Food Aromas Significantly Influence Bite Size

Foods with strong aromas decrease an individual's bite size, recent studies suggests.

According to Dutch researchers, foodstuffs with a good amount of aroma significantly decreases a person's appetite for food. This may also imply that food smells can have an influence on body weight control.

Prior to digestion, food is placed into the mouth to be mechanically digested into small tidbits which allows proper digestion to take place. During mastication (chewing), the amount of food taken at one bite varies from person to person and from food to food. Harder foods takes longer time to chew while softer foods are easier to swallow. Moreover, harder foods are usually consumed with smaller bite sizes.

The fuller we feel, the smaller the bite size we eat.

Several digestive and sensory factors influence our bite size. And smell is one major sensory factor in deciding bite size.

Rene A de Wijk and his team from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, Netherlands, went to study the effect of food aroma to bite size.


Ten volunteers ate a vanilla custard dessert while a nosepiece was fastened to their noses to control the varying intensities of aromas of the vanilla custard dessert. The dessert was delivered to them through a tube that was fitted into their mouth - they could decide how much food went into their mouth by pressing a button.

The research wanted to study how varying intensities of food aromas affected how much food they ate.

They were exposed to:

1. No aroma.

2. A weak aroma.

3. A strong aroma.

The taste of the vanilla custard dessert didn't change althroughout the experiment.


The results were the same althroughout the test. They found that bite size significantly decreased when the aroma intensified - meaning, the stronger the aroma, the smaller the bite size.

Stronger smells could have a five to ten per cent drop in bite size, which may help people control their weight. Smaller bites generally meant people eating lesser during meals.

The Authors concluded:

"...Increasing the aroma intensity reduces bite size. This result...suggests that bite size plays an important role in the self-regulation of food sensations."

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