Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I heard that burning fat leads to acetone odor while burning muscles leads to ammonia smell.

Is this true?
How can I distinguish both smells as they are very similar?

share|improve this question
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about distinguishing smells, which is highly personal to the individual. – JohnP Sep 30 '13 at 15:14
I think is very important to distinguish when you are burning fat or muscles when running. Maybe a combination of odors and other symptoms could help to distinguish. – Artemination Oct 1 '13 at 12:19
What does vanilla smell like? Also, you aren't burning muscle to get ammonia smelling sweat, you are burning amino acids. Breaking down your own muscles is called rhabdomyolysis and is a very serious condition. – JohnP Oct 3 '13 at 17:35

It's definitely true, however both metabolic functions can be happening at the same time, different pathways.

From the suggestions I can mention,

Acetone smells like nail polish remover, ammonia is a common household cleaner. So do you smell like you had your nails done (or perhaps your girlfriend did hers) or that you've been cleaning all day? That may help you with your answer.

The traces of these two smells are studied extensively on the patients with diabetes. If curious, can have a look at this article. ACIDOSIS AND ASSOCIATED CONDITIONS

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.