The Popular Protein You Should Avoid Eating Before Having Sex

What we eat throughout the day can influence what smells we give off later that night — for better or for worse. As evening approaches, you and your partner are ready for a little sexy time. While research has shown that certain aromas may enhance our sex life, such as lavender or rose, the smell of a particularly pungent fart can quickly kill the mood.

Referred to among the fitness and nutrition community as the "protein farts," Georgia-based registered dietitian Danielle Crumble Smith explains to Peloton that some people who eat greater amounts of protein find that doing so makes their gas extra stinky. Red meat, in particular, can work against us prior to having sex, Dr. William Chey, advisor to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, tells Cosmopolitan. Here's why that juicy cheeseburger or tender steak you ate for dinner may produce some distinctly odorous gas in the bedroom.

Why red meat makes our farts extra stinky

When we eat an excess amount of protein, it quickly begins fermenting in the gut. "Gas associated with red meat is more odorous because of chemicals it produces in the colon," Dr. Chey tells Cosmopolitan. These chemical elements include hydrogen, methane, and sometimes sulfur, Danielle Crumble Smith explains to Peloton, which together, can boost both the frequency and aroma of our gas. People with an unbalanced gut microbiome may be particularly susceptible to protein farts.

Dr. Chey states that an 8-ounce portion of red meat is enough to put us at risk for an ill-timed cutting of the cheese, so to speak. Roughly the same size as a thin paperback book, 8 ounces may not sound like a lot, but the American Cancer Society reports that the recommended serving size for meat is between 3 to 4 ounces, or the size-equivalent of a deck of cards. Furthermore, many of us are getting more protein than we need as portion sizes continue to grow in the U.S. In fact, most Americans are eating an average of 17 ounces of red and processed meat on a weekly basis, reports Harvard Health Publishing. In addition to bringing a romantic evening to an abrupt halt, overconsumption of red and processed meat can also put us at risk for health issues down the line.

How to keep protein farts at bay

While it might elicit a giggle or two, passing gas is a part of everyday life. In fact, the average person produces approximately 14 farts per day (via Peloton). Although it's not unusual for protein farts to hang around for a few weeks as your body adjusts to a sudden increase in protein intake, if odorous gas becomes an ongoing problem, consider talking with your doctor or a dietitian to help narrow down which foods may be responsible for your gastrointestinal distress.

If flatulence is a turn-off for you, it may be worth holding off on any red meat before having sex — just to be safe. Instead, opt for lean meats like fish, chicken, or turkey, which are less likely to induce a bout of protein farts since they're easier on the body's digestive system. Chickpeas, quinoa, and lentils are alternate sources of protein that are also a little easier on the gut, thereby reducing the risk of foul-smelling gas during intercourse. If all else fails, you can always light a scented candle by your bedside to help clear the air.