Obesity could be linked to a greater sense of smell

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  • A study has found that people who are overweight have a greater sense of smell for food.

    A person’s stuggle to stay slim may be caused by brain processes associated with smell, according to researchers at the University of Portsmouth.

    A staggering quarter of adults in the UK are obese and doctors fear the situation will get worse as more people continue to pile on the pounds.

    Dr Lorenzo Stafford, who led the study, said: ‘It could be speculated that for those with a propensity to gain weight, their higher sense of smell for food related odours might actually play a more active role in food intake.’

    The study revealed that people appear to be better at smelling food odours after they have eaten, rather than when they are hungry. Dr Stafford believes this keener sense of smell might compel the individual to carry on eating, even when full.

    The team tested the smelling ability of 64 volunteers and found that people with a higher body mass index (BMI), have a far heightened sense of smell for food compared to those who are slim, particularly after eating.

    ‘Hopefully this research will stimulate more work in this area with the potential to help those who struggle with their weight and those who treat people with weight problems,’ said Dr Stafford.


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