What It Really Means When Your Sweat Smells Sweet

Having sweet-smelling sweat might sound like a dream come true compared to the alternative stinky scent some have after a long workout session. While it may mean nothing is seriously wrong with your health, it can also be a sign that something's amiss. 

There are a couple of conditions linked to sweet-smelling sweat, and one of them is diabetic ketoacidosis. Technically, your sweat will smell fruity and is commonly paired with other symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, and even nausea and vomiting. According to MedlinePlus, diabetic ketoacidosis occurs in individuals with diabetes who are breaking down fat and producing ketones much too quickly. An influx of ketones in the blood can become dangerously toxic, thus leading to ketoacidosis. Urgent medical care should be sought immediately for those who suspect signs of the condition.

While this can be a scary occurrence, it isn't the only condition linked to sweet-smelling sweat. Experts suggest a rare disease may be to blame.

How Maple Syrup Urine Disease can alter the scent of sweat

Is your body omitting the essence of warm maple syrup or burnt sugar? The culprit here may be Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). The syrupy smell from this condition is commonly found in urine, sweat, and earwax. While MSUD is a serious condition, it's also extremely rare. In fact, it's classified as a rare genetic disorder that's typically diagnosed at birth, according to Livestrong

The National Health System (NHS) explains that "the body cannot process certain amino acids (the "building blocks" of protein), causing a harmful build-up of substances in the blood and urine." 

Other symptoms of this disease include a lack of energy, body weakness, developmental delays, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, vomiting, and more. Often this condition is diagnosed by multiple symptoms showing up at once. Health experts suggest dietary changes can help manage this condition (per Livestrong).

While health conditions may certainly be to blame for sweet-smelling sweat, it may simply be a result of something far less serious.

Your sugary sweat may be due to the spice in your life

There are a couple of foods that change the way our bodies produce sweat, for better or worse. In particular, the powerful herb Fenugreek is one spice that may change the way you smell. According to Healthline, Fenugreek can actually be good for your health and not necessarily something to be avoided if you find yourself smelling rather sweet. In fact, it's been known to help those with diabetes better control blood sugar levels and improve insulin function. Other sweet benefits include helping with appetite control, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation.

But why does it make your sweat smell sweet? Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta, an endocrinologist and internist, based in New York, tells Livestrong, "This herb contains a strong aromatic compound called solotone, and when your body breaks it down, your pores may produce a maple syrup smell." Case in point, consuming too much Fenugreek may leave you smelling like a syrupy brunch on a Saturday morning. But that may not be such a bad thing after all.