Have you ever seen a chubby monkey? No? Well, there may be good reason for that. The smell of bananas may actually curb your appetite. Bananas, along with vanilla, green apples, and peppermint are considered neutral smells, according to Dr. Alan Hirsch, neurologist and founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. In a study of 3,193 overweight people, those who were told to sniff these foods when they were hungry lost, on average, 5 pounds a month over 6 months. In a different study, Hirsch found that sweet scents, such as chocolate, have the opposite effect: They trigger hunger, which leads to overeating. One possible reason neutral smells such as banana suppress your appetite is that they act on the satiety center, the part of the brain that tells the body when to feel full. So the next time you’re tempted to snack before dinner, try a sniff instead.
-Bridget Nelson (Better Homes and Gardens Magazine)