Hi dancedd. I've been researching diet strategies for acne control in the last 6 months or so. I have experimented and had some really good successes and bad failures. The successes were generally with severe restrictions, basically a zero fat zero sugar diet, and I lost 10 pounds and looked unhealthy (but my skin was clear!)
I'm currently researching the Kitavan diet and am thinking about giving it a shot. In a nutshell, 2 big meals a day comprising cooked leafy greens, coconut oil, tubers, and fish. And then snacking periods throughout the day with fruits like watermelon, mango, pineapple, and guava. I am just about ready to give it a shot, and I was only researching it originally because the Kitavan population were part of a research study that documented acne as a strictly first-world problem. The research group found no cases of acne in non-westernized, indigenous 3rd-world populations.
I came across your thread as I was researching various diets to compare to the Kitavan model. I sincerely believe from personal experience that diet is the cause of acne in the vast majority of cases. I consider factors like stress and hygiene to be aggravators not causes.
I have read a little on the Paleo diet and from what I have read it allows a lot of bad fats into the diet. I consider avocados, eggs, most nuts, and most cooking oils like olive oil to be sources of unhealthy fats. What are your thoughts on this?
I am curious, can you detail your precise Paleo diet throughout the day and the week? Do you cheat and get a cappuccino on the way to the gym or a slice of cake at the office for the weekly birthday party?
Thanks! I hope we can keep a conversation going on the subject!
Avocados, eggs and olive oil are very healthy oils. Olive oil is best taken when it is cold pressed and organic obviously and never heated. Only saturated fats are good for actual cooking because the heat doesn't change the chemical composition of the fat and thereby not making it rancid. There were several studies that I red a while ago about the specific issue of saturated fats. Here is a good article: http://chriskresser....-not-the-enemy. He references alot of studies to prove his point. When I introduced healthy fats (coconut, avocado, olive oil, eggs, fish) into my diet a couple of years ago my skin texture improved a little bit. And it did not raise my cholesterol. Now for the nuts, many people have allergies toward them so for some they are okay to consume in small quantities but for alot it causes inflammation. So this is very individual. Also some people are allergic to eggs so its not the actual fat in the eggs that causes them issues but the protein inside the egg yolk and eff white.
There are many different versions of the paleo diet. My diet is just based around it because it promotes whole foods. I don't follow all the strict rules. BUT I do avoid all processed foods even the so called healthy gluten free foods. So I avoid gluten, soy and some dairy.
So here is what I eat on a weekly basis: meats, fish, seafood, organ meats, poultry, lamb, sheep cheese, cottage cheese, tea, water, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat, white rice, squashes, fruit (limited), butter, goat cheese, and all veggies. I do not cheat on any gluten foods. If I do "cheat", its maybe once in 3 months with a gluten free treat. But even then, it is very small. I definitely don't cheat on cappuccinos The only liquids I drink are water, tea and rarely white whine.
Oh and regarding the Kitavan diet, I definitely think you should go for it. It definitely encourages whole foods:) I also eat 2 big meals a day with very minimal snacking. But I don't eat alot of fruit. Maybe 1 to 2 a day.
Now having said all of that. I am sure I consume some gluten and soy products. Because I live in a modern world. And because of work, school and social obligations I do eat out at restaurants. I always order or look for gluten free stuff but there always some cross contamination. I realize I am consuming some of the processed crap. So I would say maybe 5%. But realistically I cannot eat all my meals at home and not leave my house. lol.
I haven't updated this thread in a while. As of right now I am 80 to 90% clear with combination of the above diet and the regimen once a day. I don't experience extreme flakiness anymore. Some parts of my face get dry but not too much. So I can't promise you will be 100% clear based on what I eat because obviously I am not. But I will take my 80 to 90% clearance. I am no longer a purist when it comes to topical management of my skin because I guess my skin needs chemicals.
Thanks for responding dancedd!
I stopped antibiotics last week for good and it was a rough rebound. But I also started the Kitavan diet a few days ago. Eating Kitavan style is repetitive but not too difficult, but it is pretty difficult to avoid all the other foods. I am currently researching other non-westernized diets so that I can eventually incorporate some diversity into the meal plan.
I disagree with your analysis on eggs, avocado, and olive oil. I too thought that these were staples of an excellent diet...in fact I think this is the common perception that these foods represent health. But I have begun to research the importance of Omega-3 oils and their ratio to Omega-6. In particular, I have been discovering the overwhelming abundance of Omega-6's in the Western diet (including the Paleo diet). And not only is there an abundance of O-6, but the ratio of O-6 to O-3 is staggeringly higher than it should be. O-6's are inflammatory fats that get digested in the body into arachidonic acid which is responsible for a whole host of auto-immune inflammatory conditions. The reported values of Omega-6's for eggs, avocado, olive oil, nuts, and dairy on nutritiondata.self.com are extremely high with correspondingly much lower values of Omega-3's.
In any case, I do not believe we should settle for a life of topicals and 80-90% clearance. If some non-westernized societies can live acne free and demonstrate negligible rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, then I want to strive for whatever it is they are doing right. And I know what they are doing right is not just having good genetics because those cultures demonstrate similar rates of Western disease as soon as they Westernize their diets.
In any case I still have much research to do! Finding good sources of non-Westernized diets is difficult! I also need to do more research on fats. While I understand a small fraction about fat intake I still have much to learn. Any wisdom you have regarding fats would be appreciated. Also any thoughts on the Omega-3/6 ratio being heavily skewed?
I look forward to hearing from you!
PS Yes I agree there is always contamination. The chef's knife, the cutting board, the factory that washes your spinach. But the contamination is generally negligible and I do not worry about it too much. And also there are life obligations...work related food functions, family gatherings, holidays. I do not plan to live my life without tasting chocolate or dairy every again. I cheat once every one or two weeks. Generally a cheat meal with some friends or family. Life is short and I intend to enjoy it. Oddly enough, I enjoy the cheat day so much more and it becomes something that I have celebrated the last six months as I have tried different fad diets. Whereas before, I did not care about my diet and I cheated every day, multiple times a day and eating ice cream was just part of the routine. Now I really taste the ice cream and savor it.
Edited by dylonspythotfyre, 07 January 2014 - 01:27 PM.