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Sweet or Sour: How Sugar Can Give You the B.O. From Hell

Sweating is a natural and completely normal part of staying cool and healthy, but some of the accompanying smells are anything but! If you've noticed that your sweat smells worse when you’ve overdone it on the sweet stuff, you're not alone. Here’s how your sugar habit is making you stink.   

Sweat itself is virtually odourless, and serves the purpose of helping your body regulate its temperature and eliminate waste. What makes it smell is the interaction between sweat and the bacteria living on your skin – when you sweat, the moisture provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. These bacteria feed on the components of sweat, including proteins and lipids, and produce byproducts that can have a distinct odour. You know what we’re talking about here!

Here's where sugar enters the picture. When you consume sugary foods and drinks, your body breaks down the sugars into glucose and fructose. Excess glucose can end up in your sweat, providing an additional source of nutrients for the skin's resident bacteria. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to an increase in the level of glucose in your sweat. This elevated glucose can serve as a feast for bacteria, leading to increased bacterial activity and, subsequently, more pronounced body odour. Frequent and significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels, such as those caused by a diet high in sugary foods and drinks, can lead to episodes of hyperglycaemia and subsequent glucose presence in sweat, potentially intensifying body odour.

Then we’ve got another interesting connection through the gut microbiome – when our good and bad bacteria fall out of balance, not only does it affect our immunity, mental health and weight, but it can also affect our B.O! Here’s how:

  • Metabolism of Foods: The gut microbiome helps digest and metabolise the foods we eat. Certain foods, when broken down by gut bacteria, can produce volatile compounds that can be released through sweat, contributing to body odour.
  • Nutrient Absorption: A balanced and diverse gut microbiome is essential for proper nutrient absorption. When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, it can affect nutrient absorption and metabolism, potentially influencing body odour.
  • Hormone Regulation: Gut bacteria can influence hormone metabolism and regulation. Hormonal imbalances can lead to changes in sweat production and composition, which may impact body odour.
  • Inflammation: An unhealthy gut microbiome can contribute to chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation can affect various bodily processes, including those related to skin health and sweat production.
  • Detoxification: The gut microbiome plays a role in detoxifying the body by processing and eliminating waste products. An imbalanced microbiome may impair detoxification processes, potentially impacting body odour.

Why Scrubbing Your Armpits is Only a Band-Aid Solution

So, you’ve got a stench in your armpits – it’s as easy as just cleaning it, right? Well, not quite. That smell will keep coming back, again and again. Although it will temporarily remove the smell, the problems within your gut and blood-sugars are ongoing and in order to have long-term success – and long-term health – you’ll want to address the heart of the problem. To promote a healthy gut microbiome and potentially reduce the risk of body odour: 

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume a variety of fibre-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt and fermented foods to support a diverse gut microbiome.
  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can help dilute sweat and reduce the concentration of odour-causing compounds.
  • Probiotics: Consider taking probiotic supplements, especially if you have an imbalanced gut microbiome. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.
  • Manage Stress: Chronic stress can negatively affect the gut microbiome. Practices like stress management, relaxation techniques, and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy balance.
  • Hygiene: Maintain good personal hygiene, including regular showers and the use of antibacterial soap, to reduce the potential for bacterial overgrowth on the skin.

Need a little help getting your health back on track? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!


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