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?
Consumption Of Eggs & Acne
“The association of eggs with acne outbreaks is a myth, as eggs are among the best sources of retinol, a type of which vitamin A, which is 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. Surprisingly, this nutrient is primarily found in animal based foods, while plant based foods mainly contain provitamin A or carotenoids. Eggs are in fact 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. Other good sources of vitamin A retinol for an acne diet include milk, dairy products, liver, fish, and fish oils.
Consumption Of Meats & Acne
“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”
The truth is 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, while a deficiency can lead to acne outbreaks. 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.
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.
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.
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