In her observation on AHS, Melissa McEwen observed that the old low-carbers in attendance have red puffy skin.
Is this true?
In other words, does her observation reflect an actual cause-and-effect relationship? If so, what is the mechanism?
Additionally, I wonder if those who seem to do best with LC should be concerned about problems that are implicated by or part of the red puffy skin phenomena.
Here is what Melissa said:
'It was interesting to observe that among the low-carbers, there seemed to be an epidemic of puffy red skin, particularly in older men. I'm sure the pictures, when they are posted, will make obvious who these people are. The ones who had health complexions like the Eades and Nora are those espousing a high-fat diet. It goes very well with some of the anthropological stuff I've been working on showing that almost all cultures that eat meaty diets are doing so because they have access to high-fat game. More of that in another post.'
Annie offers this reformulation, which I'm including because I think its really great:
'What are the long term effects of VLC? Hypothyroid, stomach cancer, and now the red face phenomenon among others have been noted as possibilities. Is VLC something only for the metabolically deranged? In other words, a lesser of two evils (obesity and diabetes being the alternative), or is it a healthy state of being?'
asked byEric_S (5002)
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on August 09, 2011
at 12:45 AM
I would swear I just heard Lalonde's head explode.
What's next? Low carb causes bad hair color (uh, me!)? I observed some really short former vegans. Hmmm, maybe something else for us to explore???
on August 09, 2011
at 12:34 AM
definitely not. plenty of CW adherents have rosacea (what red puffy skin looks like over time). It's strongly associated with excessive alcohol consumption. But there are other potential issues as well:
1) excessive sun exposure (a cause of redness in rosacea but also just plain old erythema from sundamage can cause permanent redness over time)
2) vascular issues
3) infection 4) insufficient antioxidants in combination with the above 5) a lifetime of poor nutrition resulting in poor tissue integrity (including vessel integrity) and takes a tremendous amount to reverse.
This is the same kind of thinking (if there are people with red puffy skin, do we need to be concerned that low carb causes red puffy skin?) that caused Chris Masterjohn to post a picture of him, Melissa and Nikoley that says "smiling leads to shopping at whole foods".
If anything a lower carb diet is protective but "low carb" can be just as crappy as high carb if not done properly. It's not carbs that are the problem anyway but rather an excessive reliance on sugar (esp fructose), linoleic acid, and plant toxins like lectins and phytates as well as insufficient zinc, A, b vitamins etc due to an excessive reliance on muscle meat replacing necessary organ meats.
Having said that, I think the evidence that's been amassed so far is clear that humans ate a lot of plants. To stray from eating a lot of plants, we should have a significant amount of evidence to indicate that plant consumption is bad. Thus far, we have no such evidence. In other words, I think VLC diets that eliminate all plant foods do not appear to be beneficial.
on August 09, 2011
at 12:43 AM
For what it's worth: Dr. K seems to be outdoors quite a bit, apparently surfing before AHS while paleohacking and repairing a prolapsed disc at the same time.
Age combined with outdoor exposure and not living the frigid northeast --> rosy skin.
Dr. K also appears to have started paleo later on in his life. So low-carb exposure may not fit so well as an explanation. Not to mention that the majority of AHS attendees were in a young age bracket, so the comparison covered strata that are not directly comparable. That's why studies age adjust, after all.
Hold on, did I just defend the Quilt? Hmmm...perhaps I'm tripping...
on August 09, 2011
at 01:24 AM
I think you guys should wait for my post, which is more about the upper safe limit for protein than about people with red skin. You aren't giving me enough time to do research. But when someone has a normal complexion in youth and morphs into redness as they age...that's something we should look into. I am changing the title because Kruse is not the person I am primarily interested in and I don't have a ton of pictures of him to compare, though it's interesting to note that his complexion is rather nice in many of his pictures and I would wonder whether redness is a recent issue or maybe he was sunburned! I can only find one pictures of him where his skin is red. I kind of wish I hadn't gotten into naming names in the first place. I would note that all the people with red skin are perfectly nice, but I wonder why they aren't alarmed that their skin exhibits inflammation. When the pictures of AHS come out you will be able to pick them up immediately.
