This is a good question, and the answer may surprise you.
Humans have a keen sense of smell. Scientists know that when we are hungry, our bodies boost the performance of our sense of smell in order to improve our chances of finding food (1). This is a survival mechanism. When we are hungry, food smells and tastes amazing, leading to the easy conclusion that if we let ourselves get too hungry, we are very likely to overeat.
Scientific research shows that we prefer sweet smells, and that strongly sweet scents such as chocolate often triggers feelings of hunger and leads to overeating or binge eating, while “neutral” sweet smells actually curbs appetite. A scientific study asked 3,193 overweight people (mostly women) aged 18-64 to inhale a variety of what was considered neutral sweet smells: banana, green apple, vanilla, and peppermint, three times in each nostril whenever they were hungry. After six months, the participants lost an average of five pounds per month (2).
In consideration of essential oils, inhalation is the single most effective way to receive their benefits. When aromas reach the olfactory bulb, it is not only the limbic system (emotional center) that is triggered; the hypothalamus in your brain is triggered as well. The hypothalamus is the portion of your brain that is connected to satiety. Odor molecules actually inform your brain that you have eaten enough and you are full. You see, it is not only our stomach that dictates our hunger!
Specific essential oils can be used in an inhaler to curb our food cravings. We know based on the above study that certain smells work better than others; but remember, we are not all the same, so personal experimentation may be in order. One thing is for sure: The aromas of essential oils can definitely play a role in weight loss though reduction of curbing cravings.
For this cause, Plant Therapy’s team of Certified Aromatherapists created Munchy Stop Synergy (reformulated in late 2017). This blend is designed to help manage hunger cravings, promotes healthy eating habits, and help reduce the desire to snack between meals.
We hope that this clears up any questions you had in regards to using essential oils for weight loss. If you have any further questions or need clarification, please comment below or reach out to one of our on-staff aromatherapists: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Scent and how it affects appetite and satisfaction. Retrieved from: https://www.escoffieronline.com/scent-and-how-it-affects-appetite-and-satisfaction/
(2) Hirsch, A.R., Gomez, R. (1995) Weight reduction through inhalation of odorants. J Neurol Orthopedic Medical Surgery. 16:28-31