Deodorant Gum, Roller Girls and Fruity Musk

(colin j./Creative Commons License)

I spent all last week researching and writing about saunas, so it feels right that I should happen on a mention of Fuwarinka Functional Candy and Gum in a Mental Floss article. Here's the deal: eat this gum and your breath will smell like vanilla or citrus. An hour later, work up a sweat and you'll coat yourself in a fragrant glaze of vanilla or citrus perfume.

The gum has only been around for a few years, but the basic idea here is nothing new. Several different factors affect body odor, but sweat is generally odorless -- the stink comes from bacteria near the sweat glands breaking down their favorite food beverage. However, according to the book "Smelling and Tasting" by Alvin, Virginia and Laura Silverstein, a vegetarian diet or one heavy on onions and garlic can alter your body odor. So Fuwarinka set out to turn this curious relationship into a selling point.

Does it work? Well, KT over at Gastronomy 101 put the gum to the test and blogged about it. With the vanilla-flavored gum, she detected a little sweat modification, though she wasn't sure the smell was exactly "vanilla." The next day she tried out the citrus-flavored gum and reported that the scent was a "little fruity and a little musky." Interestingly enough, a search on those terms led me straight to Derby Luv's review of Opus Oil's "Roller Girl Perfume." Throw in clove cigarettes and beer and that closely approximates the odors surrounding the one roller derby match I attended.

And so I turn to you, gentle reader. Would you chew a gum that gives you perfumed sweat? What foods have you found to affect your personal odor, and which ones do you wish had such an effect?

And don't kill me, roller girls. You know as well as I do that a roller-skating rink in July is never a pleasant odor.

Sweat, curse and bash people on skates at How Hyperhidrosis Works (Sweat too much? This is you.) How Perfume Works How Roller Derby Works How Swearing Works How Sweat Works

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.