A clear skin diet can be confusing, and some people wrongly imagine themselves having to forage the forest floor for food like Tito here. LOL
But experts agree that a simple, healthy diet designed for acne-prone skin must be one which adds maximum nutritional value to improve your body’s ability to fight for you, and seeks to limit zero or negative value food and drinks, and which delivers optimum hormonal balance as it relates to healthy skin.
In the words of Hippocrates, which have been found time and time again to be truer than Hippocrates himself even knew:
“Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.”
Forget any preconceived notions about the misery of dieting, especially with this one… it’s so simple and easy to follow. And tasty.
Also, forget what you’ve heard about going low-fat… for some people that may be fine.
For many acne sufferers we get better results from a good, healthy, high-fat diet.
Stick with me on this. I’m about to share with you the secret that has cleared up acne for a LOT of people and science has shown it to be good for skin care.
Yes, it can be difficult to stick with a clear skin diet plan, or any lifestyle or skincare change if you’re not committed, but I’m here to help you get committed. ♥
Clear Skin Diet – Synonymous With A Keto Diet
What is a clear skin diet? This type of diet isn’t a thing but an idea; there are many forms and variations of this same idea and even a book by the same name.
The intent though, as far as we’re concerned here at PimplesWTF, is to limit high glycemic index foods (carbs and sugars) and force your body into ketosis (more on that shortly).
The act of eating a diet like this forces a more complete whole-body process and results in a cascade of conditions which ultimately work to create a healthier skin environment.
I mentioned the “Clear Skin Diet” book, and I won’t take up space to review that here because it’s been done well elsewhere, but it is a great read for those not willing to take the larger step of a full keto diet, which I recommend and discuss in a moment.
You can see the book here at Amazon, it’s written by Alan C. Logan, ND, a board-certified naturopathic physician. I’m not sure who coined the term first, but it’s caught on.
Keep in mind though, names and titles aside, “low carb” isn’t new science.
What is a clear skin diet? It’s about eating very few carbs or sugars, a small amount of protein, and lots of healthy fats. A low carb diet can be “ultra” like the keto diet, or just a low-carb diet like Atkins and others which are similar.
More on those differences in a minute.
I referenced the importance of eating low glycemic index foods in another article on Do Foods Cause Acne, so I won’t rehash it here. But the point of that article is basic food help and advice for those seeking only minimal changes in their diet to reduce acne and an idea of what foods to avoid for clear skin forever.
In this article on the Clear Skin Diet, it’s about a larger, whole-life change. And it’s really simple, kind of like this choice.
I hear you. ‘Yea, yea, that’s something everyone knows. It’s common sense.’
Well, yes, and that’s my point with this graphic. It is kind of simple and common sense, and can be quite tasty.
There are things you do need to know and I’ll help you through it, but the bottom line is if you understand the fundamentals then you can do this.
In a hurry? Want the bottom line? Want clear skin fast? Here it is.
I recommend with all sincerity and complete passion that my readers who want the best skin possible adopt a keto diet and lifestyle. It’s simple and so worth it.
To do that, just hop over the my friend Leanne’s website and see how she can help you get started with her ridiculously simple, yet detailed, keto lifestyle plan. She’ll make sure you have everything you need to start, right now, today. Just go here and do it, and never look back!
I’m serious, and not just hyping something… you should go to her site and bookmark it, because I think the keto lifestyle change is so simple yet so profound!
Rich people have dieticians and nutritionists and clinics… the rest of us are really lucky to have people like Leanne to help us. You can so do it.
History of the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet was scientifically designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic; the result of years of testing and successful use to treat epilepsy in children.
Then as the surge in pharmaceutical advancements took hold and medicinal alternatives for epilepsy arrived on the market, the use of a keto diet lost popularity.
We do like things easy. LOL
However, it wasn’t long before the other incredible health benefits of this diet were realized, from losing weight to how it serves as a great clear skin diet plan.
Ketogenics takes advantage of ketosis (a metabolic state of converting fat in to energy) to 1) facilitate the burning of more body fat, and 2) produce a steadier, more reliable stream of energy which ultimately allows your hormones and other body systems to function properly.
You probably remember from your Science class that our bodies convert carbohydrates, proteins and fats through the same type of chemical reaction in order to produce the energy we need daily.
