The Real Cause of Skin Aging Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

The real cause of skin aging polyunsaturated oils Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

For the last 12 months, I haven’t touched a drop of almond, avocado, canola, cod liver, corn, cottonseed, flax, fish, hemp, linseed, palm, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower or vegetable oil. (Or at least, not if I could help it.) I deliberately refrained from eating them, and I went out of my way to make sure they didn’t get on my skin, either.

Am I a freak? It would appear that way. These polyunsaturated oils are damn hard to avoid—they’re in everything, so if you want to be strict about it, social occasions can be awkward (not to mention I feel super-guilty that I no longer want to use so many of the beauty products I’ve amassed in this “job”). Also awkward: I’m kinda known around the internet as the cod liver oil girl, thanks to this post. I need to backtrack on that, because I don’t take it anymore and as you’ll soon read, I don’t think it’s safe. (Although in my defense, it’s still a good idea to get enough vitamin A, either via straight-up liver or this supplement.)

The reason I’ve banished these oils (also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids or “PUFAs”) from my life? I’m convinced they are totally unhealthy, even dangerous, and the biggest factor behind the skin aging we all work so hard to defy. No joke, this is serious stuff. And today’s post, which a few of you guys requested, lays it all on the line….

What are PUFAs?

Crisco vegetable oil Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated (also labelled as “polyunsaturated”). Saturated fats are solid at room temperature; saturated means that the fat molecules have all the hydrogen atoms they can hold.

In contrast, unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and have some hydrogen atoms removed. Why does this matter? Because this opens up the structure of their molecules in a way that makes them susceptible to attack by free radicals.

Yep, I said the magic words. Free. Radicals. Most of us are well familiar with this concept from the beauty world, but if you’re not, a quick primer. Endocrine physiologist Dr. Ray Peat explains:

“Free radicals are reactive molecular fragments that occur even in healthy cells, and can damage the cell. When unsaturated oils are exposed to free radicals, they can create chain reactions of free radicals that spread the damage in the cell, and contribute to the cell’s aging.”

In a nutshell, these unsaturated oils are the culprit behind aging. They’re VERY unstable, oxidizing quickly when exposed to oxygen, light and heat—even just sitting in a bottle, but also when they go into our bodies—and turning rancid. Ick!

Dr. Peat goes on to explain what this rancidity (oxidation process) does:

“The free radicals produced in this process react with parts of cells, such as molecules of DNA and protein, and may become attached to those molecules, causing abnormalities of structure and function.”

Yikes—doesn’t sound good. More on this in a sec.

Why essential fatty acids aren’t actually essential

Genuine Health O3mega Plus Glow Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)I know what you may be thinking. Aren’t all those oils I mentioned, especially the omega-3 kind like fish oil and flaxseed oil, supposed to be good for us?

That is, of course, what every mainstream health “expert” will tell you. It gets repeated so often that I naturally assumed it was true—until I started reading the work of the aforementioned Dr. Peat. Initially, I sought him out because I was looking for answers on hormonal balance (which is a topic for another day), but I couldn’t help reading up on his nutritional suggestions, too, since it’s all related. Dr. Peat totally debunks all the misconceptions about so-called “healthy” polyunsaturated oils, citing dozens of studies (and in fact, separating the good studies from the bad).

He points out that the U.S. government actually used to warn people about consuming too much of the omega-3 oils, until corruption and financial motivations took over, leading to the selective promotion of research favourable to the highly profitable fish oil industry. (If you’re interested, there’s more on all that here, which is a fascinating read.)

From the article:

“One way to evaluate published studies is to see whether they tell you everything you would need to know to replicate the experiment, and whether the information they provide is adequate for drawing the conclusions they draw…. With just a few minimal critical principles of this sort, most “scientific” publications on nutrition, endocrinology, cancer and other degenerative diseases are seen to be unscientific….

In declaring EPA and DHA to be safe, the FDA neglected to evaluate their antithyroid, immunosuppressive, lipid peroxidative (Song et al., 2000), light sensitizing, and antimitochondrial effects, their depression of glucose oxidation (Delarue et al., 2003), and their contribution to metastatic cancer (Klieveri, et al., 2000), lipofuscinosis and liver damage, among other problems.”

These metabolism-suppressing effects and other dangers aren’t just true of fish oil, by the way, but ALL PUFAs. One neat (and also depressing) anecdote is that until the late 1940s, farmers fed pigs chemical toxins to fatten them up. At the same time, paint and varnish manufacturers began formulating their products with cheap petroleum instead of soy, flaxseed and safflower oils, which left the huge oil industry without a market… until they convinced farmers of the supposed “benefits.” Soon, pigs were feeding on these oils, and became fat due to their anti-thyroid effect. Sad but true. It’s a real head-scratcher that we’re being told to consume these oils ourselves!

As for certain fats being “essential”? Dr. Peat says that concept was disproven more than 50 years ago, and that the only thing polyunsaturated fats are essential for is the development of cancer.

Why PUFAs are the REAL cause of skin aging

The real cause of wrinkles Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

Okay, so back to beauty. That saying about “you are what you eat” is most definitely true, because a diet high in PUFAs is going speed up the aging process. Maybe you won’t notice it in your 20s or even 30s, but it will eventually catch up if you’re chowing down on these oils (either straight-up or within almost every processed food). Here’s how.

Oxidation: The oxidation process I mentioned leads to cell damage, including skin cells, and that spells wrinkles, sagging, aging. “Many people are concerned about the spontaneous glycation that supposedly happens in the body when sugars react with proteins, though they are really mostly the result of PUFA degradation,” says Dr. Peat. That’s right—sugar is not the enemy; the unhealthy oils in your diet are.

Anti-thyroid effects: Your thyroid function is your metabolism, and the better your metabolism, the healthier (and of course, prettier) you are. PUFAs have been shown to suppress thyroid function, which can lead to inflammation and degeneration. In contrast, coconut oil, a saturated fat, has the opposite effect, helping to boost metabolic function.

Lowered progesterone: PUFAs lower the production of protective progesterone, and increase harmful estrogen. There is “a close association between the generalized atrophy of aging and the amount of estrogen in the tissues,” says Dr. Peat.

Impaired digestion: PUFAs block digestive enzymes and inhibit protein digestion in the stomach. This means you can be malnourished, even when “eating healthy.”

Chemical and natural pesticides: When you eat polyunsaturated oils, chances are, you’re also consuming chemical pesticides, since they’re found in a greater concentration in the seeds from which many oils are derived. Plants also have built-in pesticides to ward off predators; these substances are inherently toxic.

Age pigmentation: Oh yes, age spots aren’t from the sun but from your diet. Back to Dr. Peat: “In the 1960s, Hartroft and Porta gave an elegant argument for decreasing the ratio of unsaturated oil to saturated oil in the diet (and thus in the tissues). They showed that the “age pigment” is produced in proportion to the ratio of oxidants to antioxidants, multiplied by the ratio of unsaturated oils to saturated oils. More recently, a variety of studies have demonstrated that ultraviolet light induces peroxidation in unsaturated fats, but not saturated fats, and that this occurs in the skin as well as in vitro. Rabbit experiments, and studies of humans, showed that the amount of unsaturated oil in the diet strongly affects the rate at which aged, wrinkled skin develops. The unsaturated fat in the skin is a major target for the aging and carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet light.” (Via my friend Emma at The Nutrition Coach.)

Convinced yet? It’s pretty scary. Oh, and these beauty things are all on top of PUFAs making you fatter, causing hormonal imbalance, suppressing your immune system and putting you at risk for heart disease and cancer.

The oils you put on your skin matter, too

It’s most important to avoid PUFAs in your diet for younger-looking skin and a healthier body, but I’d consider eliminating them from your beauty routine, too. They’re not doing you any favours in terms of the aging process, and in fact may even be accelerating it.

How much gets absorbed into your bloodstream depends on the substance, but I’ve heard stats ranging from 20 to 60 percent. (Usually, I go with the 20 percent figure, which is still incentive enough.)

I know people love their oils, so a compromise could be to swap out your body oil or lotion for a healthier option, like coconut oil, instead of a PUFA. I worry the most about my body products because they’re covering the largest surface area. Virgin coconut oil is my body moisturizer of choice:

Nutiva Coconut Oil Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

The amount of product you put on your face is so much smaller, so I’m less picky about that. If you’re in love with a face oil, it’s not as bad to keep using it, although there are other good options if you want to go PUFA-free there, too.

The oils you should avoid

For easy reference, here’s my looong list of bad-guy polyunsaturated oils:

  • Almond oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Canola oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Fish oil
  • Flax oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Linseed oil
  • Margarine
  • Palm oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vegetable oil

If there’s an oil I haven’t mentioned here that you’re not sure about, just ask (or Google). Oils that are liquid at room temperature are almost always PUFAs. They’re also frequently hidden in processed foods, so check all of those, too—chips, chocolate, crackers, soups, you name it.

If you absolutely HAVE to consume something with one or more of these oils, 100 units of vitamin E can counter a meal’s harmful effects.

The safe oils

There are really just a few that are safe to eat:

  • Coconut oil: An amazing saturated fat that has all kinds of benefits (Elizabeth mentioned a few here). I use the virgin, coconut-smelling kind as my body lotion and cook with the refined version, which has no taste. Refined is just as good for you, and is actually a bit safer, as there is less chance of it being allergenic.

