Foods and Drinks That Cause Body Odor
by Stephanie Blanchard
The saying "you are what you eat" is true when it comes to body odor. As many of us know, the foods we eat can affect how we smell. Ever have garlic or onion breath?
Well, foods can cause more than just bad breath.
They can change the way our sweat smells, and spices are not the only foods that can do this. Each of these foods are just a few of the culprits that could lead to stinky body odor.
- Red Meat
- Garlic, Onions, and Spices
- Cruciferous Vegetables
If you’re curious about which foods to look out for or wondering how to deal with the odor they cause because they’re just too delicious to give up, read on!
The “Meat Sweats” Are Definitely a Real Thing
Back in college, my friend dated a guy who was into bodybuilding and loved to increase his protein intake with red meat. Sometimes they'd lift weights together, and she'd tell me later that he smelled pungent after a workout. We wondered if it was all the meat he ate because he had really good hygiene. It got so bad that she encouraged him to immediately hop in the shower at the fitness center rather than waiting until he got back to his dorm.
My friend's boyfriend isn't the only one to suffer from the sweaty meat stench.
Red meat is harder for our bodies to digest because it contains a lot of fat. Residue from the digestion process hangs out in the intestines. It mingles with bacteria, which can result in foul-smelling sweat and flatulence.
Do People on a Vegetarian Diet Smell Better?
Researchers set out to learn if women found the sweat from red meat-eating men more or less attractive than men on a vegetarian diet. In a study published in Chemical Senses, female participants found the sweat of the vegetarians to smell better. Researchers theorized that this was because the fatty acids found in meat can lead to stinkier sweat.
This is just one study, and it appears that it only looked at heterosexual men and women. But it does indicate that the odor caused by different foods can affect our daily interactions.
Garlic, Onions, and Spices
Garlic, onions, and spices like cumin and curry contain sulfur-like compounds that can react with sweat and increase body odor.
However, there are some conflicting opinions on whether garlic causes body odor. We definitely know that garlic makes our breath stink just from personal experience. But when it comes to how it makes our bodies smell, garlic may actually help.
One study published in the scientific journal Appetite found that men who ate a lot of garlic smelled more attractive and less intense to women.
The male participants in the study wore cotton pads under their arms for 12 hours after eating either a garlic capsule or placebo. The women were then asked to smell the pads for their part in the study. Imagine having smell duty!
Scientists aren't exactly sure why the female participants found the sweat of garlic eaters to be more attractive. The researcher’s theory was that it could have something to do with the antibacterial properties of garlic.
So, eat as much garlic as you wish, just be sure to follow with a breath mint or two.
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur compounds. Digesting the crunchy veggies might increase the sulfur on our skin, increasing the pungency of body odor. They also can make the body produce some funky-smelling gas.
One night for dinner, my husband and I ate chicken and asparagus. We both noticed that our bathroom smelled like rotten cabbage later that evening. Worried that we had a plumbing issue, I Googled “problems with toilets.”
It wasn't our plumbing; it was our pee! Eating asparagus caused the unpleasant odor—not that regular urine smells like roses or anything. But pee can smell worse after eating asparagus and other foods.
Why does asparagus make your pee smell? The vegetable contains the same sulfurous compound as onions, garlic, and rotten eggs, called mercaptan. Our digestive system breaks down the compound and releases smelly by-products.
Drinking alcoholic beverages can contribute to body odor because your liver breaks down alcohol into an acid, which smells noticeably like vinegar. So, if you drink too much, the odor can make its way out of your mouth and pores.
Additionally, there is some evidence that suggests that heavy drinkers have less good bacteria in their mouths. Without this good bacteria, it's possible for gum disease, plaque, or tooth decay to occur. Drinking also leads to drier mouths and this then leads to bad breath.
Sometimes Genetics Can Play a Role
Some people live with the metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria, where the body can't break down trimethylamine, a chemical compound found in some foods. The disease causes those with the genetic disorder to give off a fishy odor in their sweat, urine, reproductive fluids, and breath.
Bromhidrosis is another genetic condition associated with increased body odor. It occurs when the body isn’t able to break down bacteria that causes odor.
One way to gauge how much odor your body produces based on your genetic makeup is what your ear wax looks like. Turns out, they’re both controlled by the same gene! Who would have thought?!
What Can Help Body Odor Caused by Food?
Giving up whole categories of food or delicious herbs and spices seems a little extreme, but it can be one way to reduce certain kinds of body odor.
Luckily, there are things you can do to ward off stinky sweat caused by foods without giving up spices, red meat, or cruciferous vegetables.
First, if you like to eat oranges and pineapples, here is some good news. The acids in citrus fruits can help flush out water and toxins through our bodies and eliminate unpleasant smells on our skin. Read here for more info on foods that can help with body odor.
Another solution is Lume Deodorant for Underarms & Private Parts because it’s clinically-proven to control body odor for up to 72 hours!
Bacteria present on our skin feed off of our sweat and other common bodily fluids. This process causes what we perceive as offensive body odor. Lume works by blocking bacteria from digesting these fluids and prevents smell before it even happens. While other deodorants attempt to cover up odor after it forms, Lume actually prevents odor from forming in the first place. This is why Lume works so well—even for people who have tried other products without success.
So go ahead, enjoy your favorite foods. If you’re worried about body odor, consider trying Lume Deodorant to keep the smells at bay. It totally works for me.
Lume is a personal hygiene miracle. It’s not an antiperspirant, so it won’t block sweat, but our bodies are designed to perspire.
I discovered Lume because I wanted an aluminum-free deodorant that really prevented B.O. I've been using it for six months and couldn't be happier with my Lume. It’s a natural deodorant that can also be used ANYWHERE on your body where you experience odor but wish you didn’t. In my house, we use it for underarm odor and smelly feet.
Lume Deodorant Wipes make a great companion to Lume Deodorant because they have all the same active ingredients as Lume Deodorant, but they allow you to become funk-free at a moment's notice when you're out and about or just don't have time for a full shower. Lume Wipes come in a soft-pack or individually-wrapped singles and are fully biodegradable.
With Lume, body odor is optional.
I encourage you to give Lume a try!
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