Despite this similarity in how we metabolize these three fuel sources, carbohydrates are the body’s “go to” fuel because for most people they’re readily available (we’re all carb addicts at heart!).
Your body can convert carbohydrates in to energy pretty fast, and within just a few short hours of eating carbs your body will have used them up for energy. Whatever is left over is then either converted in to fat (damn it), or sent to the liver where it is stored as glycogen.
Glycogen is basically just ready-to-go glucose in a can (the can being your liver).
You know how I mentioned that carbs and sugars are used up quickly, within a few hours of eating them? Well, fats take a lot longer to process and use.
In general it can take up to a day to fully metabolize the fats that you’ve eaten.
Think about it… if you eat high carb foods like donuts you might feel full for an hour or two.
With a fattier meal, say bacon, eggs and sour cream, you’ll naturally feel fuller, longer, because of precisely the time it takes your body to deal with the fat.
We naturally store fat, it’s a survival function that really modern humans don’t seem to need any more. LOL
The reason for this fat store is so that if we don’t have enough energy from newly eaten foods (the starvation effect) then the body will resort to the fat stores to get us by.
This process, ketosis, isn’t as efficient (quick) as the carb conversion but it works to keep us alive and moving.
To provide energy in starvation mode (ketosis) the body begins to break down fat stores to produce glucose from triglycerides, and a by-product of this process are Ketones.
Boom. There’s the point of the ketogenic diet. To force our bodies to use fat to produce energy by limiting its access to carbs and proteins. Using fat stores to produce energy, a.k.a. ketosis.
The end result of this wonderful clear skin diet (ketogenics) is that we can greatly reduce the amount of bad stuff that we’re consuming (carbs and simple sugars) and allow our body the ability to better regulate hormones. All that while effectively practicing a clear skin detox diet.
Also, while we’re concerned about a clear skin diet in this article, or how a low carb diet can help acne sufferers, the benefits of a keto diet are wide-ranging and beyond just zits and pimples.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article in 2008 that revealed results of a study on ketogenics and weight loss. Specifically, they reported that in the study obese men who followed a ketogenic diet lost on average 12 pounds in 4 weeks.
In another published article (Experimental & Clinical Cardiology 2004 Fall; 9(3): 200–205) they set out to “determine the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet (consisting of 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g/kg body weight protein, 20% saturated fat, and 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) in obese patients.”
Here’s their conclusion:
The present study shows the beneficial effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of the patients. Furthermore, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood glucose, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. Administering a ketogenic diet for a relatively longer period of time did not produce any significant side effects in the patients. Therefore, the present study confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time than previously demonstrated.
Clear Skin Diet And Food
Remember, my point in discussing the keto diet is not because of its weight loss potential, but how the whole ketogenic process naturally allows your body to flourish, including your skin.
If you’re not ready, willing or wanting to make a lifestyle change like the keto diet represents, then you can make your own variation of the low-carb diet suited to your own preferences.
Just be sure that you’re eating plenty of acne clearing foods like ocean fish, which are loaded with the highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid). Ocean fish are also listed as a food for good skin complexion and EPA is a mandatory part of any true clear skin diet.
The essential fats found in the fish work together with the essential fatty acids that you get from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains, and together they maintain an optimum balance of crucial tissue hormones called prostaglandins, which aren’t stored in our bodies but are instead synthesized from our daily intake of food and as needed to repair injuries to our body, such as infections and acne lesions.
But here’s the caveat: if you do decide to wing it and start / develop a low carb, clear skin diet yourself then you’ll need to monitor and adjust your foods to achieve the best ratio of carbs – proteins – fats that reaches the best hormonal balance for you, and actually provides acne clearing results.
If you’re looking to start on a keto diet your goal will be to keep your daily net carb intake to 20 or fewer carbs.
It’s generally held that the brain needs about 20 carbs / day to function, so achieving that 20 gram per day level allows you to maintain optimal mental acuity and remain in fully-functioning ketosis.
On a keto diet you’re carb limited (20 per day, as mentioned), but generally speaking you can be under 50 net carbs per day and still be in ketosis; it varies but you could maintain ketosis with higher than 20 carb grams per day.
The problem with flirting with higher levels of carbs (than the 20 recommended in a keto diet) is that you risk not actually being in ketosis, and instead you could be burning the carbs (instead of the fat) for fuel.