Spectrum Naturals Coconut Oil Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: A monounsaturated oil that’s safe to use in small amounts (it’s fattening in large quantities). It’s better to cook with coconut oil, as olive oil oxidizes when exposed to high heat. Avoid low-grade, “light” olive oil as it may be rancid.
  • Butter: A safe saturated fat that also contains some vitamin A and D, both good nutrients for skin.
  • Lamb fat: Although I doubt most of us will be cooking with this!

For topical use, you can try:

  • Olive oil (although it can be comedogenic for some)
  • Coconut oil (again, use with caution on your face as it could cause breakouts)
  • Jojoba oil (actually a liquid wax, not an oil)
  • Vitamin E
  • Shea butter
  • Tallow

Look for topical skincare products that are either PUFA-free or have PUFAs as far down on the ingredients list as possible. It’s all about reading the fine print. Ironically, I’ve found many mainstream moisturizers to have better ingredient lists than the natural/organic ones. In the interest of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I won’t share them here, but stay tuned for a follow-up with some of my top PUFA-free product suggestions.

The bottom line

The real cause of wrinkles sunshine Why polyunsaturated oils are the REAL cause of skin aging—and how they make you look older, saggier and wrinklier (plus what to do about it!)

Contrary to what dermatologists (and most beauty editors) like to preach, the sun isn’t exactly skin’s enemy number one. “While it is important to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet light, the skin damage that we identify with aging is largely a product of our diet,” says Dr. Peat. I am convinced that replacing PUFAs with saturated fats is the best thing you can do for both your skin and body.

How long before you start noticing benefits? It takes four years to detox PUFAs from your tissues, but gradually you should notice an improved metabolism and fewer age spots, among other benefits. I’m one quarter of the way through and so far, so good.

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Were you aware of the dangers of polyunsaturated oils?
How prevalent are they in your diet and skincare regimen?
Are you inspired to eliminate them from your beauty routine and start eating more saturated fats?

170 Comments

olivia
Monday, February 17/2014 at 3:38 pm

ahh this is horrifying! For years we’ve been told to eat this way, I always thought sugar was the worst thing for your skin…if this is true going to have to even more careful about what I eat. To be honest I feel like if you follow all the advice on what you shouldn’t eat all your left with is a few vegetables ( especially since I try to avoid meat and dairy anyway). Ugh.

this might be a stupid question, but are the foods which the oils come from supposed to be harmful too? I’ve always thought things like avocados and almonds were some of the healthiest foods you could eat…

anyway, thanks for the post, it’s best to know even if it’s not necessarily a truth we want to hear! These skin nutrition posts are my favourite, people focus wayyy too much on what they put on their skin while ignoring what they put in their bodies.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 4:13 pm

Great questions! As far as what to eat, Dr. Peat actually doesn’t recommend most vegetables (i.e. the leafy green kind) as they’re not nutrient dense and contain a lot of defensive toxins. This article explains that better: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/vegetables.shtml

He is a big advocate of dairy, shellfish and gelatin as protein sources, as well as small amounts of beef and white fish. Fruit is a great carb source and better than starches. Potatoes, rice and masa harina are ok but Dr. Peat considers all gluten toxic to everyone – some just tolerate it better than others. I replaced all the pasta and bread I used to eat with tons and tons of fruit, and feel much better.

It’s important to avoid natural food sources of PUFAs, too, eg. avocados, nuts and fatty fish like salmon. In the article I linked, he says avocados “contain so much unsaturated fat that they can be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic.”

I know it’s a huge 180 from everything we’ve been told, and a ton of info to digest (ha), but the more I research and experience changes in myself, the more I think Dr. Peat is correct. He’s also not trying to sell anything, unlike all the other health experts out there…

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taous
Monday, March 17/2014 at 3:06 pm

Hi Beauty Editor,

I was browsing blogs to get beauty-tis and info and this post reallllly shocked me:

1- Dont you see the huge ethical issue of talking people into such drastic and controversial statements (Dr Peat is very well known for using scientific studies issued before the 50′s and mostly on rats exp. and those studies have been debunked since…) NUTRITION is a HEALTH issue and therefore, aiming for ”beauty and youth” doesn’t give you the authority to diffuse and encourrage any nutritionnal behaviour….I think that its a matter of INTELLECTUAL HONESTY here, can you really give your readers the wide Spectrum of counter-studies to what Dr.Peat states so that they can form a really informed choice? This is Why I

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, March 17/2014 at 4:56 pm

Hi Taous, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m not sure what you’re getting at re: intellectual dishonesty. What makes a study conducted before the 1950s invalid? Just because it’s not a recent study does that make it automatically wrong? Have you checked your sources on who is doing the “debunking” and what their motivations are? Also, have you considered that just because a “fact” gets repeated over and over again, that doesn’t make it true if it was incorrect to begin with?

As for me writing about health – if you read this blog for a while, you would know that I’ve always felt health and beauty are closely connected. Health IS beauty. Especially when it comes to the appearance of your skin. I’ve never pretended to be an authority; I simply share what I think and what I’m doing in my own life.

(Also, by the way, this is a blog… blogs are opinion-based and not really a place where you carefully present both sides of every subject. Besides, you can find the mainstream view of PUFA oils all over the internet.)

Regarding “counter-studies” – there will ALWAYS be studies that say opposing things. We could play that game for the rest of time. The point here is to expose people to new information, which you can go read more about and then make the decision for yourself. If you choose to keep eating omega-3s or whatever, it doesn’t bother me. All the best!

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amy
Friday, July 18/2014 at 10:32 pm

“this is a blog… blogs are opinion-based and not really a place where you carefully present both sides of every subject”

uh…what? is that really your position after posting a lengthy article titled “the REAL cause of skin aging” with lines like “no joke guys, this is serious stuff”?

i just…wow. that’s really something. incredibly disappointing to discover that you don’t find it necessary to hold your site to a higher standard. fortunately there are so many other sites and blogs out there that take a much more responsible position when treading beyond surface beauty into the holistic health arena, especially when representing themselves as an experienced professional rather than an average consumer.

Laura Andersen
Monday, February 17/2014 at 3:50 pm

This is the wildest bullshit I’ve ever read. Sun is not the reason of age pigmentation? That’s downright false!

This post is honestly a disgrace for your otherwise amazing blog.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 4:52 pm

Well, I don’t think it’s bullshit. Instead of dismissing it, you’re welcome to read more – I linked to my sources for this information and Dr. Peat’s articles all cite the direct scientific studies that you can look up on PubMed. To reiterate, I’m not (nor is Dr. Peat) advocating sun exposure. In case you missed the quote I included in my article above, he says it’s “important to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet light.” However, the presence of polyunsaturated fats in your tissues will *accelerate* the sun’s harmful effects, whereas saturated fats are protective. Lipofuscin or age pigment is made up of oxidized unsaturated oils and iron accumulation. There is some more info on age pigment here: http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2012/04/23/unsaturated-fats-and-age-pigment/

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olivia
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:12 pm

it may seem counter intuitive because of all we’d been told, but michelle isn’t just making things up! There are lots of legit journal studies to back this up .. do some research before you discount it.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:35 pm

Thanks :) It really is mind-blowing when you start researching this stuff, and realize how many things we’re taught are “healthy” are actually the opposite, thanks to corporate interests and corruption. So, I encourage everyone not to take my word for it – it’s important to do more reading, check all sources and practise self-experimentation. After a year of eating this way to boost my metabolism, I’ve noticed a lot of improvements so I know it’s not just BS.

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Julien
Saturday, April 26/2014 at 4:37 pm

I love Ray Peat, and do so well on his protocol…. maybe you can write about his Red Light therapy suggestions? I’d love more info on that too. Love Nutrisorb A. I do feel like a traitor walking around whole foods with Cheese and fruit, and fruit, and more fruit in my cart. And chicken feet, and bones, for bone broth… :)

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taous
Monday, March 17/2014 at 3:09 pm

LEGIT ??? please state your sources…Ask any M.D about the role of OMEGA3 ….Is this blog really the place to incite people on HEALTH matters??

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, March 17/2014 at 5:03 pm

Did you not click on any of the links? You’ll find much more detailed information there as well as many many studies.

That should also explain why I don’t choose to get my nutritional info from MDs… haha! That made me laugh, thank you :)

I responded to your other comment above re: the connection between health and beauty. Personally I believe beauty comes from within (sleep, happiness, nutrition, how you take care of yourself) and not whatever makeup/hairstyle you’re wearing… although those are very fun too!

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Eruditus
Sunday, March 30/2014 at 10:33 am

Why is your primary concern Omega-3? Are you aware, Taous, that excess consumption of Omega-3′s and lack of the FULL SPECTRUM of the Omega fatty acids profile is what is causing a significant portion of the obesity epidemic we are facing. Obesity isn’t about looks. When you factor that the chronically overweight are gaining and maintaining those fatty deposits in the abdominal region, in most cases due to overconsumption and imbalance of Omega-3 or 6′s in the diet (don’t assume all of them are derived from fish and nutritional support — most of it is from GMO soybeans Monsanto synthesized to improve the American diet), and if you truly understand the reason (scientifically) that it is a problem for a human, then you might start to realize what the real issues are here. That is of primary importance. Overconsumption of any vitamin, mineral, etc is an issue. In this case, it is a cause of cardiovascular disease and obesity. Fish oils are excellent when obtained from an actual fish and they represent the full spectrum of Omegas (3,6,9, 11, and other named omegas) and are not overly processed. If you get a fish oil supplement you must be careful about the overprocessing because it removes some of the named Omega 3′s that are naturally occurring and all serve different purposes in the body.

