Battling the urge to resist fattening food is an everyday struggle. However, regular consumption of this kind of food can have an adverse effect on our health.
In an attempt to come up with a healthier alternative, a recent study suggested that while just a whiff of fried food may entice you to order a high-calorie meal, breathing it in for longer than two minutes can actually help you get rid of the unhealthy craving.
The researchers suggest that this happens because the brain does not necessarily differentiate the source of sensory pleasure. The study was published in the Journal of Marketing Research.
“Ambient scent can be a powerful tool to resist cravings for indulgent foods. In fact, subtle sensory stimuli like scents can be more effective in influencing children’s and adults’ food choices than restrictive policies,” said Dipayan Biswas, lead author of the study.
As part of the study, the researchers discovered a direct connection between the length of exposure time and whether or not one will indulge.
They found that participants exposed to the smell of cookies for less than 30 seconds were more likely to want a cookie. But those exposed for longer than two minutes did not find the cookie desirable and picked strawberries instead. The scientists had the same results when the scent of pizza and apples were tested.
Since non-indulgent foods don’t give off much of an ambient scent, they’re typically not connected with reward, therefore having little influence on what we order.