It can be the ultimate deal closer. Even if a man is physically beautiful, witty, and charming, if his soulmate gets in close and detects a whiff of something foul, nothing’s going to happen.
However, there is new research that suggests that how a man smells has to do with a lot more than whether or not the guy remembered to shower today. (This is something even shower sex can’t fix.)
According a new paper in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior, titled “Diet Quality and the Attractiveness of Male Body Odor,” what men EAT can play huge role in how pleasing they smell to women.
Specifically, the research claims that men who eat a diet rich with fruits and vegetables smell significantly better to women, while men who eat a diet heavy with carbs smell much, much worse.
So, dudes, if you thought that your girlfriend would like that you smell like pizza — because who doesn’t like pizza? — you were, sadly, mistaken. (Dammit.)
In a summary in Popular Science, it stated that the research showed that “men who ate a variation of vegetables and fruits, as well as reasonable amounts of fat, meats, eggs and tofu, smelled better than those who ate a lot of carbs. The low-carb diets produced a floral, fruity, sweet and medicinal sweat, while higher carbohydrate intake resulted in stronger, less pleasant body odor.”
Fortunately, the research didn’t say that men who ONLY eat fruits and veg smell good to women. (Whew!) It just said that those diet components smell best, though diets rich with meat, eggs, and tofu also smell sweet to the ladies.
The big olfactory offender appeared to be carbohydrates — breads, bagels, potatoes, pastas, and the like. (Otherwise known as the BEST foods… sigh.) They apparently do not smell fantastic to the ladies.
One interesting aspect to note is that the researchers believe that the diet-inspired odors actually let women know how healthy a man is. To quote their paper, “male axillary sweat can serve as a further honest cue to women, about a man's health status.”
The paper does on to explain why the male diet choices might smell so much better to women — “Diets rich in fruit and vegetables are associated with better human health both now and also probably in our ancestral past. One reason for this is that they provide a significant source of carotenoids, powerful anti-oxidants involved in several aspects of health, including the capacity to mount an effective immune response without costly oxidative damage.”
So, not only will a man’s smell prevent him from getting laid, but it might also let his partner know if he’s been eating like crap recently?
Speaking as a man, I find that both fascinating and disturbing.
One important thing to note — Popular Science calls out that the study may seem rather “heteronormative,” i.e. completely focused on male-female sexual relationships, but the researchers explain in the study that they chose male-female pairings because women have been proven to have stronger reactions to odors and there is evidence that these smells might cause attraction/revulsion on a biological reproduction level. (That means a bad smell might make a woman less likely to want to mate with a man.)
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how same-sex couples react to the diet-driven smells of their partners. But, if science figures out that a certain sexual pairing finds the smell of pizza and French fries intoxicating… all I’ll say is… “I’M LISTENING.”