I had an interesting dialog with Dr. Bruce Campbell recently. In his blog he described a patient who lost about 60 pounds after losing his sense of taste. The patient had undergone radiation therapy for throat cancer, and in the process lost his ability to taste food. He soon lost interest in eating, and eventually dropped 60 pounds – not from the cancer, but from the side effect of radiation therapy. In this case there was a happy ending (his sense of taste eventually returned and he regained some of his weight) but it made me think about the relationship of flavor to obesity.
Just as I was musing on this very fact, a new research study was published in the journal Neurology. It suggested that unexplained weight loss was an early warning sign of dementia. They speculate that this could be linked to another early sign of dementia: loss of the sense of smell. Of course taste is largely a function of smell, so we can easily understand how people lose interest in eating when they can’t enjoy the flavor of food.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could temporarily alter a person’s sense of taste in order to affect weight loss? I doubt I’m the first to think of this… has anyone else heard of such a strategy? Surely this would be a little bit less invasive and dangerous than bariatric surgery.
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.