Why do fat people smell?

+14 votes
asked Jun 9, 2018 in Beauty & Style by kristi (710 points)
edited Aug 1, 2018
Riding public buses and going to the grocery store often puts you in situations where there are a lot of people that are usually closer to you than you’d like them to be. I’ve noticed that in particular when very overweight people get close to me that they have an unpleasant smell. It’s not every overweight person I get near, but why do fat people smell more than others?

6 Answers

+28 votes
answered Jan 19 by Miong (740 points)
edited Jul 16
Overweight people tend to have more skin folds and overlapping areas of skin that rub together, and these fatty places cause bad odors. Because of the decreased airflow around these areas there’s more sweating, and when sweat mixes with bacteria it causes an unpleasant smell. This doesn’t just happen to fat people; anyone who has loose skin can have this problem. Keeping clean and taking daily showers can help, but even this sometimes doesn’t get rid of all the bacteria that naturally develops because of rubbing and sweat.
+23 votes
answered Dec 26, 2018 by Monica (990 points)
edited Mar 19
It's just our human mind, being human mind, makes us thinks of foul smell around fat people can alter our sense of smell, making everything around us smell less pleasant than usual. Viewing images of fat people actually cause the study participants to rate an odour of the sample to have smell worse, even though those samples are fragrance fee. It is believed that the effect might be caused by our subconscious negative bias towards who are fat, many people has this bias apparently. Moreover, people with higher weights rate the smell to be worse too. So your brain is your own body’s harshest critics. Fragrance are perceived by the human brain to have smell worse just with a pairing of an image of a fat person that when they are paired with a thin person, a subconscious disgust signal. There is this weird assumption that fat people just smell bad, even though in all actual facts, they don’t. We just aren’t aware of it due to our bias to make weight problems to be much worse. So it’s our brain is just honest with the fact that it doesn’t like having fat people around.
commented Jul 13, 2015 by BradlyOverto (170 points)
Then it must be my brain to make me ask why do fat people smell, lol
commented Feb 23, 2016 by Adam7Austin (100 points)
Our human mind makes us think this, but only because a majority of smells we encounter belong to an overweight person due to sweating. Steriotypes are not without reason.
+16 votes
answered May 6 by Nicolas41G81 (350 points)
edited Jul 5
Well, the good news is, you’re not alone in thinking that overweight people smell bad. The bad news is, it’s because you’re an idiot and suffer from a particularly offensive condition known as prejudice. According to a study conducted at the University of California in Los Angeles, people with “inbuilt negative bias” towards people who are overweight will assume that they smell bad, despite the fact they may not smell at all. The scientists at UCLA got people to smell odour samples whilst looking at images of people and then rate which samples smelt worse. The result? The samples sniffed whilst looking at photos of overweight people were rated as smelling worse…even though they actually had no odour at all. So, to put it simply, you see an overweight person and the prejudiced part of your brain thinks “Oh no! A fat person! They must smell…because they’re fat and therefore obviously they’re just disgusting and stinky”. Congratulations, your question has helped prove a scientific point.
commented Oct 12, 2015 by EmoryReese3 (120 points)
fair point well made!
+9 votes
answered Aug 17, 2018 by Jordan (1,150 points)
edited Oct 1, 2018
Why do fat people smell?? Maybe something is wrong with your nose. There’s actually no science behind fat people smelling bad! It’s impossible to detect fat through your nose, so it’s not that excess fat gives off a smell. As far as stench from bad breath goes, that actually has more to do with the bacteria in your stomach than what you eat or how much you eat. So there’s no formula for bad breath depending on how much you weigh. It’s all just fat bias.
+9 votes
answered Nov 8, 2018 by SamualZoll48 (640 points)
edited May 4
Ok, so perhaps the above answer is a little harsh although numerous articles have been written on the above scientific discovery. Another possible answer to why do fat people smell bad is that folds in the skin create areas where you are more likely to sweat and where there is less airflow. So instead of drying, sweat then combines with bacteria on the skin, which creates body odour or “BO”. This is the case for anyone (why do you think people end up with stinky underarms?), but in the case of people who are overweight, they will generally have more folds in the skin. This means that there are more areas where sweat can linger and start to mix with body-odour causing bacteria. This does not, however, mean that all overweight people stink. Regular showers and the use of a suitable deodorant (those crystal rock ones are supposed to be good because they create a barrier that stops sweat mingling with bacteria) should be enough to prevent body odour on anyone.
+1 vote
answered Nov 4, 2018 by Aminah (460 points)
edited Feb 8
Studies have actually shown that people tend to think fat people smell bad even though they don’t actually smell that bad in reality. The test showed that taking the same smell and pairing it with pictures of an overweight person and a fit person revealed that most people actually thought the overweight person smelled worse! It’s probably just your psychology tricking you into buying into a stereotype or adjusting your perception. If you find fat people visually unpleasing, then you’ll probably just naturally find them smelling unpleasing as well.
commented Feb 10, 2016 by Thependers5 (100 points)
I'm here to tell you that regardless of "scientific studies" on fats and bias, fat people DO smell worse if they don't practice good hygiene. Idc what anyone says. Fat ppl have more skin and therefore more places for bacteria to fester and start to release noxious odors. We're not bias, we have good senses of smell. This is a fact. Not just something in our heads. Those of you saying we're prejudice must be fatty two shoes. Congratulations. Here's a cheeseburger.
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