Being in the store and catching the aroma of fresh bread in the bakery oven can make you want it, even when you’re not hungry. Our sense of smell can influence our eating choices and send us snacking, but researchers may have figured out how to help us better control it. Astudyfrom the University of South Florida suggests just smelling a food you’re craving can reduce those cravings.
Researchers used a fragrance vaporizer that alternated between emitting the scents of different snacks and they also conducted field studies in stores and cafés. Study participants then breathed in the aromas and identified whether the scents affected their appetites. Based on the findings, those who smelled the scents of foods like pizza or cookies for 30 seconds tended to have stronger cravings for them than those who inhaled the scent for a solid two minutes.
Study authors conclude that simply smelling a snack for long enough is enough to reduce your appetite for it. And that the longer you smell it, the less you may crave it. They explain that the body doesn’t register whether you’re just smelling the food or actually eating it. So if you’re struggling to resist the temptation of a snack, try to hold out for two minutes while you enjoy the scent.