It is human nature to smell a particularly delicious looking plate of food when it arrives at the table. However, if you are trying to lose weight, you may want to stop doing that. Researchers at the University of Berkeley suggest that smelling food prior to consumption may cause weight gain. The study they performed with mice shows that the ones that smelled food before consumption were fatter than those that did not have a Sense Of Smell.

How was the research conducted?

Researchers at the University of Berkeley performed a study where they tried to establish whether olfactory senses had any connection to the way the body deals with the calories consumed during a meal.

For the experiment, they looked at three groups of mice. Mice in one group were stripped of their sense of smell at the beginning of the test, while mice of the other group had normal olfactory senses. The third group were induced with certain chemicals, which temporarily boosted their smelling prowess.

Researchers used two methods to ensure that the mice in the study lost their sense of smell temporarily. Firstly, the researchers used genetic engineering to induce a diphtheria receptor in the olfactory neurons of the creature. The neurons died when the diphtheria toxin was sprayed in their nose.

Another method was also devised where a benign virus would carry the diphtheria receptor to the olfactory neuron, which in turn would deactivate the sense when diphtheria toxin was sprayed.

Both of these methods were successful in eliminating the sense of smell.

What the results revealed

It was discovered that those mice that had their smell sense intact gained weight and became fat over time on the diet presented by the researchers. In some cases, the weight increased by almost 100 percent, meaning that those that weight around 1.05 ounce at the onset of the study gained an immense amount of weight and became 2 ounces.

The mice with no sense of smell though did not gain any weight. In fact, the fat mice in this group lost weight rapidly. These results are even more ground-breaking considering both the groups were fed the same food and given the same amount of calories.

These results establish that there is a hidden connection between smell and the way the body deals with the calories being consumed.

However, researchers warn that prolonged Loss Of Smell could cause stress in human beings, which could lead to a heart attack. The scientists feel that a temporarily induced loss of smell could help clinically obese people to lose weight without having to undergo complex medical procedures, like bariatric surgery and having their stomachs stapled.