Do High Protein Diets Cause Acne?

I wanted to gain muscle, so I knew I “needed” to get about 200+ grams of protein per day. I consumed about a pound and a half of animal meat per day, along with eggs and protein powder. Not only did I not gain much weight, but I found myself feeling sluggish.

I also noticed that it could be that high protein diets cause acne. My logic behind that was because after graduating school I moved back home with my family. I was forced to give up my high protein diet and settle for what mom was cooking. While my diet was not as clean as it was before, my skin started to clear up significantly. It had to be the protein.

Why Excessive Protein May Cause Acne

I was convinced that sugar and grains were the causes of acne, and while that may be true, large amounts of meat are probably worse. This is because our bodies were not meant to handle absurd amounts of meat. Sure, cavemen probably chowed down on some prehistoric beasts, but they weren’t eating it every day. They likely stuck to nuts, seeds, tubers and vegetables etc. and would chow down when meat came along.

There’s not much science on this, but from how I understand it is that excessive protein puts a lot of pressure on the digestive system. Essentially:

If huge quantities of protein are ingested, the body’s digestive system, from the liver to the kidneys and into the intestines and colon, will become extremely burdened trying to break down these proteins into usable material. This extreme stress on valuable cleansing organs will create adverse reactions within other parts of the body. Whenever an organ or system within the body is burdened or stressed, the body will naturally respond through elimination of toxins through the skin. As this is the largest organ, it will become a necessary avenue of toxic elimination as the liver and colon can recover and restore balance internally. (Live Strong)

What You Must Do Instead of Eating a High-Protein Diet

If you’re into bodybuilding and fitness and you think that your high protein diet may be causing acne, then you’re juts going to have to cut back on protein. Don’t worry, you wont go into atrophy. High protein diets are highly touted in the bodybuilding community, and while they would be ideal, they don’t work for everyone. In my opinion, I don’t believe your body needs  more than 1g of protein per/lb of bodyweight, and .8g per/lb isprobably healthier.

So if you’re going to cut back 50-100g of protein per day, you’re going to need to find a way to replace those calories. The obvious solution is to replace the calories from protein with carbohydrates and fat. You do want to make sure that the foods that you add are not going to be detrimental to your skin. This means instead of trans fats or sugar (which you know better than to eat anyway!), eat healthy whole foods like rice and coconut oil.

An Excellent Choice for Meeting Your Protein Needs

To meet your daily protein requirements you can use protein powders that won’t cause digestive issues. My favorite choice is Sunwarrior Protein. This delicious plant-based protein will help give you the protein you need, but not cause any adverse issues.

Click here to get your Sunwarrior Blend today from Amazon.

Juicing Carrots For Acne

Juicing fruits and vegetables had become a staple in my skin care routine. If you don’t own a juicer, I strongly urge you to consider getting one.

The number one food I juice is carrots, by far. I never juice without carrots, and there are a few reasons for that:

They’re Cheap

Juicing can be pretty pricey, but carrots are cheap. You can get a huge 5 pound bag of organic carrots for only a few dollars at most local grocery stores.

Vitamin A=Good Skin

As you know I’m a huge fan of vitamin A and believe that a deficiency in it is one of the leading causes of acne. Carrots are chock full of vitamin A and therefore make a perfect ingredient to your juice.

Juicing carrots, however, is not enough to fulfill your vitamin A requirements. Carrots contain beta-carotene a for of vitamin A, but not actual retinoids which is the superior form in my opinion. Nonetheless beta-caratne is stil great for the skin.Carotenoids are:

“…an antioxidant responsible for the red colouring found in, for instance, tomatoes, peppers, plums and carrots. That redness eventually imbues the human skin with yellowness, or rather a healthy-looking golden glow.” (The Guardian)

Remember Cod liver oil is an essential ingredient to acne, but juicing carrots does help a great deal.

Vitamin C Content

Carrots don’t have the highest vitamin C content of fruits and vegetables, but when you’re juicing a bunch of them, it’s a good amount.

Why is Vitamin C important for skin?

