Posted on: 16th Jan, 2017
We’ve already talked about New Year’s resolutions for your skin, and there are few more common resolutions than starting a new diet. Unfortunately, a lot of people turn to ‘fad diets’ – the latest trends in dieting that we hear about in everything from women’s magazines to tabloid websites. Fad diets come and go, but far from being the revolutions in healthy living that they claim to be, they could actually be having a detrimental effect on your skin.
Fad diets enter the public eye more because of their marketing speak than because of their actual effectiveness. They make use of buzzwords in bold letters to suck you in, or use celebrities to actively promote them. Often, they make ambitious promises like fast weight loss or perfect skin – sometimes both together. Usually, this involves limiting certain food groups or overemphasising others, such as the recent Cabbage Soup diet. Fat is often a dirty word in this kind of marketing, something to get rid of as quickly and effectively as you can.
The trouble is, it’s not that simple! Your skin, and indeed your body in general, needs a balance of lots of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and acids in order to work effectively. Far from improving your health, some of these diets may even actively damage it, and in these cases, your skin is often the first casualty.
At the very least, you skin needs vitamins A, E and C, as well as healthy carbohydrates (such as those in vegetables and rice) and Omega threes. Vitamin C – found in foods like oranges, kale and broccoli – is especially useful in fighting against sun damage. As we’ve touched upon, self-proclaimed low fat diets emphasise cutting out all fats, but this can be dangerously over-simplistic. Your skin needs things like monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (with the catchy monikers of MUFAs and PUFAs, respectively), which are found in foods like nuts, avocados, olives and fatty fish – but these are just a few examples.
Depending on how drastic they are, fad diets can have a number of damaging effects on your skin. Foods promote healthy cell division, regeneration and hydration. By embarking on the latest trendy diet, you could be depriving yourself of essential minerals, vitamins or fatty acids. On the whole, your skin is good at taking care of itself – all you have to do is give it the resources! Without them, deficiencies can show up quickly, in the form of dryness, acne, redness and flakiness. It’s not unknown for skin conditions like eczema to develop under these circumstances. Juicing and the notorious Cabbage Soup Diet are just two examples of the latest fad diets that could introduce these kinds of deficiencies. Both emphasise consuming certain types of foods at the cost of others. Juicing cuts out some of the best things about fruit: for example, all the fibre and pulp that can help stabilise your blood sugar after a meal, helping to preserve your collagen. Meanwhile, the Cabbage Soup Diet deprives you of crucial nutrients in other foods, which are liable to dehydrate your entire body.
Well, that’s up to you! This article isn’t railing against all diets, just the ones that don’t tell you the whole story when marketing themselves to you – often the latest ones you’ll find adorning the covers of magazines. On the other hand, some of them – like the Mediterranean Diet – advise fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins. All of these are fantastic for your skin, which makes it an excellent example of a balanced diet.
What we’re saying is that dieting isn’t a universally bad thing, but at the end of the day, it’s a life choice. Life choices, even temporary ones, always require careful thinking and planning. If you’re going to diet, make sure to do your research before writing off food groups entirely, as sometimes their benefits to your skin and overall health may not be altogether obvious. Just make sure you eat in moderation, and don’t cut out food you enjoy because a magazine tells you to. After all, there’s no reason to change your life just because everyone else is doing it – even if they’re in Hollywood!
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