Remember, once you get out of ketosis it’ll take a few days to get back into it, which is why most people stay at a level that ensures they’re not out of ketosis and it’s why the keto diet suggests 20 net carbs per day to ensure continual ketosis.
Some people use test strips (such as Ketostix) to test their urine for ketones to make sure that they’re in ketosis and at safe levels.
Please don’t be misled or scared by those who compare ketosis to ketoacidosis; the later is a serious medical condition which relates to diabetics, which is why diabetics should never, ever alter their diets without consulting with their physicians.
If you follow a known keto diet and meal plan (like Leanne’s I recommended) then you can rest safely knowing that you’ll keep within healthy limits of nutrition while maintaining ketosis.
What are net carbs?
Net carbs are simply the total carbohydrates found in a serving of the food, minus the fiber content in grams it contains.
So lets say you want to eat 1/2 of an avocado, which has 8.57 grams of total carbs. If you subtract the fiber it contains (6.7 grams) you see that your net carb intake is just 1.87 (g) carbs.
If you’re a diabetic or have high cholesterol (or anyone of us really), talk to your physician about beginning a keto diet before getting started. Diabetics in particular have to work in conjunction with their physician or dietician on any diet changes.
Is the keto diet the same as the Atkins diet or the same as a low-carb diet?
Well, they’re very similar. However, the very specific thing that makes a keto diet the keto diet is that in it you reach and remain in ketosis so that your body is burning away fat for energy rather than converting carbs (your body won’t have the carbs to convert).
If you’re adhering to a keto diet then you’re daily carb intake is really low, 20 grams or lower (representing 2% of your daily calories). Here’s a graph which shows the carb difference between these popular low carb diets.
The graph shows a comparison of the caloric composition of the ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, and a typical American diet. On keto, you’re getting up to 90% of your daily caloric intake from healthy fats.
On any given day Americans consume an average of 265 g of carbohydrates (50% of their total calories), 78.3 g of total fat (35% of total calories), and 78.1 g of protein (15% of total calories).
The Atkins diet starts you out at very low carb levels, and slowly raises your carb intake level and seeks to determine which carbs work well with your body and which ones don’t, and then you reach some low-carb point where you’re in “equilibrium.”
The problem with Atkins is that 1) you may no longer be in ketosis at that point of equilibrium and 2) there’s a lot of work and measuring going on to achieve and maintain that result… that’s why some people leave that diet plan.
When you add too many carbs (it doesn’t take many) you knock yourself out of ketosis and are no longer burning fat for energy the same way because your body recognizes that it now has carbs for the more efficient process of carb conversion.
Get Clear Skin Fast
First, let me be clear that eating healthy and following a clear skin diet doesn’t require you to spend a penny on any training or cookbooks or anything… you can just use common sense and the basic guidelines you’re getting here and elsewhere on the web.
I realize that not everyone can afford the extra bucks to get in-depth training and guidance on a new lifestyle diet, so I want to assure those of you who that applies to, to NOT let that stop you. You can make subtle changes and even educate yourself through online research.
It’s more work, takes longer… sure, but you can do it.
Start by finding out how to measure and count up carbs, fats and fiber content quickly. There are lots of books on this that you can pick up at a local bookstore or Amazon.
Then start creating daily menus that contain the foods that you like and which fall into a keto diet plan. There are hundreds of options so no one is going to get bored with this diet plan if they’re committed to it and not afraid of a bit of work.
Remember this, it’s a lazy mindset that got us westerners into trouble in the first place, giving rise to fast foods and obesity, and everything that came with the crappy modern diet.
So now you and I have to remind ourselves that quick and easy isn’t always best, and that we, our bodies, deserve our very best.
That being said, I do believe that if you’re set on making a real change in your life, and can see the benefits of a Keto lifestyle, then you really should get a proper training guide so that you’re doing it right and also so that you have an expert coach in your corner.
There’s no one I’d rather recommend to you than Leanne. She’s the famous Canadian who’s been helping people everywhere unleash the brilliance that is the keto diet.
Why do you need a plan and a coach (don’t be scared… it’s really cheap! LOL) The reason is simple. Getting a full and complete understanding of WHY you’re doing something, and then an easy step by step on HOW to do it, is much easier and longer-lasting than finding a cookbook on the web.
And it’s so much more fun!