I don't think it's low-carb per se, unless some people are just poorly adapted to it and others aren't. There are a host of older low carbers that look fine. We need to look at the differences between successful low carbers and ones who seem to degrade with age. Either way, the best looking older people at AHS certainly weren't low carbers. Based on the cultures I study, when I do low-carb/high-fat (in the winter) I keep in mind that it's a diet of peoples who have access to higher fat game, cook at low temps, eat unusual organ foods (fetuses for example in Plains Indians) and also consume bitter herbs and plants alongside their food. I think that's why so many of the LC swedes look so good- in their country it isn't called low-carb, it's called low-carb high-fat. I think some people just aren't going to do well on LCHF because of genetic differences though.
Update: OK, some people have accused me of being "agist" because I pointed out that some LC-ers have these and it just so happens that some of these are older individuals. Well, I now have permission from Female Relative X to discuss her condition, which is why I noticed this in the first place. Female Relative X is in her early twenties and eats mostly low-carb paleo, but doesn't have access to high-quality meat. She had experienced a lot of health improvements, but she has not leaned out to her satisfaction. She eats lots of lean proteins: turkey, chicken breast, etc. Her skin started to exhibit redness around a year and a half into this diet. We are trying a regimen that is
- lower in protein
- higher in fat, particularly monounsaturated and saturated fat
- higher in butyrate-producing fibers in the form of resistant starch
- higher in antioxidants
- no more unrefrigerated fish oil from the drugstore
- fermented cod liver oil (she is related to me, so I assume she might share the same gene that is related to lower conversion of carotenes to retinol)
I'll be posting about her experience and whether or not this reduces the signs of inflammation. The main concern here as it relates to low-carb is that she did not have this when she started the diet. And on a woman it's a little more noticeable.
on August 09, 2011
at 12:27 AM
I would love to see this question expanded to: "What are the long term effects of VLC?" Hypothyroid, stomach cancer, and now the red face phenomenon among others have been noted as possibilities. Is VLC something only for the metabolically deranged? In other words, a lesser of two evils (obesity and diabetes being the alternative), or is it a healthy state of being? I guess I should have made my own question instead of piggy backing yours. Apologies.
on August 17, 2011
at 01:25 PM
Re: Stomach cancer? Where is the evidence that long-term low carb causes stomach cancer? The East Asians lead the world in stomach cancer rates and they certainly are not eating a low carb diet. Re: red face: Tree pollen does this to me every Spring. No nasal congestion - just red, itchy, puffy face. My father in law -- healthy 90 year old has slightly larger than average red blood cells and tendency to store iron -- result? Red face, puffy face. This is genetic as my father in law does not eat red meat or high protein at all -- he's a low fat,high carb fish and miniscule pieces ofskinless chicken breast kinda guy. Doc has him donate blood more frequently. I tend to have ferritin levels at the high end of normal -- I still menstruate so I'm not that concerned -- but am a few pounds under the 110 limit to donate blood. Might try it anyway...
on August 09, 2011
at 12:50 AM
I have rosacea, and I'm a long time VLC/ZCer, but, it's likely genetic, as it's more common in people of my ancestry, and also my mother has it, and she is not a low carber.
I wonder if the point about ancestry is important in another way, though. It could be that we are both more susceptible to carb intolerance and more susceptible to rosacea.
Incidentally, though I know I have rosacea, most people, including my doctor (though not my dermatologist), ask me what I'm talking about. It doesn't flare very often, and when it does, it just looks like I got too much sun.
on November 09, 2011
at 07:38 AM
I have been LC for close to 2 years, primal for 14 months. I noticed some recent facial redness in the mirror and wonder if it might be caused by a supplement or combination of supplements? I'm guessing older primals might take more supplements to address specifc concerns or to attempt to keep the age monster at bay.
on August 10, 2011
at 01:23 AM
My beard gets rougher/redder skin when I lowcarb for a few weeks. Cortisol? Excess protein? Fats compositions? don't know. On lower carbs/non keto I can eliminate rough skin with just using a superfatted soap (Oilatum). It's not enough when I'm ketogenic. I do think people are smarter about not doing super high protein long term. Thank goodness I can do cheese.
Note that there's some evidence that low thyroid numbers in some low carbers does not seem to be associated with reduced metabolism. Sorry I don't remember the cite.