Dieters know the powerful temptations of just seeing or smelling food. Certain odors might have such a strong effect as to actually change the body's metabolism and lead to an early grave. At least, that's the case for fruit flies on a diet, according to Science Now.
Scientists have known that low-calorie diets can lengthen the lives of yeast, fruit flies and monkeys. One past study also showed that blocking the sense of smell in roundworms extended their lives. Another conducted by the University of Michigan and Baylor College showed that wafting the tasty smell of live yeast in front of dieting fruit flies shortened their lives.
The new study is a follow-up to the fruit fly experiment, but focused on a brain cell receptor which allows fruit flies to smell carbon dioxide -- the olfactory trigger that alerts flies to the presence of yeast.
It turns out that mutant flies without the CO2 receptor live up to 30 percent longer than normal flies on a typical diet. Directly causing the CO2-sensing neurons to die also extended the lives of flies. When scientists turned on the gene for the CO2 receptor again, mutant flies did not live longer than the normal breed.
The mutants also displayed strong health indicators such as storing more fat to resist stress, the researchers noted in the journal PLoS Biology. They suspect that the lack of ability to sense CO2 (and food) tricks the fly bodies into going into starvation mode with a slowed-down metabolism to conserve nutritional supplies.
Blocking the perception of CO2 may trick the animals into thinking there's no food around, which would slow down their metabolism and conserve their nutritional supplies, just as hungry animals do, the authors write. It's a long ways from helping humans, but the existence of a link between odor and physiological state has profound implications.
[via Science Now]
If we couldn't smell the food, doesn't that mean we'd lose our ability to savor it's deliciousness to full capacity? I can see why this would theoretically work wonders on foodies, such as myself, who have to work harder to maintain healthy eating habits. However, I would have a hard time mustering up the willingness to have such a physical alteration performed on myself... I cook as a form of expression; layering delicate flavors and creating new aromas is a form of art to me! I think boredom would snuff me just as swiftly...
This would also keep stupid people from procreating since our attraction to someone has a lot to do with smelling pheromones..
They should promote and distribute this to the makers of illegal drugs, the jail systems, and 1/2 of the US Congress!!
People in the field need to step back and sometimes think how far is too far.
Don't know how well this would translate into humans ( and I don't intend to find out).
It probably would have the effect of making everything taste pretty boring. A large part of taste is in the smell.
So, you would live longer, BUT it would seem like forever BECAUSE
1. Food would taste like basic training at it's worst
2. If you couldn't sense pheremones, the opposite sex really wouldn't seem all that opposite.
I'll take my chances...
Brain storm thought... Have they thought of using this technology to remove the CO2 Sensing capabilities from Africanized honey bees. After all that is how they track you when they attack you right... follow your carbon dioxide breathe.
Well i am can hardly smell any thing at times because most of the time i am blowing my nose because of my allergy's all tho if any one lost there sense of smell completely then they could not tell if food is bad and that means people would get sick easy.