Flavor Your Way to Weight Loss

Dieters may one day be able to sprinkle their way to a thinner body.

A Chicago doctor is starting up an unusual weight loss study, trying to prove you can lose weight by adding certain flavors to your food. The sprinkle diet is the brainchild of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago.

A few shakes of the flavors on your food and you're supposed to feel fuller faster. We tested them out on the lunch crowd at Evansville's Farmer's Market. At any given time, about half of all women and a fourth of all men are trying to lose weight, but few are successful. Take Carolyn Kern for instance. She's been on a diet, in her words, "For the last 50 years."

But there's one hurdle she just can't seem to get over. "I can eat a very healthy meal, but I cannot pass up the last course, which is dessert. I love desserts." What if she didn't have to give up the sweets? Neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alan Hirsch says instead of food restriction, think food addition. He says by sprinkling extra flavors on your food, you can fool your brain into thinking you've eaten more. So you'll eat less and lose weight.

You start out by sprinkling a cheddar cheese flavored topping on salty foods. Cocoa flavor goes on sweets. Kern says, "It doesn't make it taste like cocoa or anything. It's just something strange on my pie, but it's OK."

And it's OK if you're not sure which flavor goes with which food. Take bread for example, it's not exactly salty and it's not sweet either. When in doubt, Dr. Hirsch says use sweet, unless you're one of those people who craves potato chips all the time over chocolate. In that case, use salty.

Every month you get a new combination of sweet and salty flavors. At the end of six months, Dr. Hirsch reports participants in his initial study lost an average of 34 pounds. But there are some drawbacks. Some of our test subjects complained about the smell. And you have to sprinkle the flavors on everything you eat...no cheating.

You can decide for yourself how amazing it is by taking part in another weight loss study. This time, the Smell and Taste Research Foundation is looking for 3,000 participants who are at least ten pounds overweight. You'll be charged for shipping to have the flavors sent to you, otherwise it's free. To take part in the weight loss study, call the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation at (800) 664-3880 or go to their Web site at www.smellandtaste.org .