Olfaction pp 465-482 | Cite as

Olfaction and Nutrition

  • J. LeMagnen
Part of the Handbook of Sensory Physiology book series (SENSORY, volume 4 / 1)


The most characteristic feature of animal life is that animals must actively seek and select their foods in their natural environment. A natural product is considered as a food of a particular species when it is currently selected and effectively eaten by members of the species and when, in addition, it corresponds to some of its nutritive requirements. Thus, to be a food, this natural product must possess two different series of biochemical properties. These properties act successively, as sources of information for the C.N.S., in the control system regulating food intake. In a first step, at the entry of the alimentary canal, the food is already controlled through its stimulating activity upon the various sensory systems level. As a result of this oral sensory appraisal, the food is either accepted or rejected and, when accepted, is eaten in definite amounts. This sensory activity to foods is a critical determinant of innate or acquired feeding responses, insuring an oral selection and a metering of intakes. Through the second step of action of foods in the feeding process, these orally determined responses to food are “regulated.” At the post-absorptive and systemic level, food as a nutrient acts as a metabolic signal upon regulatory centers and, through positive and negative feed-back mechanisms, “modulates” oral feeding responses.


Innate Response Food Selection Meal Size Food Odor Feeding Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag, Berlin · Heidelberg 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. LeMagnen
    • 1
  1. 1.ParisFrance

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