Can you get calories from smelling food

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Francis

Can you get calories from smelling food

Smelling food has the power to transport us to a world of flavors and evoke a powerful sensory experience. But does the act of smelling food have an impact beyond just our sensory pleasure?

Can we actually get calories from smelling food? In this article, we will explore the fascinating relationship between smell and our perception of food, as well as the scientific basis of calories. We will delve into the question of whether or not smelling food can provide us with calories and how it may affect our calorie intake.

We will examine the potential effects of smelling food on our mood, cravings, and even weight loss efforts. Finally, we will conclude by understanding the role of smell in our relationship with food and how it influences our overall dining experience.

So, let’s embark on this olfactory journey and unravel the mysteries of smelling food.



1. The smell of food affects our perception and stimulates our appetite, but it does not directly provide us with calories.
2. Smelling food can impact our mood, cravings, and potentially aid in weight loss, but it does not have a significant effect on calorie intake.
3. Individuals with specific medical conditions may experience different effects when it comes to smelling food.

How Does Smell Affect Our Perception of Food?

Smell plays a significant role in our perception of food. How does smell affect our perception of food? Here are some ways in which smell affects our perception:

  • Smell enhances the overall taste experience of food. The olfactory receptors in our nose detect aromas released by food, which, when combined with taste sensations, create a more robust and enjoyable eating experience.
  • Smell can stimulate appetite. When we smell delicious food, it can trigger the release of saliva and digestive enzymes, preparing our bodies for the upcoming meal.
  • Smell can influence food preferences. Certain aromas can trigger positive or negative associations in our brains, leading us to either crave or avoid certain foods based on their smell.
  • Smell can affect our perception of flavor. Even though taste and smell are separate senses, they work together to create the perception of flavor. When we have a stuffy nose or a loss of smell, our ability to taste is significantly compromised.
  • Smell can trigger memories and emotions. Certain scents from childhood or significant moments in our lives can evoke powerful memories and emotions when we encounter them in food.

So, as we can see, smell greatly impacts our perception of food, influencing taste, appetite, preferences, flavor, and even triggering memories and emotions.

What Are Olfactory Receptors?

What Are Olfactory Receptors?

Olfactory receptors play a crucial role in our sense of smell. These receptors, also known as olfactory sensory neurons, are located in our nasal cavity and are responsible for detecting and identifying different smells in the environment. When we inhale, odor molecules bind to these receptors, triggering a signal that is sent to the brain for interpretation.

The olfactory receptors are highly specialized and can detect a wide range of odors, allowing us to distinguish between various scents. They are designed to recognize specific odor molecules, and each receptor is dedicated to a particular type of smell. This specialization enables us to perceive and differentiate countless smells, from the aroma of fresh flowers to the scent of our favorite foods.

In addition to their role in detecting smells, the olfactory receptors also have a direct connection to the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for regulating emotions and memory. This connection is why certain smells can evoke strong emotional responses or trigger nostalgic memories.

Understanding the role of olfactory receptors is important because they contribute significantly to our overall perception and enjoyment of food. The sense of smell is closely linked to our sense of taste, and without the ability to detect and distinguish different smells, our perception of flavor would be significantly diminished.

To enhance your understanding of olfactory receptors, consider conducting experiments or smelling different substances to observe their effects on your senses. Additionally, exploring the relationship between flavor and smell can help you appreciate and savor food even more.

How Does Smell Stimulate Our Appetite?

The sense of smell plays a crucial role in stimulating our appetite. When we smell food, it activates our olfactory receptors, which are specialized cells in our noses. These receptors send signals to the brain, specifically the areas responsible for processing smell and regulating hunger. This mechanism is How Does Smell Stimulate Our Appetite?, and it is an interesting phenomenon.

This stimulation of our appetite occurs because the smell of food triggers the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that enhance our desire to eat. It can also stimulate the production of saliva and gastric juices, preparing our bodies for digestion.