Your real issue should be with the fact that you keep finding yourself on this blog. Michelle Villett is stating her opinion, some people agree, some don’t. We don’t have to agree. If we find benefit, we can come back and read more, if we don’t, we can easily remove her and her blog from our lives — it’s as simple as not returning. The same can be done with anyone or anything you don’t agree with. Cease the interaction and you will stop being so upset when she sets up a situation you don’t agree with. And undermining someone with weak questions and comments that aren’t supported by anything, serves literally no purpose. This is not a forum for debate. Take what you like and leave what you don’t.
Since you don’t agree with what this blog talks about maybe you should find another blog that does or start reading scientific journals, maybe you’ll find the “unbiased,” well-supported scientific information you are so desperately seeking. I wouldn’t turn to someone on the internet, a self-professed non-expert on the subject, giving their opinions on their blog, if I thought that it was not giving me legitimate, supported information to satiate my need and desire for that. It may be worth asking yourself: is this blog for me? Based upon your importunate commentary, I think you’ll find the answer to be a resounding *no*.

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Laura Andersen is DUMB
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 8:11 pm

Laura you are the dumb one here. When will you wake up and stop believing the b.s. you’re fed. I’d love to see how you look. You don’t know shit bitch. Keep eating your salads doused in canola oil.

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J
Monday, February 17/2014 at 4:23 pm

Hmmm, interesting. I have only used coconut oil, butter and EVOO in my cooking and baking for a long time – so I guess I’m good there. I love using oils as natural skin and hair products – what are your thoughts on rose hip seed oil, apricot kernel oil, macadamia oil, neroli and evening primrose oil?
It’s refreshing to hear a different viewpoint on the sun’s effect on the skin. I honestly HATE wearing sunscreen and prefer to wear a hat, stay in the shade, cover up, or slap on sunscreen only if I’m going to be out in strong sunlight for an extended time.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:23 pm

Cool, you are way ahead then if you already use these oils! I feel the same way as you about the sun – I try to sit in the shade instead of frying myself like I did when I was younger :) If I have to be out, I’ll use a mineral (zinc oxide-based) sunscreen all over, and that’s what I’ll usually wear on my face as protection on a day to day basis.

Rosehip oil is high in PUFA (see here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12003323), although I know a lot of people love it because it’s high in vitamin A. I would suggest retinaldehyde or retinol as safer and probably more effective vitamin A alternatives.

Apricot kernel oil comes from the seed and all seeds are PUFAs (http://world-food.net/protective-effect-of-dietary-apricot-kernel-oil-supplementation-on-cholesterol-levels-and-antioxidant-status-of-liver-in-hypercholesteremic-rats/).

Macadamia is actually not bad, it’s a monounsaturated fat (like olive oil) and low PUFA. I think if you ate a lot internally it would make you fat though.

Neroli I’m not sure about. I think it’s probably safe; it’s an essential oil but as far as I know isn’t one of the estrogenic ones (http://e-oils.blogspot.ca/2013/10/estrogen-dominance-and-using-essential.html).

Evening primrose is terrible – high PUFA and estrogenic.

If you like the feel of oils topically, I would suggest jojoba – it’s also supposed to be closest to our own sebum.

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J
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:28 pm

Nooooooooooooooo! Wah! I love all those oils! Oh well, everything in moderation, right?

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kirsty
Monday, February 17/2014 at 4:59 pm

I’m curious what his opinion is on chia seeds. I eat them everyday for a plant source of omega 3

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:31 pm

Chia seeds are 80% PUFA, so he would say to avoid, along with all types of seeds and nuts. I used to eat chia seeds like crazy on advice from my ND, but I don’t anymore… I take a couple tbsps of coconut oil instead. Dr. Peat explains why we don’t need any omega-3 here: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

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Lexie
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:07 pm

Interesting read. I have been wondering about this for a while now – I was taking cod liver oil supplements religiously but recently saw an article about fish oils and prostate cancer in men!! Now, I’m not a dude but I don’t want to touch shiz if it is linked to cancer in anyone!! Great info, thanks for sharing!! I’ll have to read more into it.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:39 pm

I apologize profusely if I was the person encouraging the cod liver oil consumption! I truly do feel badly on that one. Most health nerds (like me) find Dr. Peat after they’ve tried every other nutritional program – I came to him after following the Weston A. Price recommendations, and a lot of people follow Paleo, raw foods and/or veganism before that. While the Weston A. Price people are right on a lot of things, their stance on cod liver oil is now something I totally disagree with, after reading what Dr. Peat had to say. The benefits from the vitamin A in cod liver oil can be had from just eating beef or chicken liver, or taking the Nutrisorb-A supplement.

This is great article on fish oil (including cod liver oil): http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

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Lauren
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:08 pm

I appreciate you sharing all the new lessons you’re learning with us! Although the only oils I currently use in cooking are coconut, evoo, and butter, I am not ready to jump on the bandwagon of avoiding avocado, almonds, and salmon. But I will continue to learn and grow in this area of healthy vs. non-healthy fats!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:49 pm

Awesome! I encourage everyone to read more about this, and the articles I linked are a great place to start. Occasional servings of salmon, avocado and nuts probably aren’t a huge deal but I wouldn’t load up on them several times a week, as people like Dr. Perricone suggest. (His skin isn’t exactly a selling point for his dietary ideas, you know?) If you look up a picture of Ray Peat, he looks absolutely amazing and is in his late 70s.

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kirsty
Monday, February 17/2014 at 5:18 pm

I’m an Australian and over hear an author has released a book that states that all vegetable oils are toxic. This is a link to an interesting article by Australia’s most factual news source debating the claims of his book http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/03/06/3708514.htm
The critics of his book say that yes it is bad to eat lots of vegetable oils and PUFA’s, but that in small amounts and in whole foods, e.g. avocados, they are ok.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 6:33 pm

Interesting – thanks for the link! It’s really great this author is publicizing the harmful effects of PUFA oils (although too bad he’s also anti-sugar). I think the dangers of unsaturated oils will become mainstream knowledge in maybe 20 years… Ray Peat is way ahead of his time.

As for these doctors’ counter-argument, I don’t know – I don’t have enough of a science background to properly debate it all, but I don’t think it’s that convincing. They don’t really explain why PUFA would be ok within a mixture of “protective” components… protective how? I also point out that even the canola industry website describes canola oil as “moderate PUFA” at 22% – http://canolainfo.org/health/index.php.

Also, what’s important with Dr. Peat’s work is that he evaluates the quality of the research itself, which is quite often rigged to have a certain outcome, to serve industry interests. Too bad he wasn’t debating these doctors – Dr. Peat has been researching this stuff for 45 years so I’m sure would have run circles around them!

I think it’s also fair game to look at these people who advocate high-PUFA diets. Dr. Stanton from your link is 68 and has a lot of wrinkles, grey hair, sallow skin – her plant-based diet has to be a factor: http://l.yimg.com/ea/im_siggQhscPzb_M_J3tCw8NGV92A—x480-q80/img/-/120619/dr_rosemary_stanton_17tvsn8-17tvsnb.jpg

Dr. Ray Peat is a decade older and his skin is a great colour, minimal wrinkles/sagging, full head of hair: http://itsrainmakingtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/dr-ray-peat.jpg

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Sara
Monday, February 17/2014 at 7:20 pm

No, that is not fair game – that’s proper bullshit. Not only is that n=2, it’s also plain ignorant since visible aging is influenced by a multitude of factors (a big one is (epi)genetics). Counting their wrinkles is nothing but schoolyard bullying.

Plus at least at first glance i can’ find any articles written by him in a credible, peer-reviewed journal. In science being “anti-establishment” often means being obscure and a website full of citations is obviously targeted at laypeople who have NO WAY of knowing whether what he says is true or whether it’s just quack science. Nodding your head while reading is not how you identify good science . He doesn’t seem to have that many credible scientists behind him but apparently lots and lots of “believers” .

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 7:49 pm

Well, I guess we have different definitions of bullying then :)

Can we agree that outer beauty and inner health are related, at least? When someone is trying to sell me on their health philosophy, which is going to affect not only how I feel but also how I look, I like to educate myself as much as I can and that includes checking out their appearance. Sure, I agree with you that there can be other factors contributing to skin aging, eg. environmental stress (cortisol), but the quality of someone’s skin is not insignificant – just like it would give you pause if the person whose diet advice you were following was severely obese. See what I’m saying?

Dr. Perricone (high PUFA) is probably the best example: http://images.amazon.com/images/G/01/books/a-plus/perricone.jpg You would think he’d look fantastic since he claims his diet is going to ward off the signs of aging. Another example is the primarily vegan Gillian McKeith: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Admin/BkFill/Default_image_group/2010/11/19/1290189075520/Im-A-Celebrity…Get-Me-O-005.jpg Compare her to Nigella who is the same age: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Nigella2.jpg

I’m not sure what the issue is around Dr. Peat’s credibility? If you go to his site, you can look up all the original studies he’s basing his conclusions on, as well as his bio – http://raypeat.com/about.shtml He’s an endocrine physiologist, not conducting the research himself. Plus, he’s written extensively about the commercially motivated fraud in medicine over the last 50+ years… so not surprising the mainstream isn’t behind him (yet). Just go to Dr. Peat’s site and try to buy something… you can’t. How many other health experts are like that that you know of?

