There's nothing quite as revitalizing as peeling open a fresh orange and accidentally getting some of the orange peel oils on our skins in the dead of winter, but it's summer and all we want to eat is ice cream.
Luckily, science also tells us that just smelling an orange could help your diet along; researchers at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior presented two different experiments, one where women were asked to smell either oranges or chocolate before eating. In another study, women were shown images of food or non-food objects, before being provided a snack.
The difference? In the first experiment, women who were given the smell of fresh oranges ate 60 percent less chocolate, compared to how much they ate after smelling chocolate. "It might be that the smell of fresh oranges reminded dieters to limit intake of a tempting and diet-forbidden snack," researcher Nicola Buckland told NPR.
In the second experiment, dieters who were shown images of healthy food tended to eat less than dieters who were shown photos of non-food items.
Researchers imagine that the reminder of eating healthy is enough to make dieters eat just a bit less than they normally would, which means simply seeing or smelling healthy foods could be enough to cue healthy eating. "When tempted by food, dieters should take a few moments to focus on the sensory properties of healthy food, such as the sight and smell of fruit or salad vegetables," Buckland said in a press release. Also, start keeping healthier snacks around your house and work desk, to serve as reminders for "dieters to limit their food intake." Too bad our desks are laden with popcorn and chips.