Recent findings suggest that yogurt, particularly its protein and fat content, can effectively counteract the smell of garlic. Consuming high-protein foods like Greek yogurt might be a future remedy for garlic-induced bad breath. It’s recommended to eat it directly after consuming garlic.
Emerging research points to a lesser-known advantage of yogurt: its ability to neutralize the aroma of garlic. Preliminary lab-based studies, with plans for human trials underway, demonstrate that plain whole milk yogurt can effectively suppress most of the volatile elements that give garlic its distinct smell.
The study aimed to evaluate the deodorizing capabilities of yogurt and its constituent elements, namely water, fat, and protein. Both fat and protein exhibited impressive prowess in reducing garlic smell, prompting researchers to propose that high-protein food formulations could specifically target garlic breath in the future.
Barringer had previously identified certain foods, such as apples, mint, lettuce, and milk, that counteract garlic breath due to their fat content and enzymes which neutralize sulfur-based compounds that result in garlic’s enduring scent.
Prompted by theories about yogurt’s potential deodorizing capabilities, Barringer and lead researcher Manpreet Kaur, a doctoral student in her team, embarked on this research journey.
In their methodology, equivalent amounts of raw garlic were housed in glass containers to ensure the release of the odor-causing sulfuric volatiles at detectable levels. Advanced techniques like mass spectrometry gauged the concentrations of these volatile particles pre and post exposure to different treatments.
Observations indicated a 99% reduction in major garlic odors when exposed to yogurt. The separate components of yogurt – fat, water, and protein – all displayed deodorizing capabilities with fat and protein outperforming water.
Notably, an increased concentration of butter fat enhanced its deodorizing effectiveness. Among proteins, various forms of whey, casein, and milk proteins showcased their effectiveness, with a specific casein-whey protein complex emerging as the most effective.
Interestingly, altering the acidity of yogurt diminished its deodorizing impact on garlic. However, altering the pH of water didn’t affect its odor-reducing capabilities.
Barringer and Kaur also studied the effects of yogurt and its components on fried garlic, realizing that frying alone substantially reduced garlic’s odor-causing volatiles.
The deodorizing impact was less pronounced for fried garlic compared to raw, likely because of the reduced number of odor-causing volatiles.
These revelations set the stage for future studies, aiming to identify an array of proteins potentially tailored to create the ultimate solution for garlic breath and verify yogurt’s potency against real-world garlic odors.
Meanwhile, Barringer speculates that protein-rich Greek yogurt could be especially adept at alleviating garlic breath. Even fruit-infused yogurts might be effective, she believes, especially if consumed shortly after garlic intake.