Can Eating Garlic Make Your Skin Smell?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

Garlic is one of the foods that make you smell bad when eating it raw. The organic compound allicin, which is released when fresh garlic is cut or chopped, is broken down into smaller, smellier compounds that are responsible for the garlic sweat odor.

Garlic Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA, a single clove of garlic provides approximately 4 calories of energy, where 81 percent comes from carbs, 15 percent from protein, and 3 percent from the fat. Garlic also contains iron, sodium and magnesium, minerals that help the body maintain the proper functioning of its muscles and circulatory system.

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Black garlic, which is made by fermenting fresh garlic pods in a temperature- controlled environment, is milder and lower in allicin, the chemical compound responsible for garlic's pungency and smell. Fermentation, however, decreases the carbohydrate content of black garlic, when compared to fresh garlic.

Garlic Health Benefits

According to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center, the benefits of garlic lie in its organic compound allicin, the same compound responsible for the odorous smell of garlic sweat. Allicin contributes to garlic's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular protection properties.

However, the benefits are only seen in raw garlic. Cooking or heating garlic can lead to the destruction of the enzyme alliinase, which is responsible for the production of allicin, and for making garlic one of the foods that make you smell bad.

The Science Behind Garlic’s Smell

When raw garlic is peeled and chopped, it releases the chemical compound allicin. This compound is then broken down into four smellier compounds, with allyl methyl sulfide being the main one — the other three are diallyl disulfide, allyl mercaptan and allyl methyl disulfide — responsible for the notorious

Unfortunately, although garlic is delicious, it is one of those foods that make you smell bad after eating it. Michigan State University Extension explains that the oils present in garlic end up in the tissues of the lungs, affecting not just your breath but also the garlic smell from pores emanating as garlic sweat.

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