The Nose Knows: Smelly Foods Make You Eat LessWednesday, March 21, 2012
People tend to take smaller bites of strong smelling food, according to a recent Wageningen University and Research Centre study. Participants in the study ate custard from a special device that allowed them to control how much they ate, and enabled the researchers to measure the amount of food in each bite. The devise also delivered the aroma of the food directly to the back of the participants noses to simulate the way food is smelled and tasted during normal eating. When a strong smell, even a pleasant cream flavor, was used, the participants took smaller bites. "Our aroma was a pleasant-smelling cream aroma presented at low levels of intensity," says senior researcher Rene de Wijk. "We have not tested other smells, but believe that effects can be expected when the aroma `fits` the food, i.e., unusual combinations may not work." The researchers hypothesized that people reduce the amount of food they eat to reduce the amount of flavor they experience at one time. Previous research shows that people feel fuller faster when they take smaller bites, so strong food aromas may help people control the portions and calories.