At any rate, I find the information he presents alarming enough to share it here, and in a year of self-experimentation I’ve personally experienced beneficial results. Take it or leave it :)

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Meredith
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 12:26 pm

I agree with Sara that pointing to their photos as evidence of superior diet is nonsense. It’s reminiscent of a meme I saw comparing Nigella Lawson’s photo to Gillian McKeith’s, to prove that Nigella’s more indulgent diet of sweets and fats was superior to Gillian’s vegetarian one. Of the two, Nigella is clearly the more beautiful woman, but not because of her diet. For example, Christie Brinkley outshines both by several measures (we all have our own aesthetic tastes, of course) and her diet is very similar to Gillian’s.

It is a matter of fact that there are beautiful, healthy people who eat a wide variety of foods, and those who do everything right but have the genetic deck stacked against them. We all do our best. It is difficult to judge a book by its cover – that’s why it’s so often dissuaded.

kate
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 5:36 pm

I also agree that basing how peoples miracle diets are working on what they look like is not viable. Similarly your example of pausing at an obese persons diet advice is unfair as well. They could be eating perfectly healthy and perhaps they might even follow Dr Peat’s diet for all anyone knows. There are a vast variety of reasons that people look the way they do and most of those are uncontrollable and related to genes.

There are so many articles being released daily telling people what to eat and what they must avoid that it’s utterly ridiculous, people are left with nothing but confusion. In a year I’m sure some new miracle diet will be they only way for us to be the most glorious and shiny version of ourselves and this one will be forgotten, that’s just how it works in this day and age.

Diet is such a personal choice and there is no one size fits all. The sheer volume of different diets out there proves that. I will not be scared into avoiding broccoli and avocado, if it’s working for someone else that’s great but it should not be spoken of as the only proper way to live.

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 9:48 pm

Meredith, how do you know it’s not because of their diets though? Why wouldn’t diet be a very significant factor? People who aren’t getting enough protein and other nutrients have poor skin quality. My understanding is that Christie Brinkley is vegetarian and Gillian McKeith is vegan. So Christie would at least be getting higher quality protein and calcium from dairy and eggs.

It’s not judgement (I don’t really care what they look like), but I do care when it could affect me – as Gillian and others actively try to sell the public on a certain way of eating. I think their appearance is something to be aware of.

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 9:58 pm

Kate, my point is just that nutrition affects your appearance way more than people give it credit for, and that we should question all these experts, like Perricone, Weil, Oz, etc., who claim they’re going to ward off aging with their omega-3 heavy diets. That’s the real nonsense going on.

I agree that there’s an enormous amount of confusion with all the silly diets out there. I was confused for years. That’s the reason I only trust Dr. Peat now – he has been researching nutrition for 45 years, he doesn’t have a “diet” and he isn’t selling a damn thing.

I’m not trying at all to “scare” anyone into doing whatever… but I do urge you to read his stuff, it’s real science and extremely enlightening.

Meredith
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:17 pm

I’ve read that both eat mostly vegetarian to vegan diets, depending on the interview. Funnily enough, I did happen to see Gillian eat a slice of cheese pizza when I visited NYC. My only celebrity sighting that trip. Either way, she seems like the type to track her protein consumption to make sure it’s adequate.

I too tried vegetarianism and veganism – *neither* made me look like Christie Brinkley, so I gave up ;-)

kate
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 11:12 pm

Oh no I didn’t mean you personally were scaring people…I should apologize if I came off to harsh I didn’t mean to. What I meant by that was that I have an eating disorder and I personally can enjoy and eat vegetables and leafy greens, they are my safe food so to hear they are harmful to my health is a bit scary . That’s also probably why I feel strongly that someones health should not be judged based on appearance.

I actually love learning about different diets so this was an interesting read overall even though the restrictiveness of it slightly triggered me (which made me write a comment without thinking it through) To be honest I really enjoy fruit but have recently been scared to eat it. Reading that it was approved gave me the courage to have 8 blueberries and some applesauce for dinner yesterday :D

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 4:48 pm

Christie Brinkley does look amazing, but has obviously had a lot of help from fillers… I don’t know, maybe she’s even had plastic surgery.

Anyway, this sort of got blown out of proportion – I don’t advocate choosing what to eat solely based on some celebrity’s appearance (I doubt any of them follow Ray Peat anyway). I do find a huge disconnect with Perricone, who is one of the biggest advocates for PUFAs, and his very aged-looking skin.

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:09 pm

No worries Kate. I’m not coming from a place of judgment – it’s more that I believe beauty comes from the inside out. We’re encouraged so much nowadays to just apply some cream or makeup, but those only go so far. I think how you take care of yourself (diet, sleep, stress levels) shows all over your face… but not many people in the beauty world talk about that.

I don’t know if Ray Peat has written about anorexia specifically, but I’m confident his suggestions could help you a lot. A big part of his framework is optimizing metabolism (thyroid function) while reducing harmful estrogen. There is actually a great thread here with some advice from other Ray Peat followers to a girl in a similar situation as you: http://peatarian.com/30041/hypothyroid-teen-can-not-lose-weight. I love Jennifer’s advice in particular. Have you measured your temperature and pulse to see if you are low thyroid?

Oh, and just to clarify, Ray Peat does not have a “diet”. He just educates you on the biochemical effects of different foods, so you can make choices. This is the least restrictive way of eating I’ve ever tried.

Kate
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 6:51 pm

Thank you so much Michelle I really appreciate you going to the trouble of gathering that information for me. I haven’t checked for thyroids I’ll have to learn how to do that. I do agree that stress and sleep ect. can effect how you look, it’s nice to know we don’t need to be buying 400$ creams to help with aging. :)

Harriet
Saturday, March 22/2014 at 1:39 am

Oh, Dear God!! Really Michelle?? This aging scientist looks better than that aging scientist therefor the younger appearing one is more credible? Being in the beauty industry surely you know about photoshop and plastic surgery, hair replacement, cosmetics. Feel sad for you wasting your time on such idiotic jibberish.

SR
Wednesday, July 2/2014 at 2:42 am

Don’t forget genetics play a role in how people age. So part of the way our skin looks we really have no control over. As a side note, I live in California, giving up avocados is not an option.

Marcela P.
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 7:06 pm

Sara, I agree with you. Where are the counter arguments? That’s sounds so radical and shallow.. I don’t like articles that don’t show all the sides of the question, trying to manipulate instead of giving arguments to helps us create our own opinion. Just saying.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:03 pm

Radical and shallow? Really? Haha. I’m presenting a different point of view (and links to actual scientific research) versus the mainstream take on polyunsaturated fats, which everyone knows already, and can be found all over the internet. How you concluded that I’m manipulating you, I can’t imagine.

Laura
Monday, February 17/2014 at 7:08 pm

I was hoping you would do a more detailed write up on this after leaving us hanging in your previous posts, so thank you!

You were the first one to bring the PUFA thing to my attention. I did my own digging around so as to not just take your/Ray Peat’s word for it, and I really think you’re on to something. I wrote my own blog post on it, but yours is obviously much better :-) http://www.rosestopalms.com/2014/01/PUFAs-in-skin-care-oils-safe-list.html

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 9:35 pm

^ Everyone check out Laura’s article, she has some more great info on this subject, as well as fantastic charts showing PUFA/MUFA content of the most popular oils. Thanks Laura!

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Laura
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:18 pm

Oh wow, thank you!

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Keirele
Monday, February 17/2014 at 9:36 pm

I have Crohns disease, which for me means watching what I eat really carefully. What I’ve learned is that many ingredients are both good for you (in moderation) and bad for you (in excess). EVOO is a tricky one for other reasons: because of the corruption that exists in the industry it’s tough to be 100% sure what you’re getting is actually olive oil. I will add that since I started eating gelatine (I mix it with coconut milk and chill to make homemade jello) my skin has really cleared up and plumped up.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:25 pm

Ahh isn’t gelatin amazing?! I order mine from Great Lakes and do the homemade jello thing as well – or I make it more concentrated so it’s more like jelly squares. I do juice, coffee, chocolate, milk…

Interesting about the corruption in the olive oil industry. Is that true of the extra-virgin kind, even? How do you ensure you’re getting the real thing?

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Keirele
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:34 pm

I buy Great Lakes too! I usually don’t tell people how often I eat it, because it grosses people out!
This is a good background of the industry’s problems:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/02/the-exchange-tom-mueller.html
The author has made it his “thing” to research olive oils and has a good list here. Luckily, many are easy to find at grocery stores:
http://www.extravirginity.com/2012/09/toms-supermarket-picks-quality-oils-good-prices

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Julia
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 11:53 am

cool, thank you for this link! I LOVE olive oil so i want to make sure I’m buying the real stuff!

Also, thank you Michelle for a very informative article.. I am opening my mind to new ways of eating.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:07 pm

You’re so welcome Julia! That’s exactly what I hoped for with this discussion – just letting you guys know about a new perspective I discovered :)

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:05 pm

Thanks for the olive oil links Keirele, I will read!

And haha, I don’t mention gelatin too often either, as so many people have a heart attack when I say what I’m eating. But it is the bomb! I think I’ll do a post on it. It’s a great skin food for sure.