When is the last time you followed a diet plan that you came across on the web or you saw on TV? Exactly.
So head over to Leanne’s website right now and have a look at how she can help you to transform your life, not just your skin.
I love that she offers an audio series because I’m always listening to something anyway as I work out every day, or working in the garden or around the house, while I’m cooking or driving, etc… You also get the written cookbook and planner of course.
But she also has a lot of other options (books, pdf’s, etc…) to suit everyone’s unique lifestyle and preference. The bottom line is she is THE guru I recommend when it comes to helping you kick-start a keto lifestyle quickly and the right way.
What’s that, not sure the Keto diet will help your acne? Everyone responds differently, for sure, but here’s a thread at Reddit and you can see how this clear skin diet has helped real people like us get clearer skin.
In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published online 26 June 2013, they wrote in part:
In recent years there have been an increasing number of studies published, suggesting that at least for certain food types there is a nutritional influence on the development of acne. The negative effects seem to lie in the capacity of some foods/nutrients to stimulate proliferative pathways that in turn stimulate development of acne— suspect foods include those with a high glycemic load, and milk.
They sum it by writing that there is “persuasive, although not yet conclusive, clinical and physiological evidence that the ketogenic diet could be effective in reducing the severity and progression of acne.”
Here’s a way to look at the keto diet and how it might affect your acne.
The ketogenic process is a way to control and regulate insulin and other hormones by better controlling the fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
For a lot of acne sufferers their acne is the result of insulin (hormonal) imbalance. Insulin spikes can increase acne by stimulating your skin cells so that they produce more sebum and keratin, but the insulin also effects how other hormones are made available and used by your skin.
And here’s my bottom line. Keto is a healthy diet that can effect so many areas of your life that you really don’t have anything to lose and a LOT to gain.
What The Clear Skin Diet (Keto) Looks Like
It will take you 3 or 4 days to convince your body to kick in to starvation mode (ketosis, where it burns fat for energy) and here’s another reason why I suggest and recommend Leanne so strongly… getting to ketosis fast requires that you do it right by precisely knowing how many carbs you’re getting in relationship to the fats and proteins.
Why does it matter that you reach ketosis fast? Because ketosis is nirvana!
Once you’re producing ketones you’ll be stocked back up on energy, and you won’t be nearly as hungry as you were when carb-binging, or craving food as often, and you’ll experience an obvious sense of well-being, a sort of euphoria.
Reaching ketosis fast also means that you’re much more likely to stick to the clear skin diet. And that is your goal for the day, for life.
What sucks about the keto diet?
You can’t just cheat. That “one time” splurge can knock you out of ketosis for 4 – 5 days until your body thinks it once again needs to start using fat to create energy. So go all in or go home. LOL
You’ll have a learning curve, as with anything. I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but friends, truly, you will do so much better and be more likely to achieve your goal if you have a program like Leanne’s.
For example, during the first week, as your body adjusts to the reduction (drop off) of carbs, you’re probably not going to feel well.
You’ll likely be tired (fatigued), have a headache and be cranky as hell. It’s not pretty, I admit it. Warn family and friends. LOL
To alleviate the headache part, drink a lot of water so that you’re not dehydrated; that’s the number one cause of a lot of headaches anyway. Because a lot of the foods you’ll be eating can act as a diuretic, you must drink plenty of fluids. All the time, of course, but the first week especially.
I can’t rewrite an entire course on starting a keto diet, but I can once again urge you as strongly as a friend may, to hop over to Leanne’s blog right now and grab her Keto audiobook (my favorite) and get started… your life will start changing quickly and you’ll begin to see results in your acne or other skin blemishes rather quickly, too.
Click Leanne’s picture above or at the bottom of this page.
With Leanne on your side you won’t be in the dark on any of it. You’re going to get everything (I mean it) that you need to see this through. Obviously you’ll get the ketogenic training so that you’ll be immersed, but you you’re also going to get a massive cookbook, meal plans and even access to a private support group. Get it right here, right now, and let me know how you’re doing with it.
Be sure to read other articles on PimplesWTF and find things like tips for clear skin and how to keep your skin clear once you achieve it.
Please, I seriously want your opinions and thoughts on the clear skin diet plan, or any diet and acne… what have your results been and what advice can you give me and other readers? Leave your comments below.
Citation of sources, among others, for those who want to research themselves: