Diet is crucial to getting and maintaining glowing skin, am I right? Therefore, following a healthy eating plan seems like a sure-fire path to a beautiful complexion! But what if your “healthy” diet is actually what’s causing your breakouts or acne?
Here, Dr Makoto Trotter, a Toronto-based Naturopathic Doctor, breaks down the hidden acne culprits in three of today’s most popular diets.
Three diets that can be bad for your skin
#1: Vegetarian diet
People turn to vegetarianism for a number of reasons, including ethical considerations, health matters or a general distaste for meat. Vegetarian diets have an aura of being associated with good health, as you know.
However, eliminating meat from your diet may be done haphazardly without a lot of research into balancing nutrition and preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. First, it’s important to ensure adequate sources of vitamin B12 and iron to prevent anaemia.
Second, carbohydrate consumption can get out of control after eliminating high-protein, low-carb meal options from your diet. Excess carbohydrate consumption is a major trigger for acne.
One of the key issues in a vegetarian diet is the challenge of getting adequate protein. An easy substitute is dairy. Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese are often eaten regularly to make up for a lack of meat protein. With a high intake of dairy, a common food sensitivity for those with acne, this becomes a potential problem.
There’s a large gap in the knowledge that exists between a healthy vegetarian diet and an unhealthy one. It makes sense to research ways to eat healthily as a vegetarian before you adopt the practice.
Processes foods – such as boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter and jam sandwiches and bagels – are examples of easily-accessible but unhealthy options for recently converted vegetarians, particularly if these foods are consumed regularly. It’s not uncommon for vegetarians who make these food choices to see their skin worsen or develop other health concerns.
#2: Raw vegan diet
You can’t get much healthier than this diet, right? It would appear that if someone follows a raw vegan diet and has acne, it’s not the diet that’s the issue. Think about it – vegans doesn’t eat eggs, dairy, meats, and primarily eat whole foods.
They’re usually very knowledgeable about nutrition and balance to ensure that part of their diet, particularly is a person is juicing regularly. Eating juiced fruit and starchy vegetables (a common one is beetroot) quickly adds many sugars to the body – and in a form that’s readily absorbed. Juicing removes fibres and bulk that would normally stall the assimilation of the sugars through the digestive tract into the bloodstream.
If you’re prone to acne, your skin is very sensitive to sugar spikes. Asa result, the raw vegan diet can deceptively contribute to breakouts unless you monitor your sugar intake carefully, particularly when you’re juicing.
#3: Paleo diet
Paleolithic, or Paleo, diets are helpful to many people. The diet helps improve numerous health concerns. A big reason for this is the focus on quality basic foods that are high in protein and healthy fats, as well as reduced carbohydrate intake, thanks to the avoidance of all grain products and legumes. The Paleo diet generally consists of fruits and vegetables, eggs, wild-caught fish, pastured chicken, grass-fed meats, and good fats.
There are many interpretations of the Paleo diet, but some suggest that certain forms of dairy are acceptable, including fermented sources such as kefir, yoghurt and aged cheeses. Eggs are consumed regularly and often in relatively high amounts.
The carbohydrate intake and glycaemic control portion of the Paleo diet are exceptional. The main problem is that two of the more common food sensitivities are included: Eggs and dairy. Many people following a Paleo diet end up eating large amounts of eggs and derivatives of dairy. These two food sensitivities typically follow right behind carbohydrates in the hierarchy of dietary triggers for acne.
In addition, diets that are low in carbohydrates can cause increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). This can ultimately increase blood sugar. It seems counterproductive to follow a low-carb diet for the long haul when the point of restricting carbohydrates to such a degree it to prevent blood sugar from spiking. This is why maintaining small portions of grains and legumes in your diet is acceptable and may actually be beneficial for acne treatment and prevention in the long run.