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Johanna
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:10 pm

While I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea to be EATING polyunsaturated fats, what it does when it actually just goes ON OUR SKIN is a different matter entirely – just read the following: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22995032

“Sunflower seed oil preserved stratum corneum integrity, did not cause erythema, and improved hydration in the same volunteers. In contrast to sunflower seed oil, topical treatment with olive oil significantly damages the skin barrier, and therefore has the potential to promote the development of, and exacerbate existing, atopic dermatitis. ”

And here is another highly interesting study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2936775

“Acne patients have also been shown to have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin surface lipids.” (Linoleic acid = polyunsaturated fatty acids)

I don’t really think it’s a good idea for someone running a beauty web site to make such claims regarding BOTH outer AND inner health without having a proper medical/biochemical/dermatological background. Besides, quoting just one so-called “expert” on the matter without reaching out to different ones with opposing views doesn’t seem like very good journalism if you ask me.

And also… Coconut oil and olive oil, for example, are actually regarded as vegetable oils as well, so forgive me if I don’t give very much for any other possible background research behind this particular article.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:49 pm

Thanks for the comment – I do agree with you if about objectivity if this was a magazine or a newspaper :) But it’s a blog and therefore (like all blogs), it’s opinion-based. I write about what interests me instead of presenting the pros and cons for every subject. Besides, I think we are all very familiar with the arguments for fish oil, omega-3s, essential fatty acids, etc. What Ray Peat brings to the table is something most people haven’t heard before. If you’re at all interested in preventing skin aging, it’s worth paying attention.

Yes, I was told by a dermatologist I interviewed for an upcoming magazine article that olive oil can cause contact dermatitis in some sensitive-skinned individuals. I’m not convinced from that study that we need to be seeking out sunflower oil as a topical, though. I don’t doubt that it could help the skin barrier and aid hydration, but you could get the same benefits from other, non-PUFA ingredients.

As for acne, Ray Peat writes about that too and believes it’s a low thyroid and/or low vitamin A issue. From studying his research and experimenting on myself, I agree with him. There are also many testimonials online. He doesn’t buy into the theory that linoleic acid (EFA) is “essential.”

When I say “vegetable oil” I mean the kind like this: http://www.crisco.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?GroupID=15&ProdID=303 Vegetable oil is on the label but the ingredient is soybean oil. I imagine you can find other PUFA oils under the broad “vegetable oil” term on other labels. Olive oil and coconut oil, as you know if you read the article, are totally different substances.

I hear your concerns about me saying these things without a medical background. Fair enough. What I’ve learned from reading Dr. Peat’s articles, however, is that studies can be biased and people with loads of important credentials behind their names aren’t necessarily right. I think it’s important to have an open mind about nutrition, and how it relates to beauty. Personally I am very inspired that we can ward off aging through diet and not a bunch of expensive creams…

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Johanna
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 7:49 am

I do see your point in all this, though I’m simply not convinced it is all as simple as you make it out to be; what goes in our body doesn’t necessarily affect us the same way when applied topically (sugar scrubs are amazing, for example!).

Thanks for really taking the time to reply, and I do have to say it’s great that more and more beauty bloggers are actually admitting that there is an obvious link between diet and skin health, and, like you say it IS very inspiring to realise that WE can ward of aging ourselves, without a bunch of expensive (and also often chemical laiden) products!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:11 pm

Oh! Sugar isn’t bad actually. Haha – that’s another mind-blowing one from Dr. Peat that I’ll have to do another post about. I switched from eating starches for carbs to eating simple sugars (fruits mostly but I do eat white sugar and honey) and I feel so much better. It really helps if you have food sensitivities.

Glad you agree on the product thing. I feel like skincare products work on me but only to a point…. if I don’t get my sleep and I’m not eating well, it shows on my face no matter what.

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klara
Friday, February 21/2014 at 2:17 am

Sugar is not bad? Hmm… Have you read “The Grain Brain” by Dr. Perlmutter? I’d take wrinkly face over dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease any day. At least both doctors seem to agree that saturated fats are not the enemy.

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 5:30 pm

Well the good news is, you don’t have to choose :) This would be interesting reading for you: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/glycemia.shtml I agree there are problems with some starches, but the glycemic index is pretty much worthless.

Wendy R
Monday, February 17/2014 at 10:37 pm

Thanks for the interesting article on Oils. I am a bit confused about the Hemp Oil being on your avoid list. Jonny Bowden has actually said in article that he highly recommends Hemp Oil as the most balanced of all oils for the human body.
Also noted that you mentioned that PUFA’s slow down Thyroid metabolism. As I have just been diagnosed with Graves Disease, the last thing I want is my over-active thyroid to speed up even more.
Your recommend coconut oil to increase metabolism. What would slow mine down, except lots of meds?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:25 pm

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I think Ray Peat’s articles could be really helpful for you – he’s an expert in thyroid. (I have low thyroid and his suggestions helped me where years of going to naturopaths did not.) The way he puts things is so positive too – unlike the doomsday scenarios you get from MDs and even NDs, where you feel like something is seriously wrong with you.

He mentioned Graves in this interview: http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/ray-peat.htm. He thinks it can be a low thyroid issue not overactive thyroid, so I would start measuring your temperature and pulse. His articles on thyroid are fantastic: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/hypothyroidism.shtml, http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/thyroid.shtml

As for hemp oil, it’s high PUFA. Jonny Bowden is recommending it for the omegas right? If you are hypo, it’s even more important to avoid consuming it, as it will suppress thyroid function even further.

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Kelly
Monday, February 17/2014 at 11:39 pm

I’ve just raided my beauty draw & found these ingredients in my favourite products – Camellia Oil (Camellia Oleifera), Argania spinosa (argan) oil, Hippophae rhamnoides L. (seabuckthorn seed) oil, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, and Hippophae rhamnoides L. (seabuckthorn) fruit oil. A quick Google reveals they’re all PUFA-laden. Sob! But thank you! Looking forward to your follow-up product-recommendation post.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:27 pm

Ah sorry! I’ll do some more research – some of the essential oils may be ok. Although the other problem is they’re often estrogenic :(
I’ll report back!

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Lena
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 11:12 pm

there’s nothing wrong with using camellia or camellia seed oil on your face. it’s been used in East Asian skincare for ages, including Japanese geisha who are known for have amazing skin ~ young and old.

my grandma’s almost ninety (she just turned eighty-nine November ’13), and she used to use camellia seed oil all the time (she only stopped because her favourite brand got discontinued, and she refuses to try another brand ~ she’s a traditionalist, what can you do?), and her skin is so smooth and line free for her age. she always gets mistaken for younger than she actually is. granted, genetics probably plays a big role (and hopefully, i will have inherited these genes), but i’m sure the camellia seed oil helped too.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:11 pm

This site says camellia seed oil is primarily monounsaturated: http://nutritionovereasy.com/2013/11/something-new-for-your-pantry-tea-seed-oil/ So that makes perfect sense, it’s not PUFA! :)

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Kate
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 12:47 am

Dear Michelle,

I am sure I am not alone in my interest in you creating your own Instagram/Facebook/media account so we can follow your Ray Peat discoveries and how you incorporate them into your life. I too am loving his work and have converted all my dietary starches into fruit. I’m trying to recover from adult acne (I am now 25) and am looking into getting blood tests done to check out my thyroid functioning.

Keep up spreading the word!

Thanks :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 10:32 pm

Oh yay another Ray Peat person! I’m so glad we connected and that you understand me here :) I do update the @beautyeditor Instagram and Facebook accounts myself, so I can definitely share more there. My plan is to keep going with these types of posts each week on different aspects of Ray Peat’s work – as I truly believe you can’t talk about beauty without talking about health. I was thinking of doing future posts on gelatin, sugar, salt, estrogen, acne, etc.

Oh and speaking of acne – as I’m sure you know, blood tests are notoriously inaccurate for measuring thyroid function. Mine are always off. I think they’re useful for measuring TSH, but not whether you’re hypothyroid. Morning temperatures and pulse are the best way – do you measure those? And do you eat liver for the vitamin A? Oysters for zinc?

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Susana Figueiredo
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 3:53 am

It would be great if you wrote more about the influence of our diet in our skin :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:13 pm

That’s the plan! This post seems to have generated a lot of interest, so stay tuned :)

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at
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 4:03 am

What do you think about castor oil for topical application? I’ve had brilliant luck with it along with jojoba oil, so I would hate to ditch the castor. I mean people have been using it topically and orally for millennias with excellent results. Of course if I didn’t have amazing results with castor, I would ditch it in a heartbeat.

Also as far as fermented cod liver oil goes, again, people have seen awesome results when ingested for many, many years. I mean Google has sooo many people clamoring about its benefits even now. Acne has disappeared and many other benefits have been reported (going by anecdotes on this one, I was about to buy it until I saw the articles).

Another thing I was thinking about was when they do research on chemicals like pufa or epa or dha, do they test them after isolating them or as a whole. If they are isolating them then harsh isolatingmethods can make them more susceptible to oxidation etc if heat, or other chemicals were used to separate them. May be if they were to test things in the natural form, they would come up with different results?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:19 pm

Castor oil is monounsaturated so it’s not PUFA. However, I found this anecdote:

“Dont use it. It seems to promote inflammatory pathways by activating PGE “receptors”. NEVER use it under your eyes unless you want it to get trapped there and cause irritation for years (thats the mechanism behind the “scar remodeling” effects of castor oil). Somewhere on a forum I read a story of a woman who had to drain it surgically from her eyebags.”

