As cliche as it gets, the phrase “You are what you eat” is absolutely, totally, 100% accurate. In my case anyways.
Over the years as I develop my nutrition expertise, my belief in that the way I feel and how well my body functions is affected greatly depending on what type of fuel I put in. However, it was only when I started developing acne problems and subsequently improving that through a food approach that the message really hit home for me
At the beginning I didn’t have the slightest idea that my acnes flared up because of my way of eating. I thought it was my skincare regime, or stress or that I was touching my face too much. However, no matter what I did, nothing helped.
As you can imagine, I got more and more frustrated but it never clicked that it would have to do with what I was putting into my mouth.
All along I thought I was eating well, making good choices and having good variety in my diet. It was only until 3 weeks ago that I started to make a connection between diet and acne.
The story goes like this: 3 weeks ago, I challenged myself to have a plant-focused diet for one week (the purpose was to support my new weight loss clients as they embark on their new journey to make vegetables the star of their meals). However, one of the pleasant side effect of that 1-week total diet change was that I had no new breakouts. I…was..ecstatic!
However, once the challenge finished and I started reintroducing foods that I previously enjoyed, I immediately had multiple breakouts in one day (one day!).
You can so imagine the frustration I felt! And it was then that I finally realized that “oh the way I eat is related to how skin looks”.
Since then, I’ve been paying close attention to how my skin condition fluctuates depending on what I try. I’ve been cautious and only adding in new things one at a time as I really, desperate, want to find out what is the culprit that is causing my skin problems. The process is still ongoing but already I feel so much more in control just by being more in tuned and more observant with my body.
To further educate myself, I looked up the current research to see if there has been any studies done on the possible correlations between food and acne. And sure enough, there is!
In the multitude of research papers I found, I especially like this one since it is a compilation of all research data from previous studies which presents a very thorough and unbiased summary of findings.
In short, the article states that there is a positive correlation between high GI (Glycemic Index) foods and dairy products with acne occurance because they both trigger a hormonal cascade in the body that encourages acne growth. In contrast, research also mentioned that fish and vegetables may help to reduce acne production since they are anti-inflammatory and help to suppress the impact of insulin and other hormonal responses.
To keep things in perspective, I would say there are probably multiple factors that contribute to my current skin condition. But considering the million things that I have tried in the past, altering the way I eat has so far made the biggest impact. And that makes me so happy and feel much more in controlled over my skin condition and my health!
Have you struggled with skin conditions? Ever thought they could be related to the foods you eat?