Eating yogurt is the best way to get rid of the smell of garlic on your breath, according to scientists.
They say the protein present in whole-milk plain yogurt acts to neutralize the smell and snuff out the sulfur-based compounds that cause the lingering smell.
American researchers studying its effects advise garlic lovers to wolf down a yogurt immediately after eating garlic bread or a chicken Kyiv.
They added its use as a ‘breath deodorizer’ could soon be advertised along with its nutritional claims.
The study, published recently in the scientific journal Molecules, sought to investigate the rumor that yogurt can combat garlic breath.
Dr. Sheryl Barringer, senior author of the study and a professor of food science and technology at Ohio State University in the United States, has previously investigated other foods to deduce whether they too can rid odors from the breath.
Among the foods already shown to combat garlic breath are lettuce, apples, milk and – unsurprisingly – mint.
Dr. Barringer and Manpreet Kaur, a first author of the study and a PhD student in Dr Barringer’s lab, placed equal amounts of raw garlic in glass bottles – ensuring the cluster of offending sulfur-based volatiles were released in concentrations that would be detected by the human nose.
They used the analytical tool of mass spectrometry to measure the levels of the volatile molecules in gaseous form which were present both before and after each treatment.
The researchers found that yoghurt alone reduced nearly all (99%) of the major, odour-producing raw garlic volatiles.
When tested separately, the fat, water and protein components of yogurt also had a deodorizing effect on raw garlic, though fat and protein performed better than water.
With fat, a higher butter fat was found to be more effective at deodorization.
The proteins studied included forms of whey, casein and milk proteins that were all effective at deodorizing garlic.
However, a casein micelle-whey protein complex was found to perform the best.
“High protein is a very hot thing right now,” Dr Barringer explained. “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.
“We know proteins bind flavor – a lot of times that’s considered a negative, especially if a food with high protein has less flavor.
“In this case, it could be a positive.”
The study team carried out further experiments involving changing the pH level of the yogurt to make it less acidic and found that doing so led to a reduced effectiveness of deodorization of the yogurt on 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,” said Dr Barringer.
“That said we definitely should be looking at these proteins.
“It probably depends on the protein, as well, because different proteins react differently to pH.
“So that may be an important thing as we look at other proteins for their garlic deodorization effect.”
The researchers additionally tested yogurt’s deodorizing effects on fried garlic, but, in the process, discovered that frying the garlic significantly reduces most of its odor-causing volatile compounds.
Yogurt and its individual ingredients neutralized a lower percentage of volatile compounds in fried garlic compared to raw garlic, presumably as there was fewer volatiles to trap than in the raw cloves.
Dr. Barringer and her team believe their study sets a good basis to explore different proteins that could soon be formulated to create the perfect garlic-breath eradication product.
In the meantime, however, Dr. Barringer suggests Greek yogurt – which has a higher protein value than the whole milk plain yogurt – may be the most effective way to rid yourself of garlic breath.
Flavored yogurts would also likely work and, whatever is used, it should quickly follow the eating of garlic.
“With apples, we have always said to eat them immediately,” said Dr Barringer.
“The same with yogurt is presumed to be the case: have your garlic and eat the yogurt right away.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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