Super-scary! I’m going to try and find the original source for that.

The reason people have results from cod liver oil is because of the vitamin A. Not sure if you saw this post, but I now think it’s safer to get vitamin A from either liver (a serving once a week is fine) or Nutrisorb-A: http://beautyeditor.ca/2013/10/29/vitamin-a-for-acne/

This is a good article that goes over all the EPA, DHA, PUFA and fish oil research: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

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Olesya
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 4:53 am

Dear Michelle,

If you dont mind – what brands of coconut oil have you tried so far? Nutiva, Now Foods, Garden of life, etc? I was considering Nutiva’s 1.6 liter can, but was worried about packaging (is plastic safe??) and expiration date.

Thank you!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:26 pm

Good question about the plastic – Ray Peat has said that glass jars are best, although I usually just buy whatever is cheaper.

I think the main thing to take into account when choosing a brand is whether or not it’s allergenic for you. On the whole, virgin coconut oil is more allergenic than the refined kind. (Once you start eliminating PUFA, your immune system will be less suppressed and you may notice you react to more things.) I use Nutiva for my body lotion and sometimes if I’m baking (but not from the same jar :)), where the coconut taste doesn’t matter. I haven’t noticed any problems so far but I don’t really eat it that often.

For refined coconut oil I use Spectrum, which is pretty widely available in Canada, and is in a glass jar. Another brand I’ve seen a lot is Omega Nutrition but that’s plastic. I tend to use the refined the most on a daily basis. I have heard some people got reactions the Spectrum brand, but I’ve never had problems with it (or Omega) and I have quite a few food allergies.

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Susana Figueiredo
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 8:42 am

Many thanks for this post, Michelle. I love it! Very informative! I’ll be waiting for your top PUFA-free product suggestions :)

In regard of diet, what you usually eat? What do you recommend to eat, on a daily basis, for healthy skin?

Thanks,
Susana

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:33 pm

I eat dairy, fruit and gelatin mostly, with small amounts of shellfish, white fish and liver (yuck). Milk, cheese, ice cream, eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice, melons, berries (although they have a bit of PUFA), cooked apples/pears, coconut oil, butter, carrots (grated and rinsed), beets, homemade jello, oysters, chicken liver pate, homemade chicken broth. I also starting drinking Coke (the kind with real sugar) and coffee, for the health benefits. I’ll have potatoes, rice or masa harina (corn flour) tortillas occasionally, but I’m trying to cut out starch as it aggravates allergies. I stopped eating bread, pasta and salads :)

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Susana Figueiredo
Friday, February 21/2014 at 3:27 am

Many thanks for your answer :)

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nikki
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 11:18 am

Great information! I too use coconut oil as a moisturizer, have for years( when I was pregnant this is all I used and have never looked back-did not get one stretch mark) Some of the harmful oils on your list are a surprise but it makes total sense. I’ve managed to cut pretty much all processed foods out of my diet and only use Consonant products (HydrExtreme I love you). I have definitely noticed a difference in my skin over the years. Would love to see more posts like this.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:48 pm

Ahh we are beauty twins! That’s amazing about the coconut oil preventing stretch marks. And how great is HydrExtreme?? I need to ask Consonant about the cassia extract – since it’s a seed oil, I would have thought it’s a PUFA, but there are studies saying it slows down the oxidation process.

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Shar
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 12:11 pm

What about using Emu Oil? I know it’s poultry and that has PUFAs, but I know a woman who creates local soaps and lotions and she uses Emu Oil liberally in her creams.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:49 pm

Looks like it’s mostly monounsaturated, with equal amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated: http://www.uniquelyemu.com/emu-oil-research-7.htm Probably ok.

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Sarah
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 1:20 pm

Hi Michelle,

I love your blog and in particular really enjoy these sorts of alternative health-based posts!

What are your thoughts on emu oil? Given that it comes from an animal, I would imagine that it is a form of saturated fat but I can’t find any information on its PUFA content.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 5:50 pm

Glad you enjoy these Sarah – I’ll do more! See my response to Shar above re: emu oil.

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PCC
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 1:32 pm

If fish oils are such a terror, then why do Japanese women have some of the most glorious skin on the planet? As well as living well in their 90s in great health?

Is it because they eat A LOT of fish + stay out of the sun? Hmmm…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 5:34 pm

Great question. Somebody asked Ray Peat about this and this was his reply:

You are probably referring to the Willcox and Suzuki publications about Okinawa. Similar methods can distort the Masai situation, in the opposite direction. Japan has had a very low infant mortality rate, and Okinawa has encouraged emigration. A society’s infant mortality is usually the biggest factor in its “longevity” or life expectancy, i.e., the average length of life. The older people in a population are the least likely to emigrate, so emigration increases the average age of a population.

Willcox’s and Suzuki’s statements about Okinawa’s longevity rank are no longer valid, but in their publications they talked about the high number of centenarians per 100,000 population, but weren’t clear about exactly when the cited centenarians were alive.

Since the 1940s, immigration from Europe has displaced the Masai from their traditional areas, causing great poverty and extremely high infant mortality, and vegetables now form the largest part of the diet for most of their population.

As Okinawa gradually recovered from post-war devastation, its government implemented another emigration policy, citing overpopulation as one of the major reasons. Following the war, the government of the Ryukyu Islands vigorously promoted overseas emigration under the direction of the U.S., and the Okinawa Overseas Association was reestablished in 1948 as a result. It should be noted that the first post-war group of 33 emigrants departed for Argentina and one to Peru this year. In 1954 a group of 278 emigrants was sent to Bolivia as part of the government’s emigration plan. In the next 10 years, until 1964, more than 3,200 Okinawans emigrated to Bolivia and the government even established a subsidy program for the emigrants. This emigration policy continued until 1973, the year following Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese administration.

http://rca.open.ed.jp/web_e/city-2001/emigration-e/cont/e_4_tf.html

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2008 Oct;20 Suppl:95-101.
Declining longevity advantage and low birthweight in Okinawa.
Hokama T, Binns C.
Graduate School of Health Sciences, University of the Ryukyus, 207, Uehara, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan 903-0215. b987390@med.u-ryukyu.ac.jp
The prefecture of Okinawa is known for the longevity of its population, for 30 years it had the longest life expectancy of all prefectures in Japan. However this advantage was lost in 2000 and male longevity is now ranked 26th among the 47 prefectures of Japan. The aim of this study was to explore whether the recent decline in Okinawan life expectancy advantage is due to the cohort effect of low birthweight infants becoming middle- and older- aged Okinawans. This is an observational study using existing demographic and health statistics. Data on life expectancy, mortality and low birthweight rates were obtained from the Okinawan Prefectural Department of Health and Welfare and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In the year 2000 the longevity advantage of Okinawan males over the Japanese mainland was lost and the relative life expectancy of females declines. The mortality ratio for heart disease has reversed showing a cohort effect, with younger Okinawans having higher death rates than those living in the rest of Japan. The low birthweight rate for Okinawa is 20% greater than mainland Japan. As the post World War cohort of low birthweight infants reaches middle age, the longevity advantage of Okinawans has been lost. The loss of the longevity advantage of Okinawa over the rest of Japan may be due to the increase in non-communicable disease in the post war cohort that has experienced a higher low birthweight rate.

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2012 Jul 11.
Progress in Infant Health in Okinawa, Japan.
Hokama T, Binns C.
University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) and neonatal mortality rate (NMR) defined as the number of infant and newborn deaths per 1000 live births, respectively, are widely accepted as population indicators of the level of perinatal and postnatal health. Since the end of World War II, Japan has made substantial progress in reducing its IMR and NMR. This resulted from improving living standards and the provision of universal maternal and child health care (MCH) services. Okinawa, the island prefecture that is the furthest from mainland Japan, had the third highest IMR and the highest low-birth-weight rate (LBW) among all prefectures when its statistics were integrated into Japan in 1973. Even though the LBW rate in Okinawa has remained higher than the all-Japan average, Okinawa has shown a considerable improvement in IMR and NMR. The aim is to review the trends in IMR, NMR, and LBW in Japan and Okinawa and to discuss sociodemographic trends, economics, and the provision of health care services. The IMR and NMR in Okinawa decreased during that time from 14.8 to 2.4 and from 7.5 to 0.8, respectively. The LBW rate decreased until the mid-1980s, but since then it has increased to 11.5 (Okinawa) and 9.6 (Japan) in 2009. Okinawa’s public health and primary health care model for infants has been very successful and may be applicable to child health in island nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

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Laura
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 2:06 pm

