The book cover for Sugar Free 3.
Courtesy Michele Promaulayko

Michele Promaulayko on Controlling Your Sugar Cravings Through Smell

By Aileen Kwun
March 7, 2020
2 minute read

Refined sugar is often called out as a “silent killer,” increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, not to mention a major disruptor of energy, sleep, brain health, and weight management—and even if you exercise restraint at dessert time, its presence in everyday food is more pernicious than you may think. “One of the major reasons we’ve developed sugar dependence is that sugar hides out in some very surprising places, even in foods you don’t think of as sweet,” wellness expert and former Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Michele Promaulayko tells us. “Food scientists often engineer products to have just the right amount of sweetness to make you crave more and more, and then stick it in everything from soft drinks to spaghetti sauce.”

In her new book, Sugar Free 3, which comes with an Openfit app, Promaulayko outlines a three-week plan to “reset your body and cravings,” offering recipes, videos, and tips to eliminate added sugars and sweeteners—including a simple hack of our olfactory sensations. Our sense of smell and appetite are intertwined, as Promaulayko points out, and we may even be able to use the power of aromatherapy and scent to “outsmart” our cravings. According to her research, 80 to 90 percent of what we taste can actually be attributed to our sense of smell. To flip the script on your sweet tooth, Promaulayko recommends an array of essential oils, from cinnamon bark, to geranium, lavender, peppermint, and more: “A simple inhale of essential oil triggers their effects. We smell with our brains, where scent receptors receive odor molecules, interpret them, and quickly transmit the messages to various parts of the body.”