In a recently published in the journal study of Cell Metabolism, researchers have concluded that mice, who cannot smell their food do not gain weight!
The Astonishing Discovery
The mice were divided into three groups and fed a large amount of food for several weeks. The three groups were – regular mice, mice with an artificially heightened sense of smell and mice with no sense of smell (gene therapy was used to destroy the olfactory neurons of the mice temporarily). Also, all were fed the same amount of food.
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Scientists were surprised to observe that mice in the first two groups gained almost double the amount of weight as compared to those in the third group! Also, those in the second group gained more weight as compared to those in the first group.
The findings suggest that the smell of what we eat may be playing an important role in retaining calories. (In that case, cooking in the open should be banned!)
Active Fat Burning
The team of researchers, led by Professor Andrew Dillin, are keen on establishing the relationship between weight loss and the olfactory sense. Above all, they are focusing on the connection between the sense of smell and energy loss.
The area that was mainly stressed upon the effect on white fat and brown fat. White fat stores the energy while brown fat burns energy. Those mice that lacked the sense of smell burned their brown fat quickly. Also, they turned their white fat into brown.
Researchers have concluded, “increased energy expenditure and enhanced fat burning capacity as a consequence of enhanced sympathetic nerve activity.” They believe that the sympathetic nervous system is activated in the absence of the ability to smell. In such a situation, adrenaline is released into the system. Adrenaline, in turn, activates the burning of brown fat. In humans, increased levels of adrenaline can lead to a heart attack.
However, turning white fat into brown fat in humans can be used to treat obesity. Furthermore, controlling the olfactory neurons in humans could help in preventing hunger pangs and calorie-burning, in the future. Professor Dillin said, “We don’t know yet. There’s a lot we still need to do.”
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