Flavour intensifiers are being tested as a way to promote weight loss and an alternative to diet, according to Dr Alan Hirsch, head of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in the US.
Dr Hirsch's team is currently conducting a six-month study of 15,000 participants to see whether enhancing the flavour of food can trick the brain into thinking the body has had enough food. "By enhancing the taste of food, the brain is fooled into believing you've eaten more than you actually have, making you feel full faster," he said
Dr Hirsch's study is an extension of an investigation carried out ten years ago using odours for weight loss. The team is testing different flavour enhancers on volunteers each month over the six-month study, including the tastes of kiwi, almond, cheddar cheese, pistachio, and cocoa.
"Diets don't work," said Hirsch. "That's why we opted to test a substance that doesn't require will power, but rather induces a sense of fullness."
Participants in the study must be at least ten pounds overweight, between the ages of 18 and 64, not pregnant, have a normal sense of taste, and like to eat either ice cream or pickles. They must also like to eat between meals.