I’m not sure I’m sold yet, but I’m open to researching more. I agree that saturated fats are a very important part of our diet, and I’m glad we’re being encouraged to eat more of them. I put coconut oil in my oatmeal every morning, and I’ve recently started substituting grass fed butter for olive oil once in awhile.
Re: the pictures you’ve shown of vegans aging vs. people who eat more saturated fats: I dunno, there could be a lot of factors in that. Some older vegans grew up in the time where it was also “healthy” to eat a very low fat diet, so that could be a factor. And a lot of vegans probably use more “natural” skin care products that aren’t quite as effective. And vegans are also often thinner than other people, which may contribute to skin sagging. But my mom is a vegan, and eats a ton of nuts and olive oil and stuff and has beautiful skin. Maybe the difference is that non-vegans just end up eating a lot more fat in general, and if vegans just ate the same amount of fat from vegan sources, they would have similar results.
Also, from this post, I’m having trouble separating the risks of all PUFA’s vs the risks of RANCID PUFA’s. I understand that PUFA’s are more prone to rancidity than other fats, but does that necessarily mean that un-rancid PUFA’s are much worse than other fats? Butter can also become rancid – what happens then? And don’t forget that many of the oils you mentioned, such as almond oil, also contain lots of antioxidants, such as vitamin E. What role does that play?
I’m not sure about the idea of fats becoming “rancid” inside the body, just as I’m not sure about the benefits of eating gelatin. Gelatin is composed of the same amino acids as other kinds of proteins, just in a different grouping. All amino acids get broken down in the body and then transformed into the substances we need. It’s not like collagen from gelatin goes directly to our faces or something – it gets broken down first, and then our collagen is made. From what I’ve read, other substances, like Vitamin C, contribute more to our collagen production. Likewise, I’m not convinced that the breaking down of fats in our body is the same as the rancidity process of a fat just sitting on a shelf exposed to light and heat. Where in our body does the fat become rancid? Does butter also become rancid in our body?
Like I said, I incorporate a lot of saturated fats in my diet and I believe they are healthy for you. But I don’t see glaring evidence that nuts or fish are bad for you…. Look at all the people in the world who eat fish and look fantastic and live a long time! Or look at the Seventh Day Adventists who eat lots of nuts and live forever. It just doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m suspicious of any diet that says that things humans have been eating for thousands of years are bad for us.

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Keirele
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 2:32 pm

Just stepping in on the gelatin bit — of course it doesn’t go directly to your face! It’s simply that your health shows in your appearance. What the body needs to is unique to each individual. I know this well because my digestive disorder means that I can experience malabsorption of nutrients. When I do, my skin most certainly suffers (along with the rest of my body, obviously). Gelatin is useful because it’s easily digested, unlike many vitamin C sources.
Honestly? Just eat a wide variety of nutrient dense foods that you enjoy. A healthy attitude towards food is as important for your wellbeing as what’s on your plate.

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Laura
Monday, February 24/2014 at 10:08 am

Sorry, not to harp, but I think you missed my point about the gelatin. I know gelatin has a lot of healthful properties, and I have heard that it is good for digestion, and of course proper digestion and nutrient absorption contribute to overall health and beauty. But eating gelatin itself (even thought it contains collagen) does not contribute to collagen production inside the human body any better than any other protein. When we eat the collagen in gelatin, it gets broken down into amino acids, just like any other protein. Vitamin C is what helps our bodies to make our own collagen. Vitamin C and gelatin aren’t both “sources” of collagen. I only bring this up because gelatin was mentioned earlier in the comment thread, and I think it relates to confusion over how ingredients (like PUFA’s) behave inside our body.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:19 pm

I don’t think anyone was saying that gelatin goes directly to your face? It has many more benefits than other protein sources, hence why there are so many testimonials about its effects on appearance. Again, suggesting this article: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:14 pm

Well said Laura! It’s so important not to get stressed out and neurotic about food. There is a writer who mentions Ray Peat a lot, Matt Stone at 180 Degree Health, and he has talked about taking a month or two for “resting and re-feeding” (i.e. eating whatever you enjoy and not stressing yourself out about it) to help reset your metabolism after a long period of restrictive eating. The idea is that you can’t lose weight to be healthy – you have to be healthy first before you can lose weight. Metabolism (thyroid function) is a huge part of that.

The problem is most of us haven’t a clue what is nutrient-dense and what isn’t, with all the noise out there (I know I didn’t). Ray Peat provides a huge education on nutrition and the importance of thyroid function.

I think the idea that nutrition matters very much for your skin’s appearance is downplayed because of the financial incentives for us to keep buying cosmetics…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:06 pm

That’s a really great question. The oxidation can happen before the PUFA oil even enters your body (eg. from all the processing it undergoes), but it oxidizes anyway once it’s consumed. This article explains that process a bit more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035015_PUFAs_health_fatty_acids.html#

Just because some oils have small quantities of vitamin E doesn’t mean they’re safe – the important thing is their high PUFA content. Here’s a direct quote from the Ray Peat article I linked on almond oil: “Almond oil, which is used in many cosmetics, is very unsaturated.” He goes on to say: “Chemically, the material that makes these oils very toxic is the polyunsaturated fat itself. These unsaturated oils are found in very high concentrations in many seeds, and in the fats of animals that have eaten a diet containing them. The fresh oils, whether cold pressed or consumed as part of the living plant material, are intrinsically toxic, and it is not any special industrial treatment that makes them toxic.”

I’ll do another post on gelatin, but in the meantime you can read about its specific biochemical actions here: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml

Keep in mind, I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, just sharing my thoughts and findings here. If you are interested in reading further, the articles I linked to at Ray Peat’s site are indeed glaring evidence :) Regarding the Seventh Day Adventists, it may be that the data is flawed (see my response above to PCC).

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claudia
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 3:53 pm

At 66, I’ve seen so many “silver bullet” solutions come and go, that it is impossible not to be extremely skeptical. I’ve noticed a juggernaut for coconut oil and other products recently and wondered what was behind it. For nutrition advice, I follow Mark Bittman, a respected journalist, and Michael Pollan, who has similar credentials. But I really appreciate the lively and engaged debate on this blog. Keep it up.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:30 pm

Haha, well Ray Peat is in his late 70s and has been writing about this for 45+ years. So not exactly new or a passing fad – I’m only writing about him now because I discovered his work in the last 12 months. I would say to compare Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan to him, as having similar credentials, is completely laughable – sorry :) Ray Peat has a doctorate in biology with a specialization in physiology, has written five books, and currently publishes a bimonthly health newsletter. Unlike Bittman and Pollan he isn’t selling people on a “diet” or trying to be on the NY Times bestseller list. As you can probably imagine, the mainstream are not huge fans of his, as he pokes holes in all of the accepted health wisdom.

Coconut oil, by the way, was demonized by the seed oil industry. It’s only becoming more popular now because of Bruce Fife, who I’m guessing probably based some of his work on Ray Peat’s :)

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hami
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 4:33 pm

If this is true I prefer getting soon older than avoid eating a nut.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:32 pm

You must really love nuts then!

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Sophia
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 6:06 pm

Does the Dr have any peer reviewed articles on the above?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:42 pm

Haha no. Scientific journals are mainly funded by pharmaceutical companies and food industries. Their financial interests result in a lot of bias and fraud, and they exert heavy influence over what gets published.

Ray writes about this in his progesterone deceptions article http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/progesterone-deceptions.shtml

“I have had many years of experience in having my discoveries taken up by others without acknowledgment, if they are compatible with conventional prejudices. Typically, an editor rejects a paper, and then a few months later publishes a very similar paper by someone else. My dissertation research, which established that an estrogen excess kills the embryo by suffocation, and that progesterone protects the embryo by promoting the delivery of both oxygen and glucose, didn’t strike a responsive chord in the journals which are heavily influenced by funds from the drug industry.”

It’s very hard to find anyone in the mainstream who will agree or even comment on Ray Peat, however, his findings are very influential. It’s only now that the mainstream has stopped demonizing saturated fats, but he been talking about them for decades. Here’s Dr. Weil admitting the thinking “has evolved”: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400919/Rethinking-Saturated-Fat.html

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Martina
Tuesday, February 25/2014 at 5:05 am

Michelle,

The scientific method did well to Galileo and Darwin (and they were not exactly aligned with the establishment), so I can’t see why it wouldn’t be good enough for R. Peat. The peer-review system (which is part of the scientific method!) is the best way we have today to filter facts from opinions.

Implying that thousands of universities and research center in the world are united in a big conspiracy seems quite far-fetched to me…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 25/2014 at 12:07 pm

Because if your work was repeatedly stolen or dismissed by the publishers of scientific papers, your choices would either be to a) change your position i.e. “go along to get along”, and get the prestige/money/published papers/top positions or b) go out on your own, as he has done with his own books and newsletters. Most people in this world obviously choose a). It’s a much easier road to travel. But Ray Peat has not. He has the most integrity of any living person I know.

Again, I can only encourage you to visit his website and read the articles yourself before you decide he’s not worth your time just because he’s not “peer reviewed”. The thing is, most people won’t open their minds to new ways of thinking about health until they’re up against a serious problem. Ray Peat has written that himself. Here’s a quote from him which might be interesting to you:

“More than 50 years ago, I realized that the US culture had become effectively totalitarian, with decorations, and even the decorations were being fixed by the specialists (the Congress for Cultural Freedom, for example). I went through a series of graduate studies and projects looking for places where reality could influence the culture, rather than being obliterated by it. The academic culture, though, was rapidly changing for the worse. Over a period of a few years I happened to see a few people recover immediately from what doctors had considered incurable problems, using simple and inexpensive methods, and then I realized that some people were willing to discard their old ideas when those conflicted with useful facts, especially when the useful facts could save their life. I started doing evening and weekend classes in nutrition and endocrinology, seeing health as a way to get reality into the culture. My newsletter grew out of the classes, and that led to answering mail, which is cheaper and easier on the internet.”

