Recent research has established a connection between obesity and a person's ability to imagine or “sniff out” various kinds of food. According to U.S. researchers, obese adults have a greater ability than slimmer adults to imagine food aromas.
The research conducted at the Yale School of Medicine further claimed that the disparity in the aroma-detection ability might explain extra food cravings among the obese. The assumption was based on a previous study that found obese people tend to have more frequent food cravings.
"These results highlight the need for a more individualized approach in identifying factors that may increase risk for weight gain," lead study author Dr. Barkha Patel said in a statement.
During the study, subjects were asked to imagine odors and visual cues for different food products. In addition, they were asked to rate the vividness of the imagined cues. Researchers found that people with a greater body mass index (BMI) had a greater ability to vividly imagine food and nonfood items.
Researchers theorized that vivid imagination of food may intensify the cravings for food items via thoughts of specific flavors and aromas.
The complete study findings are scheduled to be presented during the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) in Denver.