Want To Get Rid Of Garlic Breath? Eat Yogurt, They Say

New York Post

According to scientists, the proteins found in full-fat plain yogurt have the ability to counteract and eliminate the pungent odor caused by sulfur-based compounds in garlic consumption.

Confident in their research, the scientists encourage garlic enthusiasts to enjoy a serving of yogurt for dessert after indulging in garlic-laden dishes like garlic bread or chicken kiev.

Dr. Sheryl Barringer, the senior author of the study and a professor of food science and technology at Ohio State University in the United States, has previously explored various foods to determine their effectiveness in eliminating bad breath odors.

Among the foods already proven to combat garlic breath are lettuce, apples, milk, and mint. Interestingly, culinary traditions in regions like India and the Near East, known for their abundant use of garlic, also frequently incorporate mint and yogurt in their dishes, unlike Western culinary styles.

In their research, Dr. Barringer and Manpreet Kaur, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Barringer’s lab and the first author of the study, conducted experiments in which they placed equal amounts of raw garlic in glass bottles, ensuring that the noxious sulfur-based compounds were released in concentrations detectable by the human nose.

They employed mass spectrometry, an analytical tool, to measure the levels of volatile molecules both before and after each treatment. The results revealed that yogurt alone was highly effective in reducing nearly all (99%) of the major, odor-causing sulfur compounds released by raw garlic.

When examined separately, the fat, water, and protein components of yogurt also exhibited deodorizing effects on raw garlic, with fat and protein performing better than water. The proteins analyzed included various forms of whey, casein, and milk proteins, all of which proved effective at neutralizing garlic odors. Notably, a casein micelle-whey protein complex was found to be the most effective in this regard.

“High protein is a very hot thing right now,” explained Dr. Barringer. “Generally, people want to eat more protein. An unintended side benefit may be a high-protein formulation that could be advertised as a breath deodorizer in addition to its nutritional claims.”

“I was more excited about the protein’s effectiveness because consumer advice to eat a high-fat food is not going to go over well,” Dr. Barringer said. She was pointing out that the decades-long advice to steer clear of fat in different foods was inaccurate, especially in the case of dairy. Recent comprehensive scientific studies have revealed that the presence of full milk fats actually has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease and weight gain.

In the garlic experiment, researchers conducted additional tests by adjusting the pH level of the yogurt to decrease its acidity. They discovered that this modification resulted in a decreased ability of the yogurt to neutralize the odor of garlic.

“That’s telling me it goes back to those proteins, because as you change pH you change the configuration of proteins and their ability to bind,” Dr. Barringer said. “We know proteins bind flavor—a lot of times that’s considered a negative, especially if a food with high protein has less flavor.”

The combination of yogurt and its components had a weaker effect in neutralizing volatile compounds in fried garlic when compared to raw garlic. This discrepancy is likely due to the fact that the frying process itself reduces the presence of these volatile compounds.

Dr. Barringer and her research team are optimistic about their findings, considering them as a solid foundation for further exploration. They are investigating various proteins that could potentially be used to develop a highly efficient garlic breath eradication product in the future.

In the interim, Dr. Barringer recommends Greek yogurt, which boasts a higher protein content than regular whole milk yogurt, as a potential solution for combating garlic breath effectively.

“With apples, we have always said to eat them immediately,” Dr. Barringer had shared. “The same with yogurt is presumed to be the case: have your garlic and eat the yogurt right away.”