What to Eat (And NOT to Eat) for Flawless, Beautiful Skin: An Interview with Dr Stefanie Williams

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Go in. Listen to a presentation about acne. Chat with the experts. Try a few treatments. Munch on some carrots (that’s standard fare at most blogging events these days). Grab the goodie bag. Leave.

It all went according to plan. Until I went home and had a look at what’s inside the goodie bag. A copy of Dr Stefanie Williams’ book, “Future Proof Your Skin: Slow Down Your Biological Clock By Changing The Way You Eat“. Now, if there’s a thing I love more than skincare is books, so I started reading it straight away.

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It’s transforming my skin.

I’m not exaggerating. I’ve only overhauled my breakfast so far (I believe in baby steps), but my skin is already softer and suppler and I haven’t had a pimple in weeks. That’s the power of a good diet.

In her book, Dr Stefanie shares her FuturApproved plan, a diet she has created to achieve flawless, beautiful skin and live longer, too. I wanted to write a review but then I had a better idea. Why not invite Dr Stefanie here and let her do the talking?

I was so honoured when she agreed. In this first part of the interview, she shares more about herself and what the best and worst foods for your skin are (hint: her answers may surprise you):

1. Can you tell us something about yourself and how did you become passionate about slowing down the aging process through a healthy diet and lifestyle?

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I am a fully qualified specialist dermatologist. After doing medical dermatology in the public state system for quite a few years treating everything from severe eczema to skin cancer, I decided to start offering private dermatology services, where I could spend more time with my patients. This is when I noticed that my private work consisted more of ‘fine-tuning’ rather than constant ‘fire fighting’. I was able to see patients, a lot of them with acne and rosacea, who felt let done by the public health system and give them all the care they needed, including talking in depth about their daily skincare routines and lifestyle factors affecting their skin. I feel strongly that nobody should feel bad about the condition of their skin, even if other people might not see it as very serious.

Often what I saw in clinic was that once I had cleared a medical condition such as acne for one of my patients, their priorities then changed and they started to look into how to make their skin overall look better. So I started my quest and over the next few years went on countless courses in my quest to master the art of non-surgical cosmetic treatments (I don’t do half measures…).

What I noticed over the years though was that treating a person from the outside alone is not the entire job. I knew that lifestyle factors such as diet play a massive role in how well (or badly) somebody ages. This is one of my passions and strong convictions – not only providing a ‘helping hand’ on the outside, but also empowering my patients with all the information they need to adjust their lifestyle in order to help them ‘anti-age’ from the inside out too.

I have spent years researching the subject of ageing and how it manifests itself, from a cellular level right up to the visible signs we see on our skin. By studying the science of aging in detail and applying these principles in my daily practice, I have developed an anti-aging lifestyle protocol called FuturApproved, which enables my patients to not only look their very best on the outside but also age well within and extending their life span. I have lived this way myself since 2011 and never felt better.

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Combining a FuturApproved lifestyle with the helping hand of natural looking aesthetic procedures, such as hyaluronic acid fillers, is, in my opinion, the gold standard of ‘aging gracefully’.

2. What are the three worst foods for skin we all should try to avoid as much as possible and what should we replace them with?

Sugar, refined starches and ‘fake’ industrial foods!

Carbohydrates in starch are simply long strings of sugar molecules. Starch is essentially nature’s storage form of sugar! After eating starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes, our body ultimately breaks these linear or branched sugar strings down into individual sugar units. Eventually, every 4g of starchy carbohydrates will result in one teaspoon of sugar in our blood.

Most starches do this at a slower pace than sugar. But some, like cornflakes breakfast cereal or a white baguette — and even some supposedly healthy foods such as roast parsnip or baked potato — can have a worse effect on our blood sugar level than pure table sugar. That’s why a diet relying largely on starchy carbohydrates (i.e. a typical Western diet) is disadvantageous for long-term skin health and our longevity.

Let’s be clear – the FuturApproved way of eating is NOT a so-called low-carb regime, as at least two-thirds of your plate will be filled with carbohydrates, but in their most nutritious form – vegetables! So this is by no means a low- carb diet (it’s simply not a high-carb diet like a typical Western diet).

Another important principle is to avoid any industrially processed ‘fake’ foods (if it comes in a wrapper or is pre-packaged, think again!). Most of the pre-packaged, processed food in supermarkets contain a plethora of unwelcome ingredients such as sugar, soy protein, modified starches and/or unstable polyunsaturated oils—so are best avoided in favour of natural, unprocessed whole foods. Always ask yourself – “is this real food or fake food?”.

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