Proponents of veganism or vegetarianism may have the best of intentions, but sometimes they can be overzealous in their efforts to dissuade consumption of non-vegetarian products to the extent that the information they disseminate is often as unreliable and unscrupulous as that from food lobbies. This makes claims that eggs and meat can cause acne breakouts suspect, but is there any truth to this claim? Over the years there have been numerous claims from various sources about different foods causing acne, from meat and eggs, to milk and butter, but most of these claims have been unsubstantiated as research findings were often controversial and contradictory. This said, recent studies have provided compelling evidence for a link between food and acne, so let’s take a closer look at this acne diet recommendation.
Consumption Of Eggs & Acne
“Eggs are among the best sources of retinol, a type of which vitamin A not found in plant based foods – studies have shown retinol to be an effective treatment for acne”
Vitamin A or retinol has been shown to be an effective treatment for acne, especially when used in high doses. Retinol is primarily found in animal based foods, while plant based foods mainly contain provitamin A or carotenoids. Eggs are among the best sources of this retinol, making them a healthy addition to any diet for acne. Eggs are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that may help in acne prevention, although more research is needed in this regard. Incidentally, eggs also contain a fair amount of zinc and selenium, both of which are essential for good skin health. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant; yes, antioxidants can also be found in non-vegetarian foods! Other sources of vitamin A retinol for an acne diet include milk, dairy products, liver, fish, and fish oils.
Consumption Of Meats & Acne
“Studies have confirmed that zinc deficiency is commonly associated with acne – some of the best dietary sources of zinc include seafood, fish like tuna & mackerel, red meats like pork, beef & lamb, and white meats like chicken and turkey”
Red meats are not be the best food for any healthy diet, but like white meats, they can be highly nutritious when consumed in moderation. Either way, there is no evidence to support the claim that eating meat causes acne. In fact, studies have shown that zinc, an essential mineral found abundantly in meats, is essential for the healthy development and growth of human skin. Researchers found zinc to be bacteriostatic against Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium linked with acne. Other studies have found improvement in acne patients with zinc supplementation, while more later studies also confirmed zinc deficiency in large numbers of acne patients. Some of the best dietary sources of zinc include seafood, fish like tuna & mackerel, red meats like pork, beef & lamb, and white meats like chicken and turkey.
“Fish and seafood intake is particularly beneficial to acne patients, as several studies have found a lower prevalence of the skin condition in populations with high fish and seafood intake”
While red meat consumption needs to be carefully moderated and processed meats should be avoided as far as possible, fish and seafood intake is particularly beneficial to acne patients, as several studies have found a lower prevalence of the skin condition in populations with high fish and seafood intake. This benefit of seafood is attributed to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can have an inhibitory effect on pro-inflammatory cytokines involved in acne.
While you can now enjoy your eggs and meats, don’t use this as a license to binge on burgers and fried chicken. Nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, selenium, and omega-3s can also be obtained through supplements or vegetarian sources. Keep in mind that acne causes are still not clearly understood and potential triggers can vary greatly among individuals. For example, while milk intake benefits some acne sufferers, in others it can trigger outbreaks because of the iodine content in milk. Most experts recommend moderation and a balanced diet, as there are no universal food causes or cures for acne. Potential dietary triggers can be best identified by maintaining a food journal and following something like the FODMAP diet.
We’re creating some really cool, original health content for you – Check us out on Facebook by clicking here!