What happens when you place a bouquet of fragrant flowers on your dining table?
Yes, of course, the sight and smell of those beautiful flowers pleases the eyes, gladdens the nose, and makes you feel happy. But more interestingly, the whiff of those blossoms confuses your senses a bit, with the result that you eat less than you probably would have without that bouquet being there.
Think about it: does the smell of rose-scented beef chili sound appetizing?
Smell and taste, as we know, are intimately linked. Together, they compose what we understand as flavor. To reinforce this concept, all you have to do is hold your nose for a few seconds while eating, say, an orange. With the nose closed, you get a limited taste of the fruit. Now unclip your nose, and you can experience the fruit in all its citrusy glory!
Over time, we have learned to associate certain flavors as compatible and expected. French fries, popcorn, garlicky pasta, for example. Now mix these smells with odors that don’t combine well, and you will find that your appetite is beginning to dip.
That’s what happens when you place flowers on the table. The floral fragrance is inconsistent with the smell of food, so it reduces your desire to eat. The effect of mismatched smells on appetite has been suggested by a New York study by Brian Wansink, Ph. D., author of “Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think.” In this study, participants were divided into two groups: one was served plain oatmeal with apple and cinnamon, and the second was given oatmeal that smelled like macaroni and cheese. Those in the first group ate much more than those in the second, because their appetite rose when presented with the familiar breakfasty smell.
So if you are trying to cut down on the amount you eat, try gifting yourself a fragrant bouquet and place it on your dining table.