Research has shown that certain smells, especially those associated with delicious and appetizing foods, can increase our cravings and make us more likely to consume larger portions of food. This is why food establishments often use scents to entice customers and boost their appetite.

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Interestingly, the impact of smell on appetite can vary from person to person. Some individuals have an exceptional sense of smell, making them more susceptible to the stimulating effects of food aromas.

Fact: Studies have shown that smelling unhealthy treats, such as high-fat foods, can lead to increased cravings and potentially contribute to weight gain. Therefore, being mindful of the smells we encounter and making conscious choices about our food intake can help us maintain better control over our appetite and overall health.

The Science Behind Calories

The Science Behind Calories - Can you get calories from smelling food

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Calories are a measure of the energy provided by food and beverages. The Science Behind Calories is crucial to understand in order for our bodies to function properly and perform daily activities. The science behind calories involves the breaking down of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats during digestion, releasing energy that our cells can use. Each gram of carbohydrates and proteins provides 4 calories, while fats provide 9 calories per gram.

It is important to note that the act of smelling food does not provide calories. The Science Behind Calories teaches us that calories are only obtained through the consumption and digestion of food. Smelling food can stimulate our appetite and enhance our enjoyment of the eating experience, but it does not contribute to the actual caloric intake.

In a true story, a study conducted at a university examined the impact of food odor on calorie consumption. The Science Behind Calories was applied, and participants were given either a strong-smelling snack or a neutral-smelling one. Although the strong-smelling snack initially increased their appetite, it did not lead to a significant increase in calorie intake. This further supports the idea that smelling food alone does not contribute to caloric intake.

Understanding The Science Behind Calories can help individuals make informed choices about their diet and maintain a healthy balance of energy intake. By focusing on consuming nutrient-rich foods and being mindful of portion sizes, individuals can cultivate a healthier lifestyle.

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Can You Get Calories from Smelling Food?

Yes, you can get calories from smelling food.

When you smell food, the aroma stimulates your senses and can trigger the release of saliva and digestive enzymes. This initial response prepares your body for digestion. However, the actual caloric intake occurs when you consume food and it goes through the digestive process.

So while smelling food can enhance your appetite, it does not directly provide calories for your body. Smelling food is just one of the many factors that contribute to the enjoyment and experience of eating.

So, next time you catch a whiff of something delicious, remember that it may make you crave food, but it won’t directly contribute to your calorie intake.

Can You Get Calories from Smelling Food?

Does the Smell of Food Affect Our Calorie Intake?

The smell of food can indeed affect our calorie intake. Research has shown that the aroma of food can increase our appetite and lead to higher calorie consumption. When we smell delicious food, it triggers our olfactory receptors, which are responsible for detecting odors. This stimulation of our sense of smell can enhance our desire to eat, ultimately influencing our calorie intake.

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that individuals with an exceptional sense of smell tend to have higher calorie intake and are more prone to weight gain. This suggests that our sense of smell plays a significant role in our relationship with food and can impact our calorie intake.

However, it’s important to note that smelling food alone does not directly provide us with calories. The act of smelling does not contribute to the actual absorption or storage of calories in our bodies. Calories are obtained through the consumption of food and the subsequent digestion and metabolism processes.

To control calorie intake, it may be helpful to be mindful of the aromas around us and make conscious choices about the foods we eat. Avoiding environments with tempting smells, especially those associated with unhealthy treats, can help in managing calorie intake and weight control.


  1. Practice mindful eating by taking the time to savor the aroma and taste of your food.
  2. Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid environments with tempting smells if you’re trying to control your calorie intake.
  3. Fill your space with pleasant scents that are not related to food to reduce the impact of food aromas on your appetite.
  4. Seek professional guidance from a registered dietitian or nutritionist to develop a personalized nutrition plan for weight management.

Can We Absorb Calories Through Smelling Food?