More from that interview here: http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/an-interview-with-dr-raymond-peat

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Antonia
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 6:11 pm

Hi Michelle! Very interesting post. I definitely want to look into Ray Peat’s research. Btw where do you get NutrisorbA?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:48 pm

Oh I see it’s now discontinued from iHerb which is where I ordered it once. Last time I was in NYC I bought a whole bunch of it from a health food store there, but now the name escapes me. I know they did sell it online as well. You could try from here: http://www.arkofwellness.com/shop/product/interplexus-nutrisorb-vitamin-a/

Otherwise, just eat liver :) I’ve pretty much gotten over my squeamishness. Usually I do chicken liver pate and honestly, it’s not too bad. I still can’t stand beef or calf’s liver… ew…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:51 pm

Just found it! Willner Chemists. https://www.willner.com/products.aspx

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Antonia
Saturday, March 1/2014 at 9:17 am

Thanks! After I wrote the post I actually found at Upaya Naturals which is a canadian distributor!!!

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Rose
Tuesday, February 18/2014 at 9:25 pm

Hi Michelle,

I am not disagreeing with you entirely as I am no expert on this subject. However, I do want to warn people who find one concept/conspiracy theory on something that has ‘some’ research backing up and start to freak out or make drastic changes to their lifestyle. I think what you brought up is a complicated subject, although it is possible there is quite a bit evidence showing harm, all the research showing benefits cannot be dismissed all together. And please, not everything today is a corporate conspiracy.

It is your choice to make such changes to your lifestyle but you are not an expert in this area. Finding one doctor’s work on this subject and reading a few research papers do not equal the absolute truth. I don’t mean to be rude, but having both parents as scientists taught me a thing or two about research and I find today’s google experts sometimes have very misleading information for people.

I believe aging is caused by a combo of things, we are not sure what the dominant factors are. Even if this is true, to what degree it ages you more on top of sun, genetics, and lifestyle is entirely unknown. So many fad diets out there claim theirs is the true one, I think the stress of following these different theories probably will age you as well.

This is your blog and I respect your opinion. However, I do have a couple of problems with your recommended oils: the effect on cholesterol from butter, animal fat and coconut oil still requires more research. The fact that some studies have shown that they increase cholesterol mean that they are not for everyone, especially people with high risk of heart disease. Olive oil is a good alternative but it has a low smoking point, beyond its smoking point the molecule structure of the oil changes and can be just as dangerous. To stay within that smoking point would mean eating nothing more cooked than a salad. Omega fish oil’s omega content may also be more beneficial to certain individuals (some studies have shown an improvement in ADHD children’s behaviour).

Trust me, I don’t want wrinkles either, but I also want to live life and eat a meal in a restaurant without worrying about what it MAY do to my face.

I just hope with more studies and research, you won’t have another cod liver oil moment with this piece later!

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Leah
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 11:41 pm

“Trust me, I don’t want wrinkles either, but I also want to live life and eat a meal in a restaurant without worrying about what it MAY do to my face.”

THIS. This is exactly how I feel. It’s good to do research and be aware of things like this but at the same time – you gotta get out there and live life. Do I think what you are doing Michelle in terms of diet and lifestyle changes is worth it – absolutely no way! Everything in moderation and don’t forget to enjoy yourself:) I’d rather have a shit tonne of laugh lines from having a fun, interesting life, than sitting inside all day eating carrots but having glorious, glowing skin!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for your concern :) Haha. I think it would be difficult to avoid PUFAs if you’re the kind of person who eats out for every meal. (Although that’s problematic for other reasons, too.) I don’t eat restaurant food more than a couple times a week, so it’s not a huge deal. I’ll just go with the flow if there aren’t other options available… or especially if it’s a really great restaurant, who cares about PUFA? One meal is nothing, it’s the day to day that matters.

At home, it’s absolutely no problem to cook with coconut oil instead of PUFA oils. Do I miss eating nuts and salmon? Not in the slightest. Sometimes I do miss bread and pasta for the convenience factor, but those are things I avoid not for PUFA but for allergies. Whenever I eat them, I have to pay for it with a runny nose.

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minnie
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 2:35 pm

Best comment! I totally agree with you.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:19 pm

Ok, I probably played that up a bit more than the reality. I agree that life is way too short to worry about every single meal. I’m lucky that I work as a freelancer and have a very flexible schedule, so I can usually eat whatever and whenever I want. The occasional restaurant meal doesn’t happen every day or even every week, so it’s not really a big deal to just have whatever’s available. (What is more awkward for me actually is that I’m trying to avoid starches right now, as they exacerbate my allergy symptoms and then I have to suffer the entire next day. Once you limit PUFAs, your immune system is less suppressed and low thyroid/high estrogen issues like that come to the surface.)

It’s also important to note that I’m not saying to eliminate any food groups. People generally accept vegans, vegetarians and Paleo eaters as “healthy eaters” – but suddenly not eating PUFA oils is drastic? That’s funny :)

I hear your concerns about following a “health guru” and I think I’ve addressed those in some of my responses to other comments above. I do appreciate that I sound very fan-girlish over Ray Peat – that’s why it took me 12 months to write about him :) And even here, I can’t possibly do justice in a short blog post – that’s why the best way to learn more is to visit his website, and you’ll find all the scientific explanations along with 100s of footnotes to legit studies. It’s not ‘light’ reading. In his late 70s, he’s been around and seen it all – and yes, if you read his work you’ll be quite certain about the conspiracies between bankers and governmental officials.

How could having a “cod liver oil moment” be a bad thing? Isn’t it a good thing to update your position, as you learn new facts, instead of being dogmatic? This is one of my favourite Ray Peat quotes: “When we ask a question and find an answer, we are changed.” The reason I liked CLO was for the vitamin A content. Since I’ve now learned about the harmful effects of PUFAs, I still value vitamin A but have learned it’s better to get it from other sources (eg. liver).

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Rose
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for your reply! I think we definitely come from two different lines of thoughts. I will use my own common sense and follow a healthy lifestyle in general. Avoiding PUFA altogether sounds very drastic to me, and I am not convinced.

I am also of Chinese background. A good proportion of people in my culture age quite well and for thousands of years, they did not eat butter, coconut oil or olive oil. They always ate a large amount of leafy greens, nuts, nuts oil, vegetable oil and some protein, little animal fat. According to Ray Peat, we’d be the people with most wrinkles…

Plus, between the risk of clogged arteries from butter and animal fat, type two diabetes from the sugar, I’d rather take wrinkles.

If you really believe in these corporate conspiracy theories (I don’t deny they exist but I think they are overly exaggerated by the anti establishment bunch), then you should really look into the conspiracy of butter. Especially in Canada, grass-fed, organic butter is not even allowed to be imported here to protect our own dairy industry and the way we produce them? Not pretty! Better yet, research into sugar too. After all these conspiracies, what have we left to eat?

If you don’t think another fish oil moment is bad, then good for you! I just feel bad for a lot of these readers who commented here and seemed like they would follow your advice without doing much research themselves. I hope nobody gets a heart attack from all that butter!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 10:41 pm

I’m not really following you – I got new info, changed my views and wrote a blog post in October 2013 letting everyone know I was no longer taking CLO: http://beautyeditor.ca/2013/10/29/vitamin-a-for-acne/ You have a problem with that because….?

As for what I eat, I listed all the foods in my response to Susana. I don’t find it restrictive at all.

I do encourage you to read the articles on Ray Peat’s site to learn more about butter, diabetes, sugar and heart attacks :)

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Rose
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:18 pm

By the way, I don’t believe that reading all the research he cited on his own website is good enough research on the topic. If you read modern Nazi Party’s website and all the cited research (also backed by scientists and experts) you’d believe the holocaust never happened!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 10:31 pm

?? Sounds like you missed the point – he’s saying some of the research is biased/fraudulent and unreliable. He evaluates how well the studies were conducted and bases his conclusions off the legit ones.

What incentive would Ray Peat have to cite crappy studies? Please go to his site and try to buy something…. you can’t.

Meanwhile, I can think of many $$$ incentives for pharmaceutical companies and seed oil manufacturers to promote crappy studies that put themselves in a favourite light.

Follow the money…

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Rose
Monday, February 24/2014 at 11:13 pm

Actually Michelle, I think you are the one missing the point!

Corporate conspiracies do exist but I just don’t believe everything has to do with it. You obviously don’t agree (judging from your comments on Canada’s food guide and medical schools and such) and that is ok, to each of their own.

What I meant was that getting all the supporting research information from the website that publishes the theory is not sufficient and fair research on a complicated topic. That does not mean the site published false, or ‘crappy’ research or that Ray had incentive to mislead people. A scientist can deeply believes in a theory, finds enough evidence to support his theory, and to be proven wrong when more research is done. That is why peer-reviewed research, as well as multiple sources are important. I guess the example of Nazi I used could be a little extreme, but that is to state the point of the one sidedness of this kind of internet research.

Obviously, you regard Ray Peat’s words as the absolute truth with no room for error, then we just have to agree to disagree. I, on the other hand believe claims such as this needs to be evaluated by multiple sources, tested and researched and counter arguments should also be welcomed and researched. Since the claim is on aging, then the research should be carried out on a sufficient sample size with sufficient control group over a long period of time, and the result analyzed by competent experts. If I were you, I’d also pay attention to doubts of the theory and think about them to keep myself from devoting to something that may not be so true. But then again, my way of critical thinking may