01/04/2011 15:39 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Could A Pill That Neutralises Food Smells Help You Lose Weight?

popcorn-smell-temptation Irresistible... Photo: Getty, Titus

If you can't resist the smell of popcorn at the cinema or bacon sizzling in the pan - and it's wreaking havoc on your waistline - there's good news. Scientists from the US believe they could be onto a new way of tackling the obesity problem. And that's by making foods smell less appealing.

The researchers, from the University of California, claim to have discovered why food smells so much more delicious when you're hungry. And by developing drugs that could block the process, those aromas could seem far less tempting.

In other words, chips, fry-ups, curries and puddings just won't smell that good. And that, the experts claim, could help you eat less - or at least when you're hungry you may eat something healthy rather than something stodgy.

Writing in the journal Cell, the researchers came across the idea after studying fruit flies - which are more genetically similar to humans than most people realise, which is why they're often used in lab studies.

In tests the flies that were hungry were more attracted to food than those who had been fed - no surprises there. But when the researchers interfered with the insects' sense of smell, the hungry ones no longer showed interest in the food.

Apparently it's all down to a protein that's produced when insulin levels drop, making the flies feel hungry. The more of the protein they produce, the keener their sense of smell. And human noses may behave in the same way, so taking insulin-boosting drugs could make food smell less tasty and thereby reduce your appetite.

But would that work for you?

What's your favourite food smell?

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