Freshly baked cookies, buttered popcorn, and French fries — if you can imagine the smell of your favorite unhealthy foods, there is a chance that this could lead to obesity.
Researchers from the John B. Pierce Laboratory and Yale School of Medicine presented these findings at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) on July 7.
The study’s participants were asked to imagine visual and odor cues and rate how vividly they could imagine these smells and sights. Those who had a greater ability to do so were associated with a higher BMI. "These findings highlight the need for a more individualistic approach in identifying factors that may increase risk for weight gain," said Dr. Barkha Patel, lead author of the study.
The research was based off of Kavanagh’s Elaborated Intrusion Theory of Desire, which says that making a mental image of food leads to stronger cravings stimulated by the thought, smell, and sight of food.