A woman's perfume can make her look thinner

April 21, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

A woman's perfume can make her look thinner

Spritzing on a spicy floral perfume may do more for a woman's figure than weeks of dieting and sweating it out on the treadmill, suggests new research from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. In the decade-long study, men perceived women to be 12 pounds lighter when wearing this scent, which beat out grapefruit, butterscotch, cigarette smoke, pepperoni pizza and many others.

While past foundation research had shown that sniffing the scents of green apple, banana and peppermint can promote actual weight loss, the floral-spice combination was the only one that influenced men's perception of women's weight.

These findings, said Dr. Alan Hirsch, lead investigator of the study and neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, suggests a spicy-floral fragrance may act as "the olfactory equivalent to wearing vertical lines." "Smells can impact upon our mood state and behavior in ways that are quicker than any other sensory modality," states Hirsch, who is also a psychiatrist. "You smell a small and immediately think, 'I like it.'" That, in turn, may then translate to "I like you."

Interestingly, if such a "thinning odor" can affect men's estimation of women's weight, Hirsh said, cologne that influences a woman's sense of a man's height could be in consumers' future.

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