How the smell of food affects how much you eat

Bite size depends on the familiarly and texture of food. Smaller bite sizes are taken for foods which need more chewing and smaller bite sizes are often linked to a sensation of feeling fuller sooner. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Flavour, launched today, shows that strong aromas lead to smaller bite sizes and suggests that aroma may be used as a means to control portion size.

The aroma experience of food is linked to its constituents and texture, but also to bite size. Smaller bites sizes are linked towards a lower flavour release which may explain why we take smaller bites of unfamiliar or disliked foods. In order to separate the effect of aroma on bite size from other food-related sensations researchers from the Netherlands developed a system where a custard-like dessert was eaten while different scents were simultaneously presented directly to the participants nose.

The results showed that the stronger the smell the smaller the bite. Dr Rene A de Wijk, who led the study, explained, "Our human test subjects were able to control how much dessert was fed to them by pushing a button. Bite size was associated with the aroma presented for that bite and also for subsequent bites (especially for the second to last bite). Perhaps, in keeping with the idea that smaller bites are associated with lower flavour from the food and that, there is an unconscious using bite size to regulate the amount of flavour experienced."

This study suggests that manipulating the of food could result in a 5-10% decrease in intake per bite. Combining aroma control with portion control could fool the body into thinking it was full with a smaller amount of food and aid weight loss.

BioMed Central's open access journal Flavour, launched today is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal that publishes interdisciplinary articles on flavour, its generation, perception, and influence on behaviour and nutrition. Flavour aims to understand the psychophysical, psychological and chemical aspects of flavour, which include not only taste and , but also chemesthesis, texture, and all the senses.

More information: Food aroma affects bite size, Rene A de Wijk, Ilse A Polet, Wilbert Boek, Saskia Conraad and Johannes HF Bult, Flavour (in press)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Diners who use big forks eat less: study

Jul 14, 2011

Researchers have found a new way to control the amount we eat: use a bigger fork. While numerous studies have focused on portion sizes and their influence on how much we eat, researchers Arul and Himanshu Mishra and Tamara ...

Pistachios make healthy decafs

Jun 23, 2011

If caffeine gets your blood pumping more than it should, here's a piece of good news: when roasted appropriately, pistachios can become a tasty and healthier substitute for coffee, with all the aromas and ...

Crocodilians bite with the best

Mar 14, 2012

Crocodiles can kill with the strongest bite force measured for any living animal, according to a report published Mar. 14 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Recommended for you

Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Length of emergency room stay for trauma patients is shorter with the use of electronic health records, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JVK
not rated yet Mar 22, 2012
http://www.socioa...ew/17338 Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors
by James V. Kohl
Conclusion: As the psychological influence of food odors and social orders is examined in detail,the socioaffective nature of olfactory cues on the biologically based development of sexual preferences across all species that sexually reproduce becomes clearer.
Citation: Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2012, 2: 17338 - DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338

Aroma is not just about appetite and food. Olfactory/pheromonal input conditions behaviors that are directly linked to the variety of food choices and mate choices in species from microbes to man.