According to a new study, stronger aromas may lead to smaller bites - in a finding that may help control portion sizes.
The study by researchers at the Top Institute of Food and Nutrition fitted 10 people aged 26 to 50 with a nose piece that was able to increase and decrease the aroma intensity of a custard.
Patients were also fitted with a feeding tube that pumped the custard into their mouths, which they could control using a button.
According to the Atlantic, as the aroma increased in intensity, people took smaller bites.
"Bite size was associated with the aroma presented for that bite and also for subsequent bites (especially for the second to last bite)," says Rene de Wijk, the lead author, according to WebMD.
The reason for the smaller bites could be that people are instinctively repulsed by strong odors and try to limit the exposure to the senses.
Researchers hope that the new study could help people to control portion sizes and, ultimately, contribute to weight loss.
"This study suggests that manipulating the odor of food could result in a 5-10% decrease in intake per bite," reads the study, according to Yahoo News. "Combining aroma control with portion control could fool the body into thinking it was full with a smaller amount of food and aid weight loss."
The study will be published in the journal Flavour.