What Foods to Avoid If You Want to Smell Your Best

smell your best 1

No one wants to smell bad, but your diet can really have an impact on how you smell, whether it’s in your sweat, on your breath, or causing gas. Any of those issues can be pretty embarrassing. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid if you want to smell your best.

Excessive Protein

Those high-protein diets can leave you a little smelly if you’re replacing most of your carbs with meats, eggs, or protein powders. When you cut out a lot of veggies, fruits, legumes, and grains and eat a ton of protein to stay full, your body could go into ketosis mode to turn fat instead of carbs into fuel for your brain. Ketones, a byproduct of ketosis, show up on your breath and smell not-so-fresh (more like sour fruit).

This doesn’t have to be an official type of “diet,” by the way, and eating a lot of protein in lieu of most other things could be done without even thinking about it (so remember to stay mindful of what you’re consuming throughout the day!). This way of eating could be a part of the Standard American Diet—lots of animal products and not much else.

Red Meat

Red meat in particular can keep you from smelling your best. In a study published in the journal Chemical Senses back in 2006, 17 males were put on a meat or non-meat diet for two weeks. Their sweat from the last day of the diet was collected, then 30 women (not on birth control pills) ranked their scents based on pleasantness, attractiveness, intensity, and masculinity. The study was repeated with the men on the opposite diet of the one they had before, and their odors were ranked again. The scent of the men who hadn’t eaten meat was ranked more pleasant and attractive, plus it was less intense.

Dishes Featuring Lots of Spices like Curry and Cumin

We love spices for their flavor and health benefits and would never recommend staying away from them all the time. However, it’s important to be aware of the way some of them, like curry and cumin, can affect your scent so you can plan your grocery trip and meals for the week accordingly. If you have a date, a meeting, or an interview coming up, you probably don’t want to eat curry the day before, for example. It comes through in your sweat (and if you’re especially nervous, you may be doing more of that!) and may be noticeable to the people around you.

smell your best 2

Processed Foods and Junk Foods

Your body can’t digest processed foods and junk foods well because they’re not in their natural form. That means a lot of it may sit around in your body and the resulting smells of the rotting food comes through your pores. When you don’t get enough fiber (likely, on a diet of processed foods) and the food can’t move out of your digestive system, toxins may be released through your skin.

Junk foods also lack chlorophyll, which can act as a sort of internal natural deodorant, neutralizing odors that could otherwise make their way out through your skin or breath.

Fried Foods

Like the junk food mentioned above, fried foods can also make you smell. Your body can’t digest them properly, so they may sit around in your digestive tract. They can also give you gas, which presents another smelly (and potentially embarrassing) problem.


Refined sugars may be all wrapped up with those junk foods we mentioned above, but they pose another threat, too. They feed the bacteria that cause bad breath, and if you have candida, the sugar will also feed the yeast in your gut and lead to gas. If you do have candida, you should eliminate all forms of sugar, including honey and agave (though you should never consume agave no matter what).


Dairy is a major culprit behind a lot of uncomfortable or even embarrassing things, and body odor is one of them. It, too, is difficult for the body to break down, and in the process of trying, it breaks down into sulfurous compounds that make your breath smell, well, like sulfur.

For some, it may also lead to gas or even constipation, which means smelly toxins could begin coming through your skin when they can’t move out of your body through regular elimination.

smell your best 3

Smell Good Naturally

Now that you know what foods to avoid if you want to smell your best, what about the things you can do to smell good?

  • A clean diet helps create a clean body, as does adequate hydration.
  • Probiotics will give you more beneficial gut flora that make digestion easier (so food’s less likely to hang around in there and make you smell bad).
  • You can also try a natural deodorant (you can even make one yourself!)
  • Munching on parsley or mint will help with bad breath without the nasty side effects of chewing gum. For more parsley tips (using it in recipes or growing your own), visit Your Organic Gardening Blog.




Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • http://hotchica1994@gmail.com Natalia

    If this were true, most people in America would smell terrible, but they don’t

    • Milla

      That’s because most people in America BLOCK those odors with toxic things like anti-perspirants and deodorants. If we did not use those blocking methods, than yes, most people WOULD smell terrible, you are right!

  • Liza Lim

    Hi Kimberly,

    I read this article because my husband has some of these issues you mentioned. He has constant bad breath and lots of gas. He doesn’t smell excessively but will have his moments. He doesn’t eat any of things mentioned above and he’s thin everywhere except for his hard big belly. Just wondering if you have insight to what this could be.


  • http://Curryasaspice? MFD

    Hi All, I have to admit that I am very disappointed to see a comment stating “curry as a spice”. Curry is NOT a spice. There are spice blends called Curry Powder. I really enjoy the posts but prefer accuracy when referencing products. Please correct and advise your readers that there is an error here. Thanks

  • Julie DiPietro

    Just wondering what the difference between the online version of the GLS and the version with books and dvd’s? I purchased the online version but I am new to the hole idea and could definitely use more help with recipes. Are there books to purchase separately that have more recipes? Thsnk you for your help!
    Julie D.

  • Harshi

    Great article!! Cloves are a real good option for bad breath and a healthier substitution for gum. I pop in about two cloves into my mouth before I leave and it will stay longer than mint and parsley, plus I like the clove taste better … therefore it’s individual preference. Cloves also have anti bacterial anti inflammatory properties so it’s highly used for mouth and throat inflammation. It has a cleansing property so I love popping a clove after eating a salad or drinking a smoothie :)

  • http://www.jasonmoffatt.com Jason Moffatt

    I think you’re right on with this article. When I remain on a raw or vegan diet I tend to never have the need to use deodorant (Maybe once a month or longer), but it’s a totally different story once I put meats and junk foods into my body.

    You can really tell if you’ve ever been super clean and then reverted back to a crappy diet.

  • James

    Why should we never consume agave no matter what? I must have missed that in a previous blog.

  • Anna Nakamura

    Why no agave?

  • Jonathan Rivera

    I eat a lot of protein… So that means, I crave so much meat, eggs, and bacon…. Because I’m not eating enough carbohydrates? What are the most satisfying sources of carbohydrates then….? So I can try it. I eat a lot fruits, meat, eggs, and at least one salad a day.

  • Yolanda

    What’s wrong with Agave?