This week, Mary decodes: Why red meat makes you smell worse.
Red meat often gets a bad reputation when it comes to your health. We often hear about how it shortens your lifespan and can even cause you to have a larger appetite, but did you know it can also be an important cause for body odor problems?
The Plant-based VS Red Meat Diet Study
In 2006, the University of Liverpool conducted a study where the goal was to evaluate how red meat impacted the body odor of individuals. Half of the participants kept a meat-free diet for a two week period, while the other half consumed it daily. It is important to note that all of the participants were asked to refrain from other known causes of body odor like eating garlic, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
Other non-meat foods that are known to impact body odor include curry, asparagus and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts).
At the end of the two weeks, the participants were asked to wear cotton pads under their arms for 24 hours. A testing panel then smelled the pads and rated them based on intensity and pleasantness. A month later, the study was repeated with the same participants. This time the carnivores went meat-free for two weeks and visa versa. The results in both tests showed that the red meat diet smelled more intense and less pleasant than those who did not consume meat.
Why Red Meat Makes You Smell Worse
Red meat is hard for the body to digest properly because it is so fatty. As a result it leaves behind a residue in the digestive tract. This mingles with bacteria in the digestive tract, which produces fatty acids that are then released out of the body through the form of pungent-smelling sweat or gas.
According to David Klein, director of the Colitis & Crohn’s Health Recovery Center, undigested protein from meat can also rot in the gut. Just like how milk spoils when it is left out, meat does this same thing inside of your body. When the body expels gases or sweats, it is noticeably worse if you have eaten red meat.
What if I’m not a Vegetarian or Vegan?
Not everyone’s body odor is impacted the same way by food, but if you noticed red meat is changing the way you smell it may be worth making some changes to your diet. If you are not already practicing a vegan/vegetarian diet, try to cut back to only having red meat once a week or less. Just remember – the fattier the meat, the worse you will smell. Even just replacing steak with skinless chicken in a meal could make a big difference with the way your body breaks down your dinner!
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