Weird Olfactory Phenomenon When Fasting -- Your (Not My) Breath Not So Good

So last week for a variety of reasons I ended up not eating any food for about five days (started out with a stomach bug the first day, but that passed pretty quick, just ended up not very hungry plus traveling with nothing on offer that whetted my dulled appetite). Probably not super healthy, but hey, I guess the cool kids would call it an inadvertent “cleanse.”

I was well hydrated, etc., and actually felt pretty good – not light-headed. And while I’ve heard of ketosis and the side effects of burning stored fat, I never had a bad taste in my mouth, etc.

But . . . on about day 3 I was talking to a friend face-to-face and started thinking . . . dude, did you just eat a clove or garlic or something? I got a really strong sulfurous/garlic smell, from a foot or more away, off his breath (not a guy I usually associate with halitosis). By day 4 and 5, I reached the conclusion that all of my acquaintances had not suddenly abandoned oral hygiene and taken to an all-kimchee diet or something, but that’s sure what it smelled like – everyone I talked to had breath that smelled (to me) that way.

When I started eating again, this phenomenon receded, and now most people don’t give off any perceptible odor when talking face to face (excepting chronic smokers or known halitosis sufferers).

What was going on here? Anyone else ever have that experience?

Metabolizing your own fatand little else willl make your breath stink.

I know. But remember, I said my breath was fine (well, who am I kidding, I wouldn’t know for sure) but the other people’s (non-fasting) breath was what smelled awful.

Was I somehow smelling my own ketotic breath reflected back at me? But then why only when others talked to me, and why did it seem to be coming from them?

Fasting will certainly give you terrible breath–thus breath mints are good to have on hand. Why you would suddenly perceive others as having terrible breath I do not know.

It was probably your own breath. When you were facing another person who was talking, his breath pushed your own breath back at you, and you got the chance to smell it more objectively than usual. You should have asked these people whether your own breath smelled.