Garlic breath might scare away the ladies, but garlic body odor will keep them wanting more. Men who eat a sizeable amount of garlic smell more attractive to women, a new study finds.
In the study, published in the journal Appetite, the researchers discovered a positive correlation between how much garlic a man eats and how appealing his body odor is to the opposite sex.
During the experiment, 42 male participants were given varying amounts of garlic bulbs or capsules to consume in three separate phases. Their body odors were collected by the pads they were required to wear for 12 hours after. Those pads were then sniffed by 82 women who rated the smell by their attractiveness, intensity and pleasantness.
The first phase involved 6 grams (2 cloves) of garlic, which the men ate with bread and cheese. The second phase involved 12 grams (4 cloves of garlic), and the third phase involved 12 grams of garlic in capsule form.
For the results of the first phase, women who sniffed the pads didn’t rate the odor any differently than the odor of men who ate only bread and cheese. Their body odors were rated the same as the control group that was not given any garlic.
When researchers doubled the amount of garlic consumption to 12 grams in the second phase, women found the odor to be increasingly pleasant, attractive and less intense than the non-garlic odor. The women rated the odor from the third phase the same as the second.
The experimenters concluded that garlic and body odor go hand in hand for men when it comes to attracting a female partner. The researchers speculate that the healthy benefits from eating garlic is exuded in body odor. The pheromones from a male’s body is thus a marker of good health and will consequently elicit a response from the opposite sex.
Study co-author and psychology professor at the University of Stirling in the UK, Craig Roberts, noted the pros of eating garlic:
“As the health benefits of garlic consumption include antioxidant, immunostimulant, cardiovascular bactericidal and anti-cancer effects, it is plausible that human odor preferences have been shaped by sexual selection.”
Roberts gave a possible explanation for the results:
“From an evolutionary perspective, formation of preferences for diet-associated body odors was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection. Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition.”