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.

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.


No Red Meat Diet Reviews from

Red Meat and Colon Cancer from Harvard Medical School

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

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