PhD defence

Does the nose know? - Physiological and behavioural responses upon food odours


Imagine yourself walking in the main street of your home town. Suddenly, a smell of freshly baked chocolate cake interrupts your thoughts, your mouth starts to water and you start craving some sweet, high-caloric food. Have you ever wondered why you are craving something that you cannot even see yet? Because we constantly encounter food in our daily life, their odours may transmit specific information about its content and influence our eating behaviour. However, there is still uncertainty how, and under what circumstances, food odours may specifically impact physiological and behavioural responses such as salivation, appetite and food intake. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrated that food odours play a key role in anticipatory responses such as salivation, initial attention, and appetite, but did not impact food intake. A better understanding of the role of food odours and their behavioural effects  is crucial to improve eating patterns towards healthier choices.