Even Sex Supports a Healthy Lifestyle!

A recent study concluded that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables actually results in women being more attracted to the way men smell.1 Gotta love it when sex supports a healthy lifestyle! The study found that compared to a diet high in carbohydrates, such as breads and pastas, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables produces sweat in men that women find more attractive, and actually describe as being more floral and “medicinal.” Meat diets were also assessed, and did not seem to sway a woman’s preference in either direction, though a diet higher in meat was found to produce a stronger smelling sweat.

Scent and Sexual Attraction

The study confirms what other research has found in terms of scent being a contributing factor in sexual attraction. It also confirms that how we sweat is determined by what we eat. And that possibly the way we smell can give a glimpse into our overall health.

Sweat Samples Study

The study was conducted by taking sweat samples produced by men wearing clean white t-shirts and then working out enough to produce sweat. Since sweat by itself doesn’t smell bad, but is broken down by bacteria on the skin to produce what we commonly know as “body odor,” the t-shirts were then taken and given to blindfolded women participants who rated the smells of the shirts. The male participants were asked to complete a written diet diary of their average food intake. Skin measurements of carotenoid content was also taken by a device called a spectrophotometer. A spectrophotometer can measure the amount of pigmented carotenoids in the skin and give a general idea of how many fruits and vegetables someone is consuming on a regular basis.

More Carbs = Less Pleasant Sweat

Men who had higher spectrometry readings, which indicated that they consumed more fruits and vegetables, were associated with a significantly higher level of pleasant smelling sweat. Women rated the sweat as having more floral, fruity, sweet and medicinal qualities. The greater carbohydrate consumption was associated with less pleasant sweat.

Healthy Body = Healthy Body Odor

It makes sense that someone eating more fruits and vegetables would be found more attractive by a potential partner. The health of people who consume more fruits and vegetables would be better than others, preventing them from getting sick more often, and also passing illnesses to future offspring; all things that would be important to rule out in a potential partner.


  1. Source: Zuniga A, Stevenson RJ, Mahmut MK, Stephen ID.Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor. Evolution & Human Behavior. 2017
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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