Can Perfume Help You Lose Weight?

Shannon R., SELF magazine

Our sense of smell is a pretty powerful tool. Our nose can warn us of danger (something is burning!), transport us (to our favorite vacation spot!) and comfort us (bring back a childhood memory). The basis of aromatherapy uses the power of scent to help alter our mood - whether we want to be relaxed, energized or even feel happier. But can fragrance be a weight-loss tool?

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Lose pounds with perfume?

While perfume doesn't have a physiological effect on our bodies (if it did, it would have to be classified as a drug), there is some research to indicate that the perception of body weight could be influenced by the fragrance you wear.

In a study conducted by Dr. Hirsch at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, four groups of about 50 men each looked at a woman and estimated how much she weighed. With three of the groups the woman was wearing one of three different fragrances (citrus floral, sweet pea/lily of the valley, and floral/spicy). For the fourth group the woman wore no fragrance. The researchers then compared the weight estimates of each group for differences. Surprisingly, when the woman wore the floral/spicy fragrance, the men estimated her weight to be 4 pounds less than her actual weight. And if the guys liked the fragrance, they said she looked a full 12 pounds less! All without a single sit-up or push-up being done!

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How do I choose the right fragrance?

If you want to try this theory for yourself, there are plenty of floral/spicy fragrances to try! Many fragrances use this combination (sometimes called Floral Oriental) of scents to create a perfume. Look for perfumes that use floral notes (like rose, jasmine, peony and gardenia) and combine them with spicy notes (like clove, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom).

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Bottom Line

While a healthy diet and exercise are the tried and true way to lose weight, this research certainly is interesting! The data is preliminary and needs repeating (to satisfy my inner scientist!) but it certainly can't hurt to spritz on a floral/spicy scent. I mean who wouldn't want to look a little slimmer!


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