Our body is covered in numerous skin folds and because of their nature they are perfect areas for sweat buildup. This is due in part to minimized airflow. As the moisture from perspiration mixes with bacteria, an unpleasant odor forms. When considering why fat people smell, this is one factor to think about. However, this occurrence is not limited to individuals who are overweight. Anyone with skin folds can be affected. Luckily, the problem can be fixed by changing hygiene practices to help rid yourself of bacteria.

Why do Fat People Smell?

It may appear that overweight people have a greater odor than others. This leads many to ask why. There are many reasons why it may seem so.

Skin Folds

People who are overweight usually have more skin folds, thus more areas for sweat and bacteria to get trapped. When these two elements mix, it often leads to an unpleasant odor. Bathing regularly and following other good hygiene practices will help quite a bit, but it cannot get rid of the whole problem because normal build-up will happen.


Gas Build-Up

Another reason why overweight individuals may have a stronger smell is because they tend to have a greater presence of hydrogen and methane in their bodies, which is released from several areas including their breath. A study has found a direct relationship between a higher presence of these gases and increased body fat. Because they are exhumed through a person’s breath, the smell surrounds the individual and the surrounding proximity.


Digestive Bacteria

The gas-like odor omitted by overweight people can also be caused by microbes that live in our body and more specifically in our digestive tract. When asking "why do fat people smell", think about how many more microbes must be present in an overweight person. The microbes are linked with bacteria that fester in the gut. Because people who are overweight tend to breathe heavier, they draw up more of the air contaminated by the odors.


False Assumptions

Believe it or not, sometimes an overweight person does not smell bad at all but is still perceived to. Because of false assumptions that fat people have a foul odor, individuals senses are fooled when they see someone overweight and they think they smell a bad odor. This has been proven by scientific studies in which obese subjects had no odor at all, yet those surveyed thought they sensed an unpleasant smell coming from the subjects.

How to Prevent Bad Body Odor

Instead of struggling with "why do fat people smell" pay more attention to things you can do or add to your daily routine to assist you in your battle over bad body odor.

Morning Showers

Start your day with a bath or shower using an antibacterial soap. This will give you a head start on your day, especially if you have a lot of skin folds or are overweight. If you sweat excessively, you may have to shower in the evening as well.


Dry Well

After you bath, make sure you dry yourself well with a clean towel. Bacteria love to hide and multiply in moist areas. Double check areas where you sweat more to ensure they are no longer damp. The drier your skin, the harder it is for odor causing bacteria to grow.


Crystal Rock Deodorizer

Buy crystal rock body deodorizer in stick form. Wet the tip and apply to areas between skin folds such as under your breasts, in your armpits, belly rolls, back of your knees, leg folds and any other areas where you tend to sweat profusely. The crystal rock helps to block bacteria build-up.



Antiperspirants are designed to reduce sweating. They contain an ingredient called aluminum chloride. You can purchase regular strength over the counter or can ask your doctor to prescribe you one with a higher content. Apply to areas where you sweat a lot, up to twice a day if needed.


Foot Powder

People who sweat a lot tend to have sweaty feet. Bacteria just love this because all the moisture is trapped in your shoes and it can grow rapidly. It is important to change your shoes and socks often. Consider going barefoot when possible. When you can’t, powder the inside of your shoes with a foot deodorant.

Things That Can Actually Cause Body Odor

When asking why do fat people smell, remind yourself that anyone can have body odor issues. Physique is not the only thing that can affect the way we smell. Sometimes it doesn't even matter how clean we are, we can still have a bad odor.


Stress produces a different kind of sweat. Why? Because when you perspire due to stress, it is being produced by your apocrine glands. This results in perspiration that contains less water and more fat, which bacteria thrives in.


Favorite Clothes

You know those favorite jeans you like to wear every Friday night but don’t wash because you don’t want them to fade? Well, every time you dance in them you are leaving behind the perfect setting for bacteria growth. Same goes for the bras you don’t wash often enough because it is your “everyday go to work” bra. These under garments spend most of their time in skin fold areas under the breast and are constantly exposed to sweat and bacteria.


Vegetable Lover

The belief is true when it comes to “what you eat is what you are” when considering vegetables and sweat. If you like broccoli and asparagus, chances are their odor will come through in your sweat and urine. These greens are full of sulfur compounds that transform into smelly odors.



A possible warning sign of diabetes is a change in your body odor. When left untreated, this condition will break down fat to make up for what it is lacking in insulin. This causes an increase of ketones which can cause your body odor to be more offensive.



Alcohol travels through your body through your blood and is secreted out of your pores. Unfortunately, you cannot rid yourself of a hangover this way. This breakdown of the alcohol makes you stink, no matter your drink of choice.


Genetic Disorders

Though rare, some genetic disorders can cause your body to have an unpleasant odor. One such condition is called trimethylaminuria. It is named this because the disorder hinders your ability to breakdown a compound in your body called trimethylamine. When you are unable to do this, your body releases a strong fishy odor.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.

  • annJun.17 15:54
    This is very informative and practical about a serious topic. Thanks.
View All Comments /Add Comment