Do Smells Lead to a Healthier Diet?

6 Jun 2012

Each food industry professional knows how the colour, appearance, noise, smell … influence gustative pleasure and food preferences. But no one knew that they influenced nutritional choices. The fragrant smells of family recipes are strong enough to trigger appetite, at any level of satiety. On the contrary, everyone have experienced odourless period of time, with […]

Do Smells Lead to a Healthier Diet?

Each food industry professional knows how the colour, appearance, noise, smell … influence gustative pleasure and food preferences. But no one knew that they influenced nutritional choices.

The fragrant smells of family recipes are strong enough to trigger appetite, at any level of satiety. On the contrary, everyone have experienced odourless period of time, with runny nose, when food desire is gone.

Besides that, as a nutritionist, I know how dangerous can be a buffet for nutritional balance. One is tempted by exaggerated servings of food that he is not used to. So what will happen if you go close to a “smelling home made buffet”?

According to a new study, the smell of melon from a buffet of starters will encourage you to choose the salad rather than the salami. On the dessert buffet, the smell of pears leads to a low-in-calorie dessert, while, on the other hand, the scent of strawberries leads to cakes & sweets (61% of the participants who have smell a strawberry aroma have chosen to eat sugary stuff). Could this be the memory of the strawberry flavoured sweets of childhood?

These are the results of the Science Centre of taste and nutrition of INRA in Dijon: the smells are olfactory starters that influence eating behaviours, but not always in the same way. They are strongly impacted by the food culture of each eater, an intimate past made up ​​of words, aromas, memories associated with family or social circles.

More generally, this study deals with complex components such as food memory, taste & olfactory sensations, cognitive psychology, and cultural choices.

Would the secret of a balanced diet remain in the scents of the atmosphere and the smell that pervade our living spaces?

A new way for professionals, who would be able to offer “healthy atmospheres”.

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