Paleo is one of the latest buzz words in the world of diet and health.
We talked to the UK’s leading Paleo Nutritionist and Fitness Expert Darryl Edwards – who is behind the popular website The Fitness Explorer and has a huge social media following – on the benefits of the Paleo diet for acne and for your overall health.
Read on to find out more about why you might consider the Paleo diet for acne treatment, and for information about the UK’s first Paleo diet event and conference.
Loren Cordain, the founder of the Paleo movement, pointed out there is a connection between our Western diet and acne in his book “Dietary Cure for Acne”. What are the main food groups linked to acne and why?
Loren Cordain identified Acne as a Western lifestyle disease like type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer based on research he had done looking at remote populations. What he noticed was that acne was absent from hunter-gatherer and ancestral based diets until they were introduced to a Western-pattern diet.
Our understanding is that acne is triggered by overstimulation of growth in oil-producing cells through excess androgens. A processed diet increases blood levels of insulin, which triggers androgens, chronic inflammation, more oil secretion and acne flare-ups. Refined sugar and high glycaemic foods, grains and dairy can trigger the hormonal responses associated with promoting acne.
Therefore, a paleo template which is an anti-inflammatory and low-glycaemic diet can definitely help to reduce acne symptoms.
Can you explain what the Paleo diet and lifestyle is about?
We were not designed to lie on the sofa, browsing the web and eating processed foods. We evolved to hunt meat and fish whilst gathering nuts, fruit and vegetables. The Paleo Diet, also known as the Stone Age or Caveman Diet, is based on the concept that we should eat what our ancestors ate and move as our ancestors did in the Stone Age as hunter-gatherers.
Although our world has changed significantly, our bodies operate in very much the same way as they did in the Stone Age. Our body and overall health benefits from a diet of meat, fish, nuts, vegetables and fruit rather than mainly subsisting on the products of agriculture (grains and dairy). Even more catastrophic is an over-reliance on the foods developed in the modern era – fast-food, artificial and processed foods.
But it isn’t just about food. The Paleo lifestyle also takes into account our activity levels, sleep patterns, levels of chronic stress and exposure to toxins. Avoiding the aspects of the current environment that are harmful to health and promoting the best of the past that is healthful.
What are the overall benefits of leading a Paleo lifestyle?
The benefits of the Paleo lifestyle include success at preventing and reversing chronic lifestyle diseases, through living a life closer to the way nature intended. Learning about how lifestyle behaviour impacts our health, from food to activity to psychological stress.
Other side effects of following a Paleo diet include weight loss, clearer skin, a better functioning body and feeling more energetic throughout the day.
What are your tips for those who are considering going Paleo?
Define your goals then look at Paleo being a long-term lifestyle change rather than a quick-fix. Educate yourself, do your research and keep it simple. Get blood tests and other health markers assessed to ensure you are on track and making the right type of progress based on your original mandate.
If in doubt or have any concerns, consult an expert for guidance. Determine the right balance between health, enjoyment with something that you actually want to do.
Coming off sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine isn’t easy. How do you help your clients to achieve this?
Instead of focusing on what you are giving up, focus on the health benefits together with the fantastic diversity of healthy foods you will gain. Keep a journal and make notes on how you think, feel and live based on making the changes. If overwhelmingly it is in the positive, it is likely you will want to continue the journey rather than revert to old habits.
There are also some great Paleo books on the market. My latest book on Paleo Fitness and Nutrition has been written with the aim to introduce people to the benefits of leading a Paleo lifestyle and give them exercise and diet ideas for everyday life.
What are the main transformations you notice in your clients?
My clients experience lower body fat, better body composition, improvements in blood pressure, better metabolism, improved sleep, acne-free skin, feeling youthful and exuberant and a desire to want to share that journey with others.
Discovering Paleo and starting your Paleo journey is often a transformative experience – one that will change your perception on health and diet forever.
Is the Paleo diet here to stay?
Paleo has always been here and always will be, whether we are aware of it or not. It is already a very established movement in the US and is growing every day in the UK.
Visit Amazon to purchase Darryl’s latest book: Paleo Fitness.
You can supplement your acne-beating Paleo diet with help: clear skin, which uses natural ingredients to reduce blemishes and improve your skin. Find out more about getting clear skin on our website.