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  • Dairy and acne

    I've been dairy free since Nov 5th. My skin is the clearest it has ever been, but it was already on a clearing trajectory due to a combo of primal eating and spironolactone. For the first time in probably 20 years, I don't have to start and end my day with benzoyl peroxide!

    So I'd like to figure out how much of a role dairy is playing in this. Is there any consensus on which type of dairy is most likely to trigger acne...cheese or butter or drinking milk straight? Is it best to have a bunch of dairy one day and then see what happens, or just re-introduce a small amount of dairy?
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

  • #2
    I seems like that is the experience that a lot of people have. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to cut dairy, but right now I depend on it for too many calories.

    A lot of body builders used milk as a muscle builder due to its growth promoting abilities, which are independent of its macronutrient values (i.e. if you mixed up a shake with the exact same macros, you would not get the same bulking properties). People wanting to bulk using milk generally accept that acne is going to be a side effect. It is very likely that it is the same growth promotants that increase both muscle mass and acne.

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    • #3
      I think grass-fed butter and ghee are safest, acne-wise. Milk and cheese seem to break me out, and yogurt is questionable.
      * Pixy's Quest for Regaining Health *
      Trying to gain weight, clear scarring acne, and fix thyroid and digestive issues with primal lifestyle- here goes something!

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      • #4
        Thanks...that's exciting news, since Batty's Butter Blue Balls are sitting in the freezer and it's been the hardest thing to give up!

        So maybe I'll start with a bunch of butter (I have pastured, grassfed in the freezer too) for cooking and snacking and see what happens. Fingers crossed it's OK--I'm getting just a little tired of coconut oil!
        Liz.

        Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
        Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lizch View Post
          So maybe I'll start with a bunch of butter (I have pastured, grassfed in the freezer too) for cooking and snacking and see what happens. Fingers crossed it's OK--I'm getting just a little tired of coconut oil!
          If it seems to be a problem, you can always clarify your butter and see if that helps. It doesn't taste as good, but it removes almost everything except for the fat.

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          • #6
            Yes, I think ghee is the safest, and it still tastes very good, and adds body and wonderful tastes when used to cook other food.

            I think that aged cheeses (sharp cheddar, etc.) make less acne than fresh ones.

            Post-menopause this becomes much less of a problem, but too much progesterone cream will still give me breakouts.

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            • #7
              Liz: I seem to recall that Robb Wolf addressed this very question in one of his podcasts. One thing's for sure: All dairy is not created equal, and it's likely you can get away with some things (like butter), not others. "Guinea pig" yourself and see what happens. I've been my own science experiment for over a year now.
              "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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              • #8
                Technically the primal/paleo diet ends up eliminating or restricting the two most scientifically correlated dietary triggers of acne: dairy and gluten. Just an idea that you might want to also look into that other trigger as well.

                As for dairy, it can possibly affect your acne either through dairies ability to increase insulin or through it's potential immune intolerance effects from the casein protein. This protein is the dominant cow dairy protein (goat's milk contains slightly less of the offensive type) and so basically the lower the protein content value of the dairy product, the lower the casein content. This is why things like heavy cream and ghee are generally better tolerated than things like cheese and milk. With ghee you're starting off with a dairy product that already has lower protein content then cheese and milk, but through the separation and skimming of the clarification process you're further removing the proteins. Heavy cream meanwhile is pretty much pure fat (yum!).
                "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                -J.Stanton

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                • #9
                  I find raw dairy products actually help the skin. If your doing milk, better make it raw. Butter and ghee are great too. I don't really do cheese anymore because it is rare to find truly raw cheese... most of it is heated up 160 degrees before turning into cheese. it is still "raw" under the technical standards but it is not.

                  So I would say avoid dairy other than ghee and butter unless you can get real raw milk. You can also kefir the raw milk which is amazing for the skin.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                    Technically the primal/paleo diet ends up eliminating or restricting the two most scientifically correlated dietary triggers of acne: dairy and gluten. Just an idea that you might want to also look into that other trigger as well.
                    I've been 95% grain free since July, and 100% grain free since September, so I'm definitely avoiding the gluten...could well be part of what has improved things.

                    Excited to hear that butter and cream are the two forms I'm most likely to tolerate...not exactly a hardship having to stick to only those
                    Liz.

                    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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                    • #11
                      Eating cheese requires mega vigilance and scrutiny. I find that raw does taste better but even pasteurized is okay if it isn't filled with emulsifiers, typically sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, tartrate, or citrate and other weird junk. I was recently in the supermarket attempting to purchase a bag of perfectly harmless shredded mozzarella only to find potato starch and powdered cellulose and natamycin in the ingridients. Then I reached for some land-o-lakes cottage cheese (quite possibly the simplest cheeses) and in reading the ingredient list i found these bonus items: Potassium Sorbate, Guar Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum, Polysorbate 80, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Enzymes, Vitamin A Palmitate.

                      The bottom line: if there is anything but dairy in your dairy product (and maybe rennet and a pinch of salt if it's cheese) don't eat it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lcme View Post
                        I seems like that is the experience that a lot of people have. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to cut dairy, but right now I depend on it for too many calories.
                        meeetoo
                        Get on my Level
                        http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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