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The need for sensory nutrition research in individuals with smell loss

Open AccessPublished:November 09, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutos.2022.11.002
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      Abstract

      Millions of people will now suffer from long-term smell loss as a result of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Smell is an integral component of the flavor of foods, which is one of the primary drivers of ingestive behavior. When individuals lose their sense of smell, they find food to be less flavorful and less enjoyable, which negatively impacts their quality of life. To compensate, many individuals alter their diet by focusing on tastes, chemesthesis (e.g., chili pepper heat, menthol cooling), and the texture of foods to make it more palatable. Some diet alterations, such as increasing salt use, can result in a lower diet quality, and an increased risk for chronic disease. Sensory nutrition is an area of research that focuses on how the chemical senses (e.g. taste, smell, chemesthesis) and oral somatosensation) affect dietary choices and health. Sensory nutrition strategies designed for individuals with smell loss may help improve the flavor and liking of foods while improving diet quality, and are a necessary area of future research to help improve health and quality of life in the growing population with smell loss.