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High fat diet can damage your sense of smell
A high-fat diet can impact on the sense of smell, which during obesity could perpetuate poor dietary decision making. This is suggested by a recent study on a mouse model in the Journal of Neuroscience led by researchers in Florida State University.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in western nations, with for example 65% of Americans considered to be overweight or obese and perhaps even more disturbingly, about one third of children and adolescents. Obesity has serious health implications, for example in terms of increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive decline. However, there is little understanding of how obesity impacts on sensory systems such as the olfactory system or sense of smell. Olfaction is important in that it has an input into food choice, which directly links to development of obesity if poor choices are consistently made.

In the current study, the researchers used a mouse model in order to induce long-term, diet-induced obesity by feeding both obesity-prone (C57BL/6J) and obesity-resistant (Kv1.3−/−) mice with high-fat diets. They compared these mice models to another type of mouse, MC4R−/−, which features late-onset, genetic-induced obesity. Over a six-month study period, the mice were taught to associate between a particular odour and a reward (water).

The results indicated that the mice fed on a fatty diet were comparatively slower to learn reward-reinforced behaviours and also could not rapidly adapt when a new odour was introduced to monitor their adjustment. Furthermore, the changes were long-lasting as when the obese mice were taken off the high-fat diet and changed to a chow diet on which they regained normal weight and resting glucose, the olfactory dysfunction remained. The changes in olfactory perception and reduced reward association responses corresponded to loss of olfactory sensory neurons and their axonal projections with a high fat diet.

First author Dr Nicolas Thiebaud says: "This opens up a lot of possibilities for obesity research." Current plans include examining whether exercise can impact on the effects of the high-fat diet on smell and whether a high-sugar diet has similar effects to a high-fat diet. For now, the research contributes another layer of understanding on the negative effects of poor dietary choices over time.


Thiebaud N. et al. (2014) Hyperlipidemic Diet Causes Loss of Olfactory Sensory Neurons, Reduces Olfactory Discrimination, and Disrupts Odor-Reversal Learning. Journal of Neuroscience 34(20): 6970-6984; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3366-13.2014

Press release: Florida State University; available at [Accessed 22 July 2014]
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It's very useful information for me.
Thanks for sharing this useful information.
High fat diet is very dangerous for the health and leads to various health complication. We must avoid the high fat and junk foods and replace these foods with some natural and organic foods for the healthy life.
Adam Prowse Personal Trainer,
539 High Street, Maitland,
New South Wales 2320, Australia
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