What would the holidays be without those familiar scents?the fresh spruce tree, peppermint candy canes, mulled cider? But alas, some of these smells can be torture for those of us who carry a specific gene.

We know that smells trigger memories and the absence of holiday smells would confuse our brains. Neuroscientist Tyler Lorig says that our sense of smell is central to our ability to make sense of a particular experience. If, for instance, you walk into a room with a nice, fresh evergreen tree and there is no odor to it, or the odor is not what you expect, that experience will not make as much sense to you.

But Lorig says that while smell plays a central role in helping us understand our experiences, we are actually trained to ignore odors in most settings. “You can be in a room that is full of books and computers and telephones and all these things that emit odors, but you probably don’t notice,” he says. “Despite the fact that the air around us is full of molecules that we can smell, most of the time we don’t. We tend to smell only those things when specifically ‘looking’ for a smell or when something isn’t quite right.”

But beware of those fresh-baked cookies! People who have specific gene variant that?s linked to obesity eat an average of 100 extra calories per meal?and this gene is carried by 63% of us.

BBC News quotes researcher Colin Palmer as saying, “This work demonstrates that this gene does not lead to obesity without overeating and suggests that obesity linked to this gene could be modulated by careful dietary control. What it effectively shows is that the people with the relevant variants on the gene have a trait which may lead them to eat more unhealthy, fattening foods.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

Are you part of that 63%? If you are, you need to know that there’s a FREE diet book right here on our website, with a special chapter on sweets (ummm, SMELL that Splenda cocoa!) To read it, click here and scroll down to What I Learned From the Fat Years. Anne Strieber, who used to be a diabetic, devised this diet herself, using scientific principles, and lost 100 pounds by following it?and you can too. Here at unknowncountry.com, we care about your well being?and we hope you care about ours too! You can keep us going for less than a (non fat) latte a WEEK: Less than $12 gets you a 3-month subscription. So what are you waiting for? Subscribe today! And give US a Christmas gift by clicking on the “donate” tab on our homepage too.

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