(ORDO NEWS) — For a dieter, it can feel like torture to eat a salad when someone nearby is temptingly crushing chocolate. However, scientists believe that enticing smells can actually help you stick to your diet. But how?
An international team of researchers conducted several experiments involving hundreds of university students to determine whether smell can influence temptation.
Smell against willpower
In the first study, several group members were asked to wear chocolate-scented T-shirts, and then they were asked to watch an irrelevant nature video.
Volunteers were asked to imagine being served a bowl of chocolate ice cream and say how much they would like to eat.
Those who were exposed to chocolate flavors the longest (five minutes versus one minute) said they wanted to eat less ice cream than others.
In the next experiment, participants watched a nature video before being presented with images of four foods: crisps, fruit salad, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate chip granola.
Volunteers were exposed to the flavor of chocolate and again asked to rate how much they would like to eat of each dish on a scale of 0 to 100.
The results showed that those who were exposed to the smell of chocolate were less likely to eat chocolate ice cream or chips, the “unhealthy” options.
The third test analyzed the effect of smell on people who said they were on a diet. The results showed that it was easier for them to restrain themselves after they inhaled the smell of chocolate.
What does it say?
Author Ernest Baskin of St. Joseph’s University of Philadelphia said: “Our results show that dieters may indeed be able to eat less when they are exposed to a particular odor for an extended period of time.”
In other words, the smell of cinnamon rolls can counter-intuitively cause dieters to buy fewer cinnamon rolls.
What is it connected with? The fact is that people who are on a diet usually set themselves the goal of eating less.
When they smell something tasty, it subconsciously reminds them of that goal and so they are more likely to consume or buy less.
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