High fat = skin irritation, no fat loss

Hi guys,

I have been tracking for years now, and this year started a fitness journey: I started running recently, and lifting weights in March. I try to stick to my macros and have been raising my protein to 46-50grams (vegan diet - some cheese).

I have been wondering why my skin is always unclear and I cannot manage to get rid of those fat reserves around my waist, while believing I was doing the right calorie amount/ exercise ratio for my body. 4-5 years back I had clear skin, so I have been trying to figure out what I did differently then.

Only today I realized that daily I eat nut butters, and have a high fat intake (never reaching keto) and could blame it on this. Looking back those few years I never ate nut butters, or seeds/nuts in my salad or as snack.

Could it be that my fat intake is too high? What's the influence of carbs (mainly wheat) in skin rashes and acne, also in combination with fat intake?

I know this isn't a very specific question, and all bodies are different - but some kind of input or your experience might help me for further views on this.

Thanks a lot,


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    The usual culprit for acne is our pesky hormones that tend to change around puberty, pregnancy, and as we age. In some instances, people have cited dairy as an issue, but I don't believe evidence is conclusive yet. What the research does say is that consuming high glycemic index foods (i.e. white bread, crackers, sugary/processed snacks) can worsen acne. It's also possible that you could be having an allergic reaction to the nuts/seeds you are eating.

    If you are vegan, it's important to ensure that you are consuming a source of DHA, since this essential fatty acid can be very low and may result in skin irritations when deficient.

    Regarding fat mass around your waist, it's possible that this isn't actually fat per se, but rather, empty fat cells. Once a fat cell divides, it can't undivide; it just empties. So it can be quite common to feel like you have fat mass that won't go away when in fact, it's just skin. :)

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    Dairy foods are implicated in acne because of the high level of hormones in milk.
    High fat diets increase the difficulty of losing weight, because it is easy for our bodies to convert dietary fat to body fat. It is harder for the body to convert dietary carbohydrate to body fat, although certainly possible if you are eating too many calories.
    Calorie consumption is another reason to keep fat low, because a fat has more calories than an equal amount of carbohydrate or protein.
    Try eating more high carb food that has plenty of natural fiber to increase weight loss.

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    Other than what @Susan_RD_101 and @bessie already said, if you increased your protein intake through plant foods, it could be the increase in phytoestrogen intake. Some people find acne relief through consuming phytoestrogen while others get worse; you could be in the latter group. Or it could also be the high omega 6 content of nuts.

    It's mostly trial and error. I have no issue with some of the "problematic" foods out there so I don't have personal experience to share.

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    But if you only eat whole plant foods, you won't be getting excess protein, so no excess of phytoestrogens. Beans might be an exception, if you eat a high amount of them every day.
    In other words, skip the pea protein powders and just eat peas. Or any whole plant food, such as corn, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, carrots, onions, spinach, etc.

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