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PLoS One. 2016 Oct 10;11(10):e0164495. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164495. eCollection 2016.

Olfactory Dysfunction Is Associated with the Intake of Macronutrients in Korean Adults.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, South Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Olfactory function can impact food selection. However, few large population-based studies have investigated this effect across different age groups. The objective of this study was to assess the association between subjective olfactory dysfunction (anosmia or hyposmia) and macronutrient intake.


A total of 24,990 participants aged 20 to 98 years were evaluated based on data collected through the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2008 through 2012. Olfactory dysfunction was surveyed using a self-reported questionnaire, and the nutritional status was assessed through a validated 24-hour recall method. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses with complex sampling were performed to evaluate the relationships between olfactory dysfunction and protein intake (daily protein intake/recommended protein intake [%]), carbohydrate intake (daily carbohydrate intake/total calories [%]), and fat intake (daily fat intake/total calories [%]) after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, income, smoking history, alcohol consumption, and stress level.


Olfactory dysfunction was reported by 5.4% of Korean adults and was found to be associated with decreased fat consumption (estimated value [EV] of fat intake [%] = -0.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.13 to -0.13, P = 0.045). A subgroup analysis according to age and sex revealed that among young females, olfactory dysfunction was associated with reduced fat consumption (EV = -2.30, 95% CI = -4.16 to -0.43, P = 0.016) and increased carbohydrate intake (EV = 2.80, 95% CI = 0.55 to 5.05, P = 0.015), and that among middle-aged females, olfactory dysfunction was also associated with reduced fat intake (EV = -1.26, 95% CI = -2.37 to -0.16, P = 0.025). In contrast, among young males, olfactory dysfunction was associated with reduced protein intake (EV = -26.41 95% CI = -45.14 to -7.69, P = 0.006).


Olfactory dysfunction was associated with reduced fat intake. Moreover, olfactory dysfunction exerted differential effects on eating behavior depending on age and sex.

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