2

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Paleo and Face Fat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I have been following a paleo diet for about 2 years now, and it has resulted in face fat, or you could call it a double chin. I am otherwise pretty lean - dont know my bf% but have a 4-pack, so 1-2% away from a 6pack.

Whenever I eat alot of carbs, the face fat goes away. I usually follow a strict paleo diet, but there have been a few times where I have gone on vacation and just let myself go for a few days. While more carbs/grains result in some overall weight gain/belly fat, they also help the double chin go away.

I am actually pretty self conscious about my face and I really want to figure this out. I have a feeling that this is due to some sort of hormonal response, but I have no idea what. I'd appreciate any help, thanks alot!

2056d38cdceb401123c64278855aa339

(0)

on October 15, 2011
at 10:53 PM

i experienced the same thing. in particular, face 'fat' goes away when i exercise, carbs are so-so, but eating nuts increases the 'fat'. have you discovered what causes the water retention?

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on March 06, 2011
at 10:07 AM

What you're seeing over time is the phenomenon called "age related facial fat loss". Given a stable body weight and body fat % over time, the face will loose fat as a normal part of aging. It's very significant in some body types depending on initial fat distribution and genetics and not so noticeable for others.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on December 17, 2010
at 07:54 PM

@Ed--thank you:)

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 14, 2010
at 02:18 PM

@Katherine, great point about potassium intake!

14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

(373)

on December 13, 2010
at 03:05 AM

Perhaps try a high-carb diet for a couple weeks and see what happens? You can always go back if it doesn't work out.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:03 PM

Maybe Depp put on weight for the role, like de Niro in "Raging Bull," or Zellweger in the "Bridget Jones" movies.

B4aa2df25a6bf17d22556667ff896170

(851)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:31 PM

actually i do eat tubers, especially sweet potatoes, but I limit them to workout days. But my question is that when I do go low carb, it results in face fat (or water) and I am wondering why this is...

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:24 PM

Great answer. I lost my double chin through a paleo-type diet (no sugar, no grains, etc.). But this didn't happen on the level of days or even months. The process took over two years.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 12, 2010
at 05:49 PM

You've misunderstood the paleo diet -- there's nothing paleo about carb restriction. Humans have been eating starchy tubers, taproots, rhizomes, corms, and bulbs for at least 2 million years.

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7 Answers

12
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:15 PM

Interesting question, Payam. I suspect that your "face fat" is not fat, but subcutaneous fluid, for 2 reasons:

1) You said that it goes away in a few days. The speed of resolution suggests fluid, not fat.

2) Since "spot reduction" is difficult, I suggest that simultaneous spot reduction and "spot gain" of fat is well-nigh impossible.

My theory (this should not be construed as medical opinion or advice) is that carbs are acting as a diuretic for you (Payam, singular "you"). Bingeing on carbs may be dehydrating in some cases. The solution is to add back some relatively benign carbs to your diet, such as rice or sweet potato, or to find another diuretic. Reputed natural diuretics that you can try include dandelion, ginger, juniper, celery, onion, eggplant, asparagus, watermelon, hawthorne, corn silk and parsley. Also, you can try lowering your sodium consumption.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:24 PM

Great answer. I lost my double chin through a paleo-type diet (no sugar, no grains, etc.). But this didn't happen on the level of days or even months. The process took over two years.

2
Cc90fbe77713bec308986e32c696b066

(70)

on December 12, 2010
at 05:58 PM

I eat alot of root vegetables, potatoes included, which can be pretty starchy. The paleo diet eliminates alot of unnecessary carbs like bread, sugar, some starches, pasta...stuff that didn't exist 100,000 years ago. It's semi-low carb by the natural process, but through veggies and fruit, you should be getting carbs, just don't over-do it. It's important to have carbs in our diet daily, not only for energy, but for hormone maintenance, particularly testosterone. So don't try to think of it in terms of hi or low carb, but be sensible about what you're eating from the paleo perspective.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 13, 2010
at 04:11 AM

Perhaps there are some vitamins or minerals in the the carby things that you are lacking when you cut those carbs out. My advice would be to type in yoru food intake into fitday.com and see if you are low on any nutrients while eating lower carb. Another thing I would try is eating only one carb source, like say potatoes, and see if that fixes it. If it fixes it, then you know it is either the nutrients in potatoes or carbs themselves, but not sugars. YOu need to narrow down what exactly functions to fix the problem. This will give you a clue as to what is causing the problem.

1
35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on December 12, 2010
at 09:44 PM

Wow, very interesting question!

Recently I thought about it by myself. I wonder if it's possible to change one's face structure on a diet. I'm not just talking about losing face fat, but highlighting the overall bone structure (high cheekbones).

Maybe your body accumulates more fluid when carbs are too low, and therefore body temperature decreases. It's self-protection from the cold.

Look at Johnny Depp: http://www.thefablife.com/2010-05-14/sad-news-america-johnny-depp-is-now-old-and-ugly/ . His face changed a lot! I wonder how his diet changed.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:03 PM

Maybe Depp put on weight for the role, like de Niro in "Raging Bull," or Zellweger in the "Bridget Jones" movies.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on March 06, 2011
at 10:07 AM

What you're seeing over time is the phenomenon called "age related facial fat loss". Given a stable body weight and body fat % over time, the face will loose fat as a normal part of aging. It's very significant in some body types depending on initial fat distribution and genetics and not so noticeable for others.

1
Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

on December 12, 2010
at 07:20 PM

I think Ed has some great points in support of the possibility of simple fluid gain rather than fat gain. Due to the speed at which it appears and resolves, fat does seem unlikely.

Reducing added sodium may be a very good idea. In addition, and of equal importance is ingesting sufficient potassium (K) in ratio to kcal intake and Na intake. It's very rare to find someone getting sufficient K intake without a specific effort to do so.

Setting aside the subq fluid possibility for a moment and considering fat gain, the first thing that comes to mind is cortisol. Some individuals, while in ketosis or readapting to ketosis will experience cortisol elevation for a time as the body tries to access fat for fuel. If for some reason, yours is chronically elevated, it would be possible (in theory) to see an increase in fat distribution in the same places one sees fat accumulation with oral steroid supplementation--ie the 'moon' face and fat storage (eventually) in the abdomen and upper body. It does seem to be a very unlikely possibility though due to (again) the speed at which it both occurs and resolves.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on December 14, 2010
at 02:18 PM

@Katherine, great point about potassium intake!

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on December 17, 2010
at 07:54 PM

@Ed--thank you:)

0
6e442186c2273fb99ad30a07511f5009

on October 19, 2013
at 07:50 PM

Unfortunately, I've been experiencing the same thing. Concave cheeks are an ideal in men and I care far more about my aesthetics than sustaining a perfect diet , so I'm considering adding porridge back into my breakfast regime.

0
1aeb2cfacf9bc03644bcda640ce459ba

(154)

on December 13, 2010
at 03:28 AM

here's my theory; you are gaining some facial fat during you're off times and when you lose it, the skin is left w/o the fullness and has no place to go but downward. maybe it's water maybe it's fat but whatever it is, it is filling you out during those off paleo times.

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