CookieJ posted a topic in Diet & holistic healthI haven't posted here in 3 years, so I thought I'd share what I've discovered through reading, research, personal experience/anecdote and testing. I really believe and hope this post will help some of you, or at least give rise to new perspectives and ideas. Anyway, as we know, an overproduction of sebum is the beginning of a chain of events that can lead to acne. We also know that diet can elevate insulin levels which can also cause an overproduction of sebum. So the question is, what diet is best for controlling insulin levels and therefore acne? I personally recommend a high carb, low fat, low protein, low salt/sodium, vegan (meat/dairy/eggs-free) diet (with an emphasis on high carb and low fat) and here's why. First off, I know that the typical Paleo/low-carb/ketogenic advocate will be thinking: "Why high carbs? Carbs/sugars spike insulin. Fats don't spike insulin. Sugar is evil, not the fat. You've got it all wrong." For those of you, I highly recommend reading and watching the video on this (with studies are cited): http://www.forksoverknives.com/fat-insulin-resistance-blood-sugar/ ---------- "What Is Insulin Resistance? It turns out that as the amount of fat in the diet goes up, so does one’s blood sugar spikes. Athletes frequently carb-load before a race because they’re trying to build up fuel in their muscles. We break down starch into glucose in our digestive tract; it circulates as blood glucose (blood sugar); and it is then used by our muscle cells as fuel. Blood sugar, though, is like a vampire. It needs an invitation to enter our cells. And that invitation is insulin. Insulin is the key that unlocks the door to let the glucose in the blood to enter the muscle cell. So insulin is the key that unlocks the door into our muscle cells. What if there was no insulin? Blood sugar would be stuck out in the bloodstream banging on the door to our muscles and not able to get inside. With nowhere to go, blood sugar levels would rise and rise. In type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder usually diagnosed in childhood, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin get destroyed; without insulin, sugar in the blood can’t get out of the blood into the muscles, and blood sugar rises. But there’s a second way we could end up with high blood sugar, and it’s much more common than type 1 diabetes. Most people with high blood sugar, prediabetes, and diabetes have enough insulin in their bodies, but it doesn’t work. The key is there but something’s gummed up the lock. This is called insulin resistance. The Cause of Insulin Resistance What’s gumming up the door locks on our muscle cells, preventing insulin from letting glucose in? It’s fat. Intramyocellular lipids, or the fat inside our muscle cells. Fat in the bloodstream can build up inside the muscle cell and create toxic fatty breakdown products and free radicals that can block the insulin signaling process. When that happens, no matter how much insulin we have in our blood, it won’t be able to open the glucose gates. That causes blood sugar levels to build up in the blood. This mechanism by which fat induces insulin resistance wasn’t known until modern MRI techniques were developed to see what was happening inside people’s muscles as fat was infused into their bloodstreams. The scans showed researchers that higher fat levels in the blood caused insulin resistance by interfering with glucose transport into the muscles. This can happen within three hours. One hit of fat can start causing insulin resistance, inhibiting glucose uptake after just 160 minutes. You can also do the opposite experiment. Lower the level of fat in people’s blood and the insulin resistance comes right down. By clearing the fat out of the blood, you also clear the sugar out of the blood. On the high-fat, ketogenic diet, insulin doesn’t work as well. Our bodies are insulin resistant. But as the amount of fat in our diet gets lower and lower, insulin works better and better. This is a clear demonstration that the sugar tolerance of even healthy individuals can be impaired by administering a low-carb, high-fat diet. We can decrease insulin resistance by decreasing fat intake." ---------- RESPONSE TO THE EXPECTED RESPONSE OF "But a high fat diet keeps my blood sugar / insulin low" "Jim Middlestead: The proof is monitoring bs levels to see what works for you. A high fat low carb. diet keeps my bs levels below 100." "Timothy Davis: I had the same results as you. Here's the problem. The high fat low carb diet was doing nothing to heal my type 2 diabetes. All it was doing was keeping my bs levels normal and giving me dangerous coronary heart disease. The whole food, plant based, low fat, no oil diet has actually dropped my bs levels over several months to where I can now eat sugar and my bs returns to normal within 2 hours. My body is beginning to be able to process sugar. My type 2 diabetes is getting cured. This can never happen with a high fat low carb diet. Yes your bs levels are good but you're killing yourself by focusing on the symptom (bs level) not the cause. Additionally, all of my blood work has shown significant improvement in areas reflecting the status of my heart disease." Árva-Tóth Zoltán: "Most doctors (erroneously) believe that increase[d] fat intake makes you insulin resistant. This might be true if you consume high amounts of fat in the presence of high amounts of carbohydrates (especially sugar), but when carbohydrate intake is reduced, all the fat in the world does not lead to insulin resistance." - Quote from Peter Attia MD, The Eating Academy. Stephen M. Otto: "You've identified the very heart of the controversy. As Timothy Dsvis shrewdly observes in his comment dated 4/23, the low carb proponents are focused on addressing the symptoms -- high blood sugar. Only a low fat, whole food plant based diet is capable of addressing the root cause of insulin resistance by healing the mechanism by which sugar is properly processed by the body." Summary The presence of fats hinders the body's ability to process/tolerate carbs/sugars. This leads to insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels => more sebum => inflammation => acne. A low carb high fat (LCHF) diet doesn't do anything to improve the the body's ability to process carbs/sugars - in fact it probably makes it worse over time. LCHF only "works" by default by focusing on the symptoms (high blood sugar). On the other hand, a high carb low fat diet is capable of addressing the root cause of insulin resistance by healing the mechanism by which carbs/sugars are properly processed by the body. So we have 2 scenarios that work (well, one of them "works"). You can either: 1) Eat a high fat, strictly low carb diet (and have controlled blood sugar and insulin by default). But in this case your insulin and blood sugar levels will go through the roof should you consume some carbs/sugars (most foods), as you will lose your ability to tolerate/process them, and even worsen over time (as can be seen by people who try this diet for long period of time and find themselves more sensitive than ever to carbs/sugars once returning back to old ways). This is the most restrictive way of eating (often associated with calorie restriction) and studies suggest it may even be harmful for your aterties and cardiovascular health in the long term. OR 2) Eat a high carb, strictly low fat diet (and have controlled blood sugar and insulin because the body can tolerate/process them). This is the body's preferred diet as the body and brain and every single cell (all 37.2 trillion) all run off of glucose. The body/brain does not prefer to run off of fat, protein, or ketones (a dying/starving state). Just because it can do if it has to doesn't mean it prefers to. The body will be able to hand as many carbs (grains, fruits, etc.) as you want while keeping insulin/blood sugar low, as long as you keep your fat levels low. The key part being keep fat levels low (ideally <15% of total calories for the day), which most people don't have a grasp of (and then they blame the carbs). This way of eating you don't have to restrict your calories/carbs (causing cravings and an unhealthy relationship with food), you can have good and consistent energy levels to do anything you want, including being an endurance athlete etc. More energy and better quality of life. WHY MEAT/DAIRY/EGGS ARE BAD Similar to above. Animal/dairy fats are even worse than normal fats when it comes to the above. As for meat. In short, the body has an inflammatory response to meats (and dairy/eggs) within hours of consumption (bad for acne). More here: http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/09/20/why-meat-causes-inflammation/ Not to mention they're all bad for digestion (meat is constipating and slow to digest, dairy bad because most of us are lactose intolerant to some degree). EXERCISE (AEROBIC FITNESS) HELPS MASSIVELY Physical activity and higher aerobic/cardiovascular fitness levels have also been shown to increase the body's ability to handle carbs and insulin sensitivity. Speaking from personal experience, this has been a game changer for me. I used to be sedentary, though I never really considered myself as unfit/unhealthy, so never thought this could be a factor in anything, especially relating to acne. But one day I decided to start cycling/running, eventually running 4-5x per week. Anecdotally this helped my skin so much. Looking back I didn't realise how out of shape I was and how much it could've been affecting my body's response to foods. After being on a high carb low fat diet for a long period of time, and as my fitness improves, I can "feel" my body's ability to process carbs/fats so much better, inflammation levels so much lower, no fatigued feeling after meals etc. And whenever I eat junk foods (with high fats), I really notice the negative effects in my performance. My breathing/stress are so much higher, almost like I can feel the effects of the fats in my bloodstream as described earlier. You don't have to become an athlete to reap the benefits of exercise, but 4x 30min running would be a good schedule to aspire to. Or if you're completely sedentary, 4x 30min brisk walking per week would be a good start. It doesn't need to be intense, just moderate (actually high intensity can be worse, but that's for another thread). Moderate and regular aerobic activity is the key to improved insulin sensivity and carb tolerance. So if you're sedentary and/or eating a standard diet or paleo/fat diet and not seeing the results you're looking for, I would recommend you try a high carb low fat vegan diet, better yet with regular aerobic exercise. Don't worry about calories, just make sure you're eating enough of them and enjoy. Also make sure it can't be stated enough, but make sure keep you keep your fats strictly low (<15% total calories).