New Zealand researchers believe that obese people have a reduced ability to detect and recognize odors compared to people who do not suffer from weight problems. This loss of smell can lead to poor food choices.
Obesity is a global health problem affecting millions of people. It is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. In a recent study, it was revealed that the obesity epidemic in the United States continues to worsen despite billions of dollars spent to curb it.
However, since the medical community has recognized obesity as a disease, many researchers have focused on this complex issue and the factors that influence it.
The relationship between smell and body weight was until now a relatively unknown area of study. Scientists from the University of Otago, New Zealand, discovered this surprising link through a study published in the journal Obesity Reviews. For their research, they analyzed data from published scientific articles about the link between body weight and smell. They also collected information from 1,500 volunteers.
After working on these numbers, they drew conclusions: the more developed a person’s olfactory abilities are, the more likely they are to maintain a balanced body weight, and vice versa. Odor plays a crucial role in eating behavior because it influences the way we identify and choose our foods. A bad sense of smell can lead to unhealthy food choices, and increase the risk of obesity.
The researchers found that overweight or obese people had a reduced ability to smell and identify odors. Based on these findings, they hypothesized that obesity alters a person’s metabolism, affecting the lines of communication between the gut and the brain. The team of Dr. Mei Peng, the lead author of the study, hopes that these results will increase awareness of the relationship between eating habits and the five senses.