Blame Your High Fat Diet For Loss of Smell

First Posted: Jul 22, 2014 12:53 AM EDT

A new study found that those who consume high-fat foods in a regular basis may lose their sense of smell.

Neuroscientists at the Florida State University focused on how diets could impact human functions that are not traditionally considered while examining the impact of obesity. They highlight a strong association between high-fat diet and the structural and functional changes in olfactory system. This is the first time researchers have showed the link between bad diet and loss of smell.

"This opens up a lot of possibilities for obesity research," said Nicolas Thiebaud, Florida State University post-doctoral researcher who led the study.

During the six-month study, the mice were fed high-fat daily diet and were taught to associate between a particular odor and a reward (water).

The researchers noticed that the mice that were fed high-fat diets were slower to study the association between particular odor and a reward when compared to the control group.

In order to monitor the adjustments in mice, the researchers introduced a new odor. The mice that fed high-fat diets could not rapidly adapt, indicating a reduction in smelling capabilities.

"Moreover, when high-fat-reared mice were placed on a diet of control chow during which they returned to normal body weight and blood chemistry, mice still had reduced olfactory capacities," Fadool said. "Mice exposed to high-fat diets only had 50 percent of the neurons that could operate to encode odor signals."

The researchers plan to investigate whether adhering to exercise could help reduce the impact of high fat diet on sense of smell and whether high-sugar diet leads to same detrimental effects on the smell as a high-fat diet.

According to the National Institute of Health, two in three U.S. adults are labeled as being overweight or obese. Also, one-third of the children and adolescents aged between 6-19 years are considered to be overweight or obese.

The finding is documented is the Journal of Neuroscience.

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