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and its role in collagensynthesis make vitamin C a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topicalascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. However, the effects of vitamin C in the skin are not well understood due to limited research. This article discusses the potential roles of vitamin C in the skin and summarizes the current knowledge about vitamin C in skin health. (Oregon State)

Biotin

If you’re not familiar with biotin (vitamin B7), it is well reputed for its importance in maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails.

… biotin is necessary to build healthy fats in the skin. These fats keep the skin supple and moist, and when they are gone, the skin becomes flaky and irritated. (WH Foods)

Mixes Well 

Carrots are a great ingredient for any juice. They not only mix well with other fruits and vegetables, but they’re also easy for any juicer to grind up.

Juicing Your Carrots

I don’t get too caught up in recipes and serving sizes. My juices are mostly composed of what I have in my fridge. I do however, have “templates” for my juices. Here’s an example:

IMG_20141002_180052_492

As you can see I have:

  1. A ton of carrots,
  2. 1 small serving of fruit for taste (1/2 an orange)
  3. 1/2 lemon

Lemons are great for juicing, but that’s for another article.

How Does it Taste?

I’m not really too concerned about the taste of my juices. My number one priority is getting the nutrients into my body, and if that means the juice will tastebad that’s fine by me. My juices rarely taste bad though, this one wasn’t too bad.

What Kind of Juicer Do You Use?

I use the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus for juicing and haven’t looked back. I chose this one because it’s affordable and does everything it needs to. This model is about $150, which is on the lower end for juicers. However, buying a juicer is still an investment. Do some research before you plunk your money down.

As you can see though, juicing fruits is vegetables is great for skin. Even more importantly it’s great for overall health.

Let me know how your juicing goes!

Does Red Meat Cause Acne?

Red meat is a staple in many American diets: Burgers, steaks and of course meatloaf. Most of us grew up eating these things, and likely still eat them today. I sure do.

Could it be possible though that the red meat we are consuming could be causing acne? To understand this we must first understand what causes acne.

Everybody wants to know what may be causing their acne. I’ve narrowed it down to a few main causes:

  1. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
  2. Hormonal Imbalances
  3. Excessive inflammation (especially the gut)

Let’s go through these step by step:

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Having a deficiency in something like vitamin A, D, or Zinc are things that may cause acne. Having one of these deficiencies won’t come from eating foods; rather they come about because of a lack thereof.

While it is true that our food supply today is devoid of many nutrients compared to the past, red meat itself won’t cause deficiencies unless you eat nothing but read meat.

Hormonal Imbalances

We know that hormonal imbalances are one of the main causes of acne. It’s why it is so prevalent in teenagers.

So what’s red meat got to do with hormones?

If you’re not familiar with the process of raising cattle in America, cattle are injected with hormones and antibiotics as a means to make them grow and “stay healthy”. While this is not ideal from a consumer standpoint, it makes the most sense economically for meat producers. That’s just the way it is…

There is however another option and that is organic, grass fed beef. These cows are not treated with hormones or antibiotics and their diets consist of grass, as opposed to traditional feeds given to cattle.

While grass fed beef is definitely the better option, I firmly believe that consuming red meat a few times a week is unlikely causing your hormones to go crazy.

Excessive inflammation (especially the gut)

Inflammation is such an elusive concept for me. People like to throw around the term inflammation a lot, but the term is often used incorrectly.

However, it does seem the best way to describe what red meat may do to the body.

About a year ago I was on a high protein diet. While my diet was devoid of junk food, I kept breaking out. I was stumped.

I eventually switched up diets and ditched the excessive protein, which was consumed via meat such as chicken breasts and ground beef. Lo and behold my skin looked significantly better. It took me a while to pinpoint what had actually happened, but I came to the conclusion that my body was having a hard time tolerating my excessive meat consumption, which in turn manifested itself in acne.

The Great Red Meat Debate

There have been numerous studies about the effects of red meat on colon cancer. The mainstream medical community tells us to limit consumption of red meat to bite size amounts. On the other hand you have a growing movement of “Paleo” eaters who scarf red meat down like their cattle are going to be struck with a plague.

Like everything in life, we need to come to a happy medium. While red meat is tough for the body to digest, and excessive consumption of it may lead to inflammation, it cannot be denied that red meat is rich in nutrients like zinc and B-12 that may in face help acne.

The only way to know for sure whether or not red meat causes acne is to test it for yourself. Go at least a week without red meat and keep close tabs on your skin. Then add it back in and track any changes.

Resources

No Red Meat Diet Reviews from Acne.org

Red Meat and Colon Cancer from Harvard Medical School

Hormones in Food: Should You Worry? from the Huffington Post

Read Next: Why Dairy May Cause Acne

Why Dairy May Cause Acne

I tend to scoff at the idea that making a single lifestyle change is enough to improve one’s skin dramatically. I’ve made plenty of changes in the past with hopes of getting better skin, and there wasn’t one change by itself that totally transformed my skin. Yet, over and over again I see people on internet forums write something like:

“I stopped eating dairy and now my skin is great!”

Ha! If only it were that easy. It definitely wasn’t that easy for me, but maybe there is something to this. Maybe for some people getting rid of dairy is just what they need to stop acne. Let’s look at this a little further.

My Experience With Dairy

I try to no longer consumer dairy. I say “try” because foods that I eat in my everyday life often contain traces of cheese or milk. And honestly, is life worth living without chicken parmesan?

That said, the amount of dairy I consume is limited. You’ll never find me chowing down on a block of cheese or chugging a glass of milk.

Overall, I just view dairy as one of the least important food groups, and for many people it may have a negative impact on their health. Personally I find that I don’t tolerate dairy well. I often get stomach aches, bloating, and gas after eating something such as a few slices of pizza. I also don’t tolerate whey protein, which is a milk derivative, well. I would  get terrible headaches and nausea. If dairy was causing these symptoms throughout my body, it wouldn’t be a surprise that it may have been contributing to acne as well.

Why Might Dairy Cause Acne?

It’s only in the last few years that the medical community has begun to recognize a link between the food we consume and the acne on our face. One of the worst culprits is dairy:

“A 2005 article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examined the diets of 47,355 women and found a strong connection between milk and milk product (like cream cheese, sherbet, instant breakfast drinks and cottage cheese) intake and breakouts. Another study, of 4,273 teenaged boys also found an association between milk and acne flare-ups.” (Doctor Oz)

On top of the studies out there, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that says that: Yes, traditional dairy contributes to acne.

But why?

When you think about it, the answer is pretty obvious. Milk is created in mammals as a means of providing essential nutrients and hormones to newly born animals. When you’re consuming a glass of milk, you’re drinking something that was designed for a  baby cow, or goat or whatever. Wile milk does have nutrients that humans can tolerate and can make use of, this milk contains hormones that are designed to proliferate growth in small cows.

Ya, really.

Does that mean I should give up dairy entirely?

As I said before, I still eat a little dairy here and there, but only because it’s found in so many foods. What my suggestion would be is that if you do your own grocery shopping, stop buying dairy products altogether. If you live with your parents or someone else is responsible for your food, let them know you want to cut back on dairy.

Keep in mind though that dairy is in many store bought products, as well as restaurant menu items. Milk and it’s derivatives are common ingredients so to try and cut out all dairy is going to be difficult. Just do the best you can to keep dairy out of mouth.

How to Replace Dairy Products

If you’re the type of person to drink milk everyday, fret not as there are many milk substitutes. I personally use and love almond milk, and have also used coconut milk in the past. Both are great options,although keep in mind these are a little pricier than regular store bought milk.

Note: Do NOT buy soy milk. Soy may even have more detrimental effects on your hormones than regular milk. That’s just my opinion, but I don’t touch soy with a 20 foot poll.

As for products like yogurt and cheese, you can look for some non-soy substitutes, but personally  don’t know any. One option you do have is to find raw or organic milk products. This is something I haven’t touched on yet, and don’t plan to because I know nothing about it and have no personal experience with these products. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on everything, so if you’re interested in learning more about the different types of milk, check out the links provided below.

Further Reading

Does Milk Cause Acne? from Clear Skin Forever

Eating Dairy When You’ve Got Acne from The Love Vitamin