Obese People Have Better Sense of Smell

A recent study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England has shown that obese people have a better sense of smell that people of a normal weight.

Initial results suggest that some people are more acutely aware of the presence of food and are therefore more likely to want to eat it. It is not so much “out of sight, out of mind” but “out of smell zone, out of mind”.

The odour analysis and feeding centers of the brain are connected, this is not a new finding though. What is new is the discovery that overweight people have a significantly increased sense of smell, and the sense of smell actually increases as we become fuller after eating.

The theory is that when obese people have a keener sense of smell after eating they are more likely to eat more food, even if they have had enough already.

The research was led by Dr Lorenzo Stafford of the University of Portsmouth and published in Journal Chemical Senses.


Lorenzo D. Stafford and Kimberley Welbeck. “High Hunger State Increases Olfactory Sensitivity to Neutral but Not Food OdorsChem. Senses first published online October 26, 2010 doi:10.1093/chemse/bjq114. Abstract.

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