Paleo? Whole30? Here's How These Popular Diets Affect Your Skin

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

But that’s not all. What you eat can also affect your skin. Choosing a certain diet might not only be a good idea for your physical health goals—improving heart health, training for a 5K, building max strength for CrossFit—but might also help improve your skin’s health. We chatted with some experts to find out how these four popular diets actually affect your skin.


What it is: These days gluten-free diets aren’t just for people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Many who ditch gluten (a protein naturally found in wheat, including spelt, kamut, farro, and bulgur, and other grains, such as barley and rye) believe doing so helps with bloating, stomach problems, and sometimes getting rid of a few extra pounds.What that means for your skin: First and foremost, if you have celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, then eliminating gluten is essential for preventing the extremely itchy, blistering rash associated with the diseases, King says. But for the rest of us, ditching gluten—mainly carbs—might lead to a decrease in acne, as many foods that contain gluten also have a high glycemic index, which has been linked to inflammation in the body.However, according to Stadelman, going gluten-free can have both positive and negative affects on the skin. “Eliminating processed grains will help reduce blood sugar spikes, which can decrease sagging skin and collagen breakdown,” she says, cautioning that anyone going gluten-free should be wary of replacing gluten-containing foods with processed gluten- free products, as they can still spike your blood sugar, potentially leading to breakouts.Conversely, she warns that eliminating all gluten means you’re missing out on great sources of vitamins B and selenium, which can help fight off inflammation related to skin damage. “A gluten-free diet may not work for everyone,” she explains. “However, if you have skin flare-ups and nothing else has worked, go for it. Just remember to watch out for added sugar and fats in gluten-free products.”

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