the study, which was published in Cell Metabolism journal, involved temporarily smell-deficient mice, regular mice and mice with boosted sense of smell.
For the research, all mice were fed a similar amount of high-fat foods.
However, the smell-deficient mice experienced weight loss due to the readjustment of their sympathetic nervous system, which causes fat-burning.
On the contrary, regular mice gained double their normal weight. Meanwhile, the mice with boosted sense of smell proved to gain more weight compared to the regular mice.
Celine Riera, a former UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow, said that similar to humans, mice are more sensitive to smells when they feel hungry than after they have eaten.
This could imply that the lack of smell in smell-deficient mice tricks the body into thinking it has already eaten.
Meanwhile, the study's senior author Andrew Dillin said that the sensory systems play a role in our metabolism, and weight gain could not purely be measured from calorie intake as it is also related to how those calories are perceived.
Dillin also mentioned that if they could validate the study in humans, there would be a possibility to develop a drug that could block metabolic circuitry to help people lose weight.