Vanilla for Weight Loss

Vanilla is known for its place in frosting, baking and ice cream, things not usually associated with weight loss. While eating lots of vanilla products may not help you lose weight, or even lead to weight gain, smelling its aromatic fragrance possibly can, reports “Reader’s Digest,” ABC News and the United Kingdom's “Daily Mail.”


Aromatherapy is the practice of using scents to produce a variety of results, according to the “Reader’s Digest” article entitled “Can You Sniff Your Way Thin?” Scents come in the form of essential oils, candles, incense, or as part of a lotion or application used during a body massage. The scent of chamomile soothes you while lemon, orange and rosemary keep you alert. Other scents, such as vanilla, potentially work for weight loss, thanks in part to a theory called the Christmas Dinner Syndrome.

Christmas Dinner Syndrome

The Christmas Dinner Syndrome, as explained in “Reader’s Digest,” purports that immersing yourself in a food scent often suppresses your appetite. The name of the theory comes from the phenomenon on Christmas Day where all guests are enticed by the smell of the food and ready to feast but the cook is not. The cook spent his day immersed in the food smells, which often kill off the craving for those particular foods, and generally sates the appetite.

Vanilla Scent

The scent of vanilla specifically reduces your cravings for chocolate, “Reader’s Digest” reports, while ABC News adds that the vanilla smell can also reduce your cravings for other sweets 2. Without the cravings, you are less likely to grab for the nearest chocolate bar or other high-calorie, sugary dessert or snack. Vanilla scents come in candles, incense, aromatic sprays and mixed with essential oils. Infusing the scent throughout your home or kitchen is a way to keep cravings at bay.

Vanilla Patch

Another way to immerse yourself in the scent of vanilla is with a vanilla patch that sticks on your skin and stays with you all day, both ABC News and “The Daily Mail” report 1. The vanilla patch is similar to patches that reduce cravings for nicotine but, instead of working through your blood stream, the vanilla patch sends off the aroma of vanilla throughout the day, which you inhale.

Patch Test

The vanilla patch tested successfully at St. George’s Hospital in London in a trial led by the hospital’s Chief Dietitian Catherine Collins. The trial involved 200 overweight volunteers divided into groups, with one of the groups wearing vanilla patches. Members from other groups wore a lemon patch, a placebo patch or no patch. Those who wore the vanilla patch lost more weight than the others over the one month trial period. Collins presented the findings in 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the 13th International Congress of Dietetics.