As excess sugar spills into your urine, it creates a sweet, sugary smell (and taste), explains Dr Stephanie J. Kielb, an associate Professor of Urology. In this day and age, urologists run blood tests, not taste tests, to check for diabetes. But back in the 17th century, urologists would analyse urine samples for diabetes by using three of their senses: sight, smell, and taste. Thomas Mayo, a physician in the 1670s, described the taste of diabetic urine as “wonderfully sweet as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.”
“If you have uncontrolled diabetes, your body tries to get rid of extra blood sugar or glucose in the urine, creating the sweet smell,” she says. When your body isn’t getting the glucose it needs for energy, your body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. This is dangerous and can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, the American Diabetes Association warns
“Ketones can give your urine a sulphur smell.”
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