How Come Garlic Is So Darn Delicious Yet Causes Such Nasty Stink Breath?

Personally, I love shoveling piles and piles of garlic into anything I cook because it’s basically the ingredient of the gods — aromatic and tasty, it makes any dish taste better. I know plenty of other people out there share that love, but there’s another thing garlic lovers share: A hatred of the resulting deathbreath that makes you want to never speak to another human again for fear of killing them with a whiff of it. So how can something so tasty cause such a stink?

Beyond the culinary world, health experts have also long touted the benefits of garlic for things like helping high blood pressure and heart disease. If it’s so good for you, why does it turn into a stink bomb in your mouth?

According to a new video from the American Chemical Society’s Compound Interest blog (via it can be chalked up to four major organic compounds that are only found in garlic when it’s chopped or crushed: diallyl disulfide, allyl methyl sulfide, allyl mercaptan and allyl methyl disulfide.

Allyl methyl sulfide is the worst of the bunch, as it takes a long time to break down in your body after you’ve chowed on garlic. Brushing your teeth won’t help and neither will rinsing out your mouth, that’s how pungent it is.

You can try to combat the smell of death breath by chewing on parsley or guzzling a glass of milk, the ACS suggests. Or do what I do, which is refuse to have contact with other humans until there are no more odors emanating from my mouth.

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  1. MarthaGaill says:

    Or, have your date/anyone else you intend to spend the evening with eat garlic as well, so you’re all sitting around enjoying each others garlicky goodness.

  2. Airwave says:

    In the Health Food section of my supermarket (Fred Meyer/Kroger), I used to buy these chewable papaya enzyme tablets to aid in digestion. Some had added chlorophyll for bad breath and they worked like a charm, even on garlic!

  3. Lenne says:

    You see, this is what I have freaking been telling people for YEARS about garlic. It is finally nice to see an article backing up my claim. I friggin hate garlic for this very reason. I have a pretty sensitive nose and can easily tell if someone has eaten food with a lot of garlic within the past five hours or so. Its not just your breath that is kicking, you sweat this stuff out and your entire body stinks. Onion and oddly enough, banana compounds will also come out of your sweat glands as well.

    People would tell me that I should brush my teeth when I eat garlic, and I remember telling them all the time that I could brush my chompers five times and that nastiness will still be there.

    Here is one suggestion if you absolutely must eat something that is strongly flavoured with garlic. Drink a glass of milk. The fat in milk will help to wash away the garlic oils in your mouth (this will also help with spicy foods). Still won’t help your garlicky BO though.