View Full Version : Can any part of the food we eat be excreted through the pores?
06-20-2003, 07:17 AM
Hi Dopers! :)
I wonder if you can help to resolve a question which has come up in discussion with some friends? Namely, is it true that some component(s) of the food we eat can be excreted through the pores of the skin?
I have hunted back through the archives and the closest I could come to it was Mangetout's post on this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=163673). I have also heard anecdotally that westerners smell of dairy to orientals, and orientals smell of spices to westerners, because some part of the food we eat leaches through the pores. Is this true, and if so, what is the exact mechanism which causes this to occur?
Please note - I am asking in relation to pores all over the body, and NOT just sweat glands and exhaled breath, etc.
Many thanks ....
Bippy the Beardless
06-20-2003, 11:02 AM
Well some definately does, since the salt in sweat comes from your food intake. There is a difficulty in separating the 'smell from pores' form the 'smell caught in clothing', I notice when I cook a curry, even though I don't spill any on my clothing, the smell of the spices will remain with the clothing for some time (wool seems to keep the smell for weeks sometimes), so if you notice a food smell coming from someone else, it may be coming off their clothes and not related to their pore secretions.
Garlic in your diet is suppossed to help ward off mosquitoes. I'm not sure about the process though, if if presents an exuded aroma they dislike or if the repellant is confined to your blood.
06-20-2003, 05:07 PM
Oils are one of the most common transport mechanisms for flavors and aromas. Your skin's flexibility depends upon lanolin based oils. Food oils (and their accompanying aromas) are more than likely exuded dermally due to digestive uptake.
06-20-2003, 05:28 PM
lieu, mosquitoes are known to possess highly sensitive air sampling receptors. They normally track down mammalian prey via exhaled carbon dioxide (at PPM or PPB levels). The persistent mention of garlic's usefulness as a repellent would seem to support the aroma part of the theory. If the noxious component was blood borne, people would still be bitten as the mosquito went about encountering the garlic based repellent. This would result in bites manifesting and a serious decline in the perceived efficacy of garlic as a successful way of avoiding this.
06-20-2003, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Bippy the Beardless
Well some definately does, since the salt in sweat comes from your food intake. There is a difficulty in separating the 'smell from pores' form the 'smell caught in clothing', I notice when I cook a curry, even though I don't spill any on my clothing, the smell of the spices will remain with the clothing for some time (wool seems to keep the smell for weeks sometimes), so if you notice a food smell coming from someone else, it may be coming off their clothes and not related to their pore secretions. Well, I can say from personal experience that not all of the curry smell is in your clothing. Had a gf that adored curry and every month or so on a Friday night, we'd go on a cheap date of the local Indian restaurant, (maybe) a movie, then to her place and, hmmm, play. The next morning when we'd resume playing, I could smell the curry on her. Our clothes were some distance away.
06-20-2003, 11:09 PM
I can smell maple syrup on my skin for hours after I eat any. *Not* from syrup spilled on my skin, I mean coming out through my sweat or pores or whatever.
06-21-2003, 01:24 AM
I'll second, or third, the curry-tasting skin and it is indeed the skin and not the clothes that smells (or tastes) of curry.
Also, I used to live in a tiny coastal village where people would typically eat fish four times a day (that's pretty much all there was to eat protein-wise). After working out, my sweat had a very noticeable fish scent.
I know someone who is very, very allergic to fish. He gets skin rashes from petting dogs that have been fed fish-based food.
06-21-2003, 04:50 AM
Are you all completely hairless?
06-21-2003, 06:36 AM
In biol lecturers we learnt that the only things excreted through the skin were salt, water and urea.
06-21-2003, 07:42 AM
Many thanks for all your replies ..... the general consensus seems to be "maybe"! I wish mangetout could stop by and expand on what he said in the thread I referred to:
some foods (and particularly those that have stongly flavoured volatile components) make us smell, both because the odour adheres to ourselves and our clothes when we cook, but also because the volatles (or their components) end up coming out of our pores.
Anyone who could point him to this thread?
BTW - I do have a practical reason for asking this, but it's a little personal to go into too many details. Let's just say that something which should stick to my skin appears not to after eating highly-spiced foods, and I'm wondering if this is the problem ....
06-21-2003, 08:05 AM
I ate half a pint of garlic salsa, and my wife & daughter would come near me for a couple days...
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