Remove Smells of Food to Lose Weight?
The smells of food bring us the pleasure of eating, but they could also be the vector of storage of calories. Removing smell temporarily could help combat obesity.
Who has never regaled beforehand by smelling the smell of a good little dish simmering on the fire? Food odors are largely responsible for the pleasure of eating, but they also have an undesirable effect on our weight: they help us store the fat we eat rather than burn it.
In a study published in Cell Metabolism, researchers gave different diets to mice having lost or retained their sense of smell .They found that the former lost weight – and only fat, not the muscle or tissues needed – while the latter took in the same dietary intake.Other mice with an overdeveloped sense of smell became even bigger with a fat diet than mice with normal smell. Results that lead scientists to ask the question of odors of food in humans.
The Key Would Be in the Brain
Humans who have lost sense of smell due to age, disease or accident are known to eat less or even become anorexic. But the causes are not very clear because the loss of smell often causes depression that leads to a loss of appetite. This new research seems to point to a direct effect of loss of smell. The smell of eating would play a role in how the body uses the ingested calories.
Celine Riera, a former post-doctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, explains that “mice and humans are less sensitive to odors when they are satiated than when they are hungry.The lack of smell of a dish could suggest to the body that it has already eaten and that it can stop storing the new calories and on the contrary burn them. “The sensory system plays a role in the metabolism. Weight gain is not just a question of ingested calories, it is related to how these calories are perceived, “adds Andrew Dillin, senior author of the study. In the brain, the area of smell and the one managing the metabolism would be connected.
Melt the Fat
When researchers temporarily destroyed olfactory neurons in mice, they quickly burned calories by regulating their sympathetic nervous system, known to increase fat melting. Rodents converted beige fat (subcutaneous fat located on the belly and thighs) into brown fat, known to burn fatty acids and turn them into heat. Some mice have thus transformed almost all their beige fat into brown fat, becoming somehow burning machines, with a form weight. Same finding for the white fat that surrounds the organs that has decreased in volume.Last beneficial effect of loss of smell: mice with glucose intolerance in addition to their obesity (diabetes risk factor), also regained a normal tolerance.
An Alternative To Bariatric Surgery?
Despite all these encouraging aspects, several obstacles remain. First, these results were obtained in mice. It would be necessary to be able to attest them to the Man. Then, the loss of smell also has deleterious effects on the body: it increases the production of noradrenaline, a sympathetic nervous system stress response hormone. In doing so, it multiplies the risk of heart attack.
According to the researchers, depriving all patients who wish to lose a little weight of their sense of smell is not a feasible solution. On the other hand, this technique could be an alternative to bariatric surgery in the treatment of obesity. This would involve removing the sense of smell for six months to reprogram the person’s metabolism before allowing the olfactory neurons to rebuild and then restoring that sense to the patient.