Red Meat Makes Men's Scent Unpleasant to Women

Yep, they found 32 women willing to smell and rate men's underarm odor. And these brave women made the sacrifice in the name of science. Their only compensation was a gift of a perfume tester after the first rating session and a 100g bar of chocolate after the second session. Let's look at what science says about the effect of red meat on body odor.

This study was done with 17 male students ages 19- to 31-years-old who were divided into two groups and assigned a prescribed diet--either meat or non-meat--for two weeks. At the end of the first study period, the men were reassigned to the opposite diet group, and the study was repeated to determine the effect that changing from a meat diet to a non-meat diet had on each man's scent.

During the time of the study, the men had to avoid personal care products such as perfumes, deodorants, antiperspirants, aftershave, and shower gels. They were also asked to avoid a list of other foods which might affect body odor; garlic, onions, cabbage, and vinegar were included on the list. Finally, drinking alcohol and smoking were no-no's during this period, and "exaggerated" physical activities had to be curtailed toward the end of the two weeks.

On day 14 of the study, the men--who were given monetary compensation for their time and the inconvenience--were instructed to shower without soap and given cotton pads to wear under their arms. At the end of 24 hours, the pads were removed and immediately sealed in zip lock bags and transported to the waiting women. The pads were presented to the women in opaque jars. The women assessed the smell of each subject for intensity, pleasantness, sexual attractiveness, and masculinity. They rated the scent on a seven-point scale which ranged from very unpleasant to very pleasant.

The researchers report that, "The results of this study show for the first time that red meat consumption may have a perceivable impact on axillary body odor. Odors of donors on the nonmeat diet were judged as more pleasant, more attractive, and less intense." In plain English, that means nonmeat eaters simply smell better. At least that's what the 32 women said. For my part, I'd say their perfume testers were well earned.

Smelling better is only one of the many benefits that avoiding meat has on our bodies. Check out my Science Section of Research Summaries to read about the relationship of red meat to inflammation, colorectal cancer, and insulin resistance.

For additional information:

(1) The effect of meat consumption on body odor attractiveness

(2) Is Your Bad Breath Caused by Foods High in Sulfur?

(3) Go Green for a Healthy Glow