Have you ever noticed that in the process of trying to get ‘buff’, you’ve started to experience more acne breakouts than before? Could this be due to the high-protein diet that you have started to follow?
It most probably is.
Bodybuilders are recommended to consume at least 300-400 grams of protein (animal meat, dairy or protein powder) in a day. Though this works great for the muscles, the same cannot be said for the skin. The body is central to many complex balancing acts and diet is often inherently linked to the skin. As a sensitive organ, changes in diet can easily translate into changes in your skin. Once such imbalance can be caused by high intakes of protein.
The Science Behind This
A large part of muscles are made of amino acids and proteins comprise of amino acids. Thus, proteins automatically become the nutrient of choice for bodybuilders. Protein is pivotal in the regulation and formation of all tissues but muscles are particularly reliant on it as their primary macronutrient. If large quantities of proteins are consumed, organs like the intestines, liver and kidneys become extremely overburdened while trying to break the proteins down into something usable. The stress on the organs sets off reactions in other parts of the body, this causes a cascade of reactions that results in toxic discharge, and where are many toxins discharged? From your skin!
Since the skin is the single largest organ on the body, it becomes the easiest location for toxic elimination until the digestive system recovers from the intake of meat/whey supplements. The toxins build up under the skin and as a result, one may experience breakouts on the face, the back and the chest. In the short term, this form of diet isn’t too much to worry about and your skin should naturally recover after you cut down on protein supplementation. Of course, what can compound issues further is the added sweat resulting from increased workouts. It’s a dangerous combo for your acne!
Another theory is that the intake of whey or protein supplements spike your insulin by up to 3 times, producing excess oil (sebum) and rapidly multiplying the generation of new skin cells. This wreaks inflammatory havoc on your skin because your pores get clogged more often and you begin to experience swelling, redness and painful acne. Likely, both of these explanations play a part and combined with excess sweating as you work out, you may easily find your skin taking a hit when you pursue a protein-supplemented workout program.
What You Can Do
- Cut back on 50-100 grams of protein from your diet and don’t consume it if you’re not working out adequately
- Counter the adverse effects of an all-protein diet with whole foods viz., rice, bran, coconut oil, green leafy vegetables and fresh juices.
- Avoid sugars and fatty foods that are detrimental to your skin
- Drink lots of water to flush the toxins out of your body through urine
- Sweat the toxins out with exercise and sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours in a day!