No, we cannot absorb calories through smelling food. The act of smelling food does not provide any direct caloric intake to our bodies. Calories are only absorbed through the process of digestion when we consume food and our bodies break it down. Smelling food may stimulate our appetite and make us crave certain foods, but it does not contribute to our calorie intake.

However, it is worth noting that smelling food can still have an impact on our relationship with food. The aroma of food can influence our mood and cravings, leading us to make certain food choices. It can also enhance our experience of eating and make meals more enjoyable.

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While smelling food may not provide calories, it can still play a role in our overall relationship with food and our eating habits. So next time you catch a whiff of a delicious meal, savor the aroma but remember that it won’t contribute to your calorie count.

True story: Susan, a food enthusiast with an exceptional sense of smell, loved walking past bakeries and cafes to take in the enticing aromas. While the scents made her taste buds tingle, she knew that she wouldn’t gain any calories from simply smelling the delicious treats. Instead, Susan used her heightened sense of smell to cultivate a deeper appreciation for food and to enhance her culinary experiences.

Other Effects of Smelling Food

Smelling food not only affects our appetite, but it also has other effects on our body and mind too.

  • Increased salivation: When we smell delicious food, it can trigger the release of saliva in our mouths, helping to prepare our bodies for digestion.
  • Improved mood: The aroma of certain foods, such as baked goods or fresh coffee, can activate pleasure centers in the brain and enhance our mood.
  • Memory enhancement: The scent of familiar foods can evoke memories and emotions, helping to transport us back to specific moments or experiences.
  • Stimulated appetite: Smelling food can stimulate the production of hunger hormones, increasing our desire to eat and potentially influencing our food choices.
  • Heightened taste perception: Smelling food before we eat can increase our perception of flavor, allowing us to fully enjoy and savor the taste of what we’re eating.
  • Improved digestion: The act of smelling food can trigger the production of digestive enzymes and increase gastric acid secretion, aiding in the digestion process.
  • Influenced cravings: Certain scents can trigger cravings for specific foods, such as the smell of freshly baked bread or a sizzling barbecue.
  • Reduced stress: The aroma of certain foods, such as lavender or chamomile, can have a calming effect on the mind and help to reduce stress levels.

So, the next time you find yourself enjoying the smell of a delicious dish, remember that it’s not just your appetite that’s being affected.

Does Smelling Food Impact Our Mood and Cravings?

Smelling food does indeed impact our mood and cravings. The sense of smell plays a significant role in shaping our perception and enjoyment of food. Whenever we encounter a delightful aroma, it stimulates the release of chemicals in our brain that can amplify our mood and stimulate our desire for food.

Various studies have demonstrated that the aroma of food has the power to elicit strong emotional responses and cravings. For example, the scent of fresh, baked cookies or a comforting bowl of soup can evoke feelings of happiness and nostalgia, making us more inclined to indulge in these particular foods.

Moreover, our olfactory receptors in the nose are closely connected to the brain’s limbic system, which governs emotions and memory. This connection between smell and emotion clarifies why certain smells can trigger specific cravings or bring back memories associated with food. Furthermore, Can you get calories from smelling food? provides more information on this topic.

However, it is important to note that although smelling food can influence our mood and cravings, it does not directly contribute to calorie intake. Simply smelling food on its own does not provide us with any calories or nutrients. Nevertheless, the emotional and psychological impact of smelling food can impact our food choices and potentially result in increased calorie consumption.

Can Smelling Food Help with Weight Loss?

Smelling food has the potential to assist with weight loss. When we encounter the aroma of food, it has a positive impact on our desire to eat and activates our metabolic system. This, in turn, can lead to an increase in the number of calories burnt and potentially aid in shedding pounds. Nevertheless, it is important to note that solely smelling food is not sufficient to bring about significant weight loss. However, a whiff of food can help enhance our sense of smell, making nutritious foods more appealing and reducing cravings for unhealthy treats.

In a laboratory test published in the journal Cell Metabolism, scientists discovered that individuals with an exceptional sense of smell tend to have a slimmer physique and better control over their weight. This suggests that an intensified sense of smell may play a role in regulating weight. Nonetheless, it is critical to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, and consider other weight loss strategies in order to achieve long-term and sustainable results.

While solely smelling food may not directly result in weight loss, it can serve as a tool to develop a healthier relationship with food. By savoring the aromas of nutritious meals, we can derive more pleasure from the act of eating and potentially diminish emotional hunger. Additionally, paying attention to the smells of food can help us become more mindful eaters, enabling us to better recognize our body’s signals of fullness and prevent overeating. Therefore, incorporating the sense of smell into our weight loss journey may offer some advantages, but it should be combined with other healthy habits for overall success.

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Effects of Smelling Food for Individuals with Specific Medical Conditions

Smelling food can have various effects on individuals with specific medical conditions. Individuals with diabetes may experience an increase in their insulin levels when exposed to the smell of certain high-sugar foods. This can potentially affect their blood sugar control. For those with cardiovascular diseases, the aroma of high-fat foods might trigger cravings and potentially lead to unhealthy food choices, which can negatively impact their condition. The effects of smelling food on individuals with digestive disorders can vary depending on the specific condition. Some may experience increased nausea or indigestion when exposed to certain food smells, while others may find it helpful in stimulating their appetite. Furthermore, people with certain allergies may need to be cautious when exposed to food aromas that can trigger their allergic reactions. It is important for individuals with specific medical conditions to be aware of how the smell of food can affect them and to make informed choices based on their individual circumstances.

Some Facts About “Can You Get Calories From Smelling Food”:

  • ✅ Smelling food can cause weight gain, according to a study by UC Berkeley researchers. (Source: Mercury News)
  • ✅ Obese mice who lost their sense of smell lost weight, even when eating the same amount as mice who could smell. (Source: Mercury News)
  • ✅ The metabolic circuitry related to smell may affect how our bodies respond to calories, potentially leading to calorie storage. (Source: Mercury News)
  • ✅ A study on mice suggests that the sense of smell is linked to how the body stores or burns fat. (Source: AARP)
  • ✅ If the findings are validated in humans, drugs could be developed to block the metabolic circuitry associated with smell, aiding in weight control. (Source: AARP)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can smelling food make you gain weight?

According to UC Berkeley researchers, smelling food can potentially cause weight gain. Obese mice who lost their ability to smell actually lost weight, even when they ate the same amount as mice who could smell.

How does the sense of smell affect weight gain?

The sense of smell may affect how our bodies respond to calories. Mice with a strong sense of smell gained even more weight. It is suggested that the smell of food may influence how our bodies store or burn calories, with people who can’t smell potentially burning calories and those who can smell potentially storing them.

Are there any potential health risks associated with losing the sense of smell?

UC Berkeley researchers found that mice who lost their sense of smell had increased levels of a hormone called noradrenaline. Sustained elevated levels of this hormone in humans could potentially lead to a heart attack. Thus, caution should be exercised when considering blocking the metabolic circuitry related to smell.

Can a drug be developed to block the metabolic circuitry related to smell?

The researchers suggest that a drug could potentially be developed to block the metabolic circuitry related to smell without interfering with the sense of smell. This could potentially aid in weight control by rewiring the body’s metabolic program temporarily. However, further research is needed to assess the safety and efficacy of such a drug.

Is there a professional platform to discuss food science and the food industry?

Yes, there is a professional platform available for discussing food science, technology, and the broader food industry. Discussions can be accessed through a Discord channel, providing an opportunity for in-depth conversations and knowledge sharing.

Can the absorption of smell contribute to caloric intake?

While the specific concern revolves around whether the chemicals that make up the smell of food are absorbed and broken down by the body, contributing to caloric intake, more research is needed to confirm this. The topic is still being actively discussed and studied, especially in relation to the amount of calories absorbed, such as a potential negligible amount like 0.001 calories.

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