A hormone called ghrelin enhances the nose's ability to sniff out food, researchers report.
"Smell is an integral part of feeding, and mammals frequently rely on smell to locate food and discriminate among food sources. Sniffing is the first stage of the smell process and can enhance odour detection and discrimination," Tong said.
"Other studies have shown that hunger can enhance odour detection and sniffing in animals," Tschop added. "Since ghrelin is a hunger-inducing stomach hormone that is secreted when the stomach is empty, this hormone pathway may also be responsible for the hunger-induced enhancement of sniffing and odour detection."