Study Says You'll Smell Better If You Eat Fewer Carbs

A new Australian study shows that diet can affect how much men's sweat grosses out—or attracts—women. Hint: Beware of carbs.
Hilary Pollack
Los Angeles, US
September 7, 2016, 7:00pm
Billede: IMAGO | ZUMA Press

It's no secret that we are what we eat. Or that we kind of smell like what we eat, for that matter. But we think of only the most pungent of foods as having an effect on our personal aromas: garlic, onions, whiskey—maybe fenugreek, if you're digging deep. (It causes you to emit a maple-syrup-like scent.)

But most of our day-to-day decisions about what to eat for lunch have little overlap with our concerns about whether to switch deodorant brands. For most people, a glance at a bistro menu—and the subsequent choice between a salad Niçoise or a turkey sandwich with French fries—bears little influence on their self-perceived attractiveness. But maybe it should, dudes. Maybe it should.


A new study published in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior has found that our body odor is more closely tied to our diets than previously thought. While it might seem like common sense that eating healthier will make you smell healthier, there's now scientific proof to back up your mama's persistent assertion that you should be eating more fruits and vegetables. Your very hotness could depend on it—at least if you're a man.

The study, conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption in male participants and the perception of the smell of their sweat by female participants. Clean-eating freaks, scoot to the edge of your seats, because you're about to get some great news about your mojo.

READ MORE: Your Diet is Making You Smell Weird

The female study participants "evaluated" the sweat samples in regards to their "affective, qualitative, and psychophysical dimensions." The results: a "significant" association between more pleasing B.O. smells and higher fruit and vegetable intake. But interestingly, the stinkier dietary culprits weren't garlic, meat, or eggs, as one might expect on the flip side. Instead, it was high consumption of carbohydrates that resulted in "stronger-smelling, less pleasant" sweat.

Carbs, we thought you were our friends for all of those years, and look how you keep doing us wrong.

But there are other benefits to your sex appeal to be had by hitting the farmers' market more often. Previous studies have shown that the carotenoids found in colorful fruits and vegetables can actually give your skin a perceptibly pretty glow. Grab a bunch of sweet potatoes and get ready to upgrade your face!

And if all else fails, you can always slather yourself with KFC's fried-chicken-scented sunscreen and hope that your crush or betrothed loves the scent of peppery breading. Or, just try this:

If you smell bad but don't want to take a shower, exercise for 2 hours. The new sweat will push out the old sweat, making you smell clean.

— LifeAdviceLamp (@life_lamp) September 6, 2016

Here to help.