Peppermint may help avoid cravings.
The sense of smell is directly tied to taste and vice versa. It makes sense that we might be attracted to foods that taste good. I am sure you have felt an intense desire to consume certain foods and drinks after smelling, such as cookies, pizza, or even coffee. It would make sense that smells could induce binging, but could smell induce satiety or reduce appetite?
Several studies have looked at smells and appetite, and hunger. One recent study from 2008 looked at peppermint oil scent and appetite, cravings, and calorie intake. The study evaluated two groups: one that inhaled the peppermint scent and the other that did not. The inhalation occurred every 2 hours for two weeks. The researchers found that the peppermint group had lower cravings, ate fewer calories, and had a lower appetite than the control group. The study was not long enough to evaluate weight loss.
The bottom line: The results indicate that peppermint scent might be useful as a useful adjunct to decrease appetite, decrease hunger cravings, and consume fewer calories. The addition may lead to weight reduction and better overall health. More research is needed.
- J. Reed, J. Almeida, B. Wershing, and B. Raudenbush, “Effects of peppermint scent on appetite control and caloric intake,” Appetite, 2008.