As the adage goes, you are what you eat, but what does that mean for those who choose a diet completely void of meat? In a recent article, Psychology Today investigated some of the strangest rumors surrounding a vegetarian diet, and what it does to both your health and sex life.

Smell Better?

Scent is important, and one of the first clues into a person’s health and hygiene before we even speak to them. Research has also shown that a person’s scent can give us subconscious clues into whether or not we are sexually attracted to them. For example, studies have shown men prefer the scent of women when they are ovulating, and women prefer the scent of men who have higher levels of testosterone in their bodies, Live Science reported. But what about meat eaters and vegetarians?

Read: 8 Great Reasons That Vegetarian Diets Benefit Your Health (And The Planet)

One 2006 study showed that women rated the scent of men who had given up meat for two weeks as being “sexier, more pleasant, and less intense,” Psychology Today reported.  

For the 2007 study, published in Chemical Senses, women were given a blind smell test of the scents of men who recently had given up meat for two weeks. All male subjects were asked to give up alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, as well as refrain from using deodorant and colognes, and give up strong-smelling foods and sexual activity in order to ensure that the differences in scent were not caused by outsides factors. In addition, the “meatless men” were given a choice of 33 vegetarian meals to choose from. Meanwhile, a different group of men who ate meat were asked to eat seven ounces of red meat a day. However, for the four days prior to the body odor collection, all meals were chosen and administered by the researchers.

To collect body odors, the researchers put cotton pads under the men’s armpits for 24 hours, collected the pads, and put them in jars. A total of 30 women smelled these scent-infused jars and rated them on a 7 point scale for “sexiness” “pleasantness” and “intensity.” They did not know beforehand which scents belonged to which men, but rated vegetarians as smelling better. 

Interestingly, an Australian study with a similar concept found a completely different outcome. Instead, women rated the body odors of frequent meat eaters to be more pleasant than men who ate a lot of vegetables, Psychology Today reported.

Turn Yellow?

Along with scent, one of the main predictors of sexual attractiveness is skin tone, as this is often an indication of health and fertility. For example, individuals with more healthy and vibrant skin tones, with no relation to racial backgrounds, are often deemed as more healthy and attractive. Does a diet of vegetables make your skin glow and therefore increase your chances with “the ladies”? A 2015 Australian study sought to find out.

This study found that the men who ate more vegetables and less meat tended to have more yellow skin. In addition, women smell testers rated the armpit odor of men with yellowish skin as more pleasant.

So, does a vegetarian lifestyle subconsciously make you more attractive to the opposite sex? There’s still no way to determine this for sure, but accumulating research has shown that (aside from your dating life), eating more plants and less meat improves your health in countless way, so it may be worth giving it a go.

Source: Tan KW, Graf BA, Mitra SR, Stephen ID. Daily Consumption of a Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie Alters Facial Skin Color. Plos One . 2015

Havlicek J, Lenochova P. The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Chemical Senses . 2007

See Also:

Vegetarian Diet Benefits: What Happens When You Quit Eating Meat?

Meat Eaters Vs. Vegetarians: What Diet Will Help You Live A Longer, Healthier Life