If you’ve ever lathered up with a dessert-scented body wash that smelled good enough to eat, consider this:
While the marketing message may be that sweet beauty products let us guiltlessly indulge, research suggests they may actually encourage our sweet tooth for real food.
In a 2011 study published in Food Quality and Preference, 58 college students evaluated a chocolate-praline scented lotion or an unscented lotion, and researchers tracked how many chocolate chip cookies the students ate after. At first glance, the subjects exposed to chocolate lotion didn't eat more chocolate chip cookies than those who received unscented lotion. But here’s the catch: when the chocolate lotion was clearly labeled on the bottle, the subjects did in fact eat more. In other words, the scent of chocolate alone wasn’t powerful enough to prompt subjects to eat more chocolate chip cookies—recognizing the scent made the difference.
In general, the results support the concept that food-related cues do increase food intake. The conscious exposure to the verbal cue “chocolate,” together with the chocolate scent, played a role in increasing the chocolate cravings. But why is the label so necessary for the subjects to have that chocolate craving?
“Senses are malleable and depend on the context. So labeling may have helped them recognize the smell that they might not have otherwise been able to identify,’ says Jonah Berger, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Wharton School of Business.
Along this line of thinking, is it possible that rubbing on some fruity-scented lotion could make us more apt to boost our fruit consumption?
Define your curves and discover the best ways to eat, exercise and dress for your figure.
Highlight your eye color. Flaunt your body shape. Harness your confidence. Take our quizzes to better know yourself and get science-based, individualized advice to embrace your true beauty.
Define your curves and discover the best ways to eat, exercise and dress for your figure.Take Quiz
If shopping for eye makeup is one big guessing game, find your best colors here.Take Quiz
Get to the root of your anxiety, and look better for it!Take Quiz
Find out how much fitness you fit into your day and how to add exercise to your everyday activities.Take Quiz