Thursday, 7 April 2011

Are Tempting Food Aromas Your Downfall?

You know what it’s like. You’re on a diet and feeling motivated. But on your way to work you pass a bakery. Your sense of smell is on full alert and instantly your resolve diminishes. That delicious, freshly baked aroma sets your stomach grumbling and before you can stop yourself, you’re opening the bakery door. Aromas are the downfall of many a dieter. So how would you feel about taking a pill that could turn down your sense of smell, making tempting foods less desirable?
Bread
Photo: Gilgongo, Flickr.com

Biologists at the University of California have identified the mechanisms triggered by starvation in fruit flies that enhances the nervous system’s response to smell. Fruit flies apparently share many genes with humans. While under observation, scientists discovered that starved flies were drawn to a food source while fed flies wandered around other areas.

When the flies ‘scent-sensing’ antennae were removed, the flies were less interested in the food. Further studies showed that as their insulin levels fell when hungry, they manufactured more of a protein that helps in processing smell and their sense of smell intensified.

Scientists believe they can use this information to create a pill or insulin nasal spray which would tone down the sense of smell, making food aromas less appealing. This could prove highly beneficial to dieters who give in to temptation when confronted with a delicious food aromas. Of course, a great deal more research is necessary, particularly on the extent of the effects on humans. But it’s certainly in interesting idea.


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