If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, you might want to stay out of your grandma’s kitchen while she’s baking. As Today reports, a new study shows that simply smelling Bundt cakes, lemon meringue pies, blackberry cobbler, or any favorite treat can make it harder to lose weight.
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The study, which was conducted by UC Berkeley and recently published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, revealed the patently unfair news that your body’s sense of smell may be tied to whether body fat is stored or burned off. So, if you walk into, say, Not Just Pie in Monroe, Louisiana and get a good whiff of their banana caramel pie, your mouth starts watering and your body may start to store fat, instead of burning it, even before you’ve dug into the whipped cream-covered deliciousness. It is downright unjust —and yet totally worth it, too.
To come to this disheartening conclusion, as Today notes, the scientists gave some mice a “super smelling ability” while others had their sense of smell temporarily disabled. The mice were then fed the same high fat diet (guessing fried chicken and ice cream). At the end of the experiment, the researchers found that the mice who could smell the food gained the most weight, while the mice without a sense of smell, lost weight even though they were eating the exact same food. The thinking is that the mouse’s body re-wired itself to burn more calories.
While the news is disheartening to those of us who like to stroll past the sugar-scented air outside of the Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama or Sugaree’s Bakery in New Albany, Mississippi, keep in mind that this has only been tested in mice so far. There’s a chance that when it comes to humans, a scent won’t make a difference in our belt size and is nothing more than a way to remind us that the cinnamon rolls are ready for the bake sale.
That said, if everyone at your table is ordering fresh-out-of-the-fryer beignets, and you’re getting a good whiff of that sugary aroma, you may as well join in the feast.