Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will be in your list which provides many benefits into 2019 and beyond. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as how likely we are to develop health problems later in life, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer.
A new study published in the Journal of Marketing Research finds ambient food scent can directly satisfy the belly. That’s because the brain doesn’t necessarily differentiate the source of sensory pleasure.
“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 lead author Dipayan Biswas, PhD, marketing professor at the University of South Florida College of Business.
Biswas discovered a direct connection between the length of exposure time and whether or not one will indulge. He conducted a series of tests using an inconspicuous nebulizer, that separately gave off the scent of healthy and unhealthy food items. (cookies vs. strawberries, pizza vs. apples)
He found 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, didn’t find that cookie desirable, and picked strawberries instead. He 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 have little influence on what we order.
Biswas’s previous research has shown light and the volume of music impacts food choice. However, this the first study to prove one sense can compensate another.