Is the Paleo Diet the Answer to Acne?
The Paleo Diet is based on the concept of a high protein consumption (19-35%) combined with plant-based foods which are naturally low glycemic and high in fiber. It was created by acclaimed researcher Loren Cordain, who believes these were the nutritional patterns of our early hunter-gatherer ancestors. The Paleo Diet has been gaining in popularity for some time. With a strong focus on meats and incorporating more greens and veggies, it has becoming an appealing option for those wanting to lose weight or be more health conscious. But does it help to clear skin? Here are my thoughts on the popular diet plan:
Our Paleolithic ancestors ate wild, free-range game, and often ate it raw. It wasn’t Tyson chicken, it wasn’t cooked in butter, it wasn’t covered in a cream sauce. Wild, fresh fish and beef wellington are on two totally different nutritional plains. And if we confuse that in the Paleo diet we could be taking in inflammatory side effects our ancestors were not exposed to.
Paleo ancestors ate grass-fed land animal meats. Grass-fed animals had a healthy omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Today’s meat is mostly grain-fed and therefore have a higher omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, aggravating inflammation. There is also concern to be had about the accessibility and affordability of buying organic, free-range, grass-fed meat everyday. Sadly the more realistic outcome is that many on the Paleo diet will simply end up eating the more affordable, grain-fed factory animal meats which in addition to a high omega 6 composition are also pumped with antibiotics and hormones – more inflammation and bad for the skin.
Dairy and refined sugar are out. Animals were not domesticated nor was there agriculture until much after the Paleolithic period. So dairy and refined sugar are not a part of the Paleo diet. Kicking these are GREAT for your skin!
What I love most is the Paleo Diet’s focus on incorporating fruits, greens, and vegetables. YAY! These guys are the most crucial components to strengthening skin health. The more you eat, the better your skin looks. So I’m a fan of the fact that the Paleo diet brings light to incorporating these beauties into your life.
I think the important part of the Paleo diet that helps to improve skin is the strong focus on fruits, greens, and vegetables. If you are going Paleo in an effort to clear your skin, a focus fruits, greens, and vegetables the primary focus of your diet (~80%) with wild fish or other organic, grass-fed lean meats for dinner (of the highest possible quality everytime!) might be your best bet!
Elise May, CN + LE, is the owner and practitioner behind SKINutritious. She has helped over 1,000 clients clear acne with detoxing treatments, clear skin coaching, and holistic skincare.
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