Good news for tzatziki lovers! A team out of Ohio State University has been looking for food combos that reduce the pungency of garlic breath. Through a series of lab experiments, they’ve determined that high-fat and high-protein foods work the best. That means that Greek yogurt might prove the magic elixir to save us all from the next bad job interview.
“For each treatment experiment, the researchers placed equal amounts of raw garlic in glass bottles and confirmed the cluster of offending sulfur-based volatiles were released in concentrations that would be detected by the human nose. They used mass spectrometry to measure levels of the volatile molecules in gaseous form present before and after each treatment.
Results showed that yogurt alone reduced 99% of the major odor-producing raw garlic volatiles. When introduced separately, the fat, water and protein components of yogurt also had a deodorizing effect on raw garlic, but fat and protein performed better than water.
In the case of fat, a higher quantity of butter fat was more effective at deodorization. The proteins studied included different forms of whey, casein and milk proteins, all of which were effective at deodorizing garlic — likely because of their ability to trap the volatile molecules before they were emitted into the air. A casein micelle-whey protein complex performed the best.”
The team published their current research in the journal Molecules, and plans to further refine it with human-mouth trials soon. (That’s gonna be fun…) I find the chemistry that undergirds the foods we take for granted fascinating. It’s positively elegant that the solution to a food-based problem can be as easy as — more food! Now, I’m off to contemplate adding yogurt to our line of garlicky condiments… I’ll let you know how it goes!