Why You Get Garlic Breath

One organic compound in particular is to blame

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 10, 2014 1:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – We know it as garlic breath, but a scientist might think of it as allyl methyl sulfide breath. That organic compound is the main culprit in the stench that often results after a garlic-infused meal, explains a new video by the American Chemical Society and the Compound Interest chemistry blog. Three other compounds also play a role, but allyl methyl sulfide takes longer to break down in the body and thus takes most of the blame.

None of the compounds are present in whole garlic but are instead created when the garlic is chopped or crushed, notes a summary of the video by NBC News. And it's not as if the odor arises because you've got some garlic stuck in your teeth—it's way more pernicious than that, explains Time. The offending compound enters the bloodstream and leaves the body through urine, sweat, and, yes, breath. What to do? The video suggests eating parsley or drinking milk. (Which might be necessary, because garlic is considered an aphrodisiac by some.)

  (Shutterstock)
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A video explainer of garlic breath.   (YouTube)

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