Can't Smell? You Just Might Lose Weight
Nothing tastes good when you have a stuffy nose. Anyone who has ever had a cold can attest to that. But what if not being able to smell your food could actually affect your metabolism? A mouse study published in Cell Metabolism suggests it may.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, gave genetically altered mice regular doses of a chemical that causes a temporary loss of the sense of smell. Then they fed the mice either a normal diet or high-fat diet for three months. By the end of the study, the mice fed a normal diet weighed slightly less than mice whose sense of smell was intact. Of the mice fed a high-fat diet, the ones that couldn’t smell weighed 16 percent less than those who could.
Surprisingly, the mice who couldn’t smell didn’t eat less or get more exercise than those that could. The difference? Mice without a sense of smell burned more calories—more brown fat that produces heat through metabolism. Whether humans respond to losing their sense of smell the same way is unknown.