Turns out, Mom was wing-manning you all along.
Four scientists at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia determined that men who regularly eat fruits and veggies have “more pleasant smelling sweat (with more floral, fruity, sweet and medicinal qualities).”
Their research, published in Evolution and Human Behavior, involved collecting sweat samples and dietary information from male participants and then forking those samples over to the women for subjective analysis.
The results? Women were much more likely to enjoy the sweat of veggie-eaters than carboloaders. (Apparently, carbs make for pungent perspiration.) Second to a fruit- and veggie-rich diet was one composed of fat, meat, eggs and tofu.
Scientists believe the culprits in the case of the sweet-scented sweat are something called carotenoids, red-, orange- or yellow-colored pigments synthesized by plants and found in many fruits or vegetables.
All this isn’t to say you should inhale a bag of carrots and skip the deodorant. Basic hygiene can’t be replaced by a veggie-rich diet. Mixed in with sweet or sour sweat alike is androstenol, a pheromone produced by fresh sweat. (Keyword: fresh.) While heterosexual females are attracted to androstenol — and, presumably, to the combination of naturally sweet sweat mixed with that pheromone — the nose is a fickle creature.
Once the sweat is exposed to oxygen (i.e. when it gets old), it produces androstenone, which is perceived by women as unpleasant. (The only exception: During ovulation, the female nose processes androstenone as neutral rather than negative. But still — you’re not making women swoon by letting stale sweat gather, even if they are ovulating.)
Takeaway: The higher the level of carotenoids measured in sweat, the sweeter it smells. But before your next date, boys, don’t just buckle down to some apples and bananas. Also make sure to apply the usual external care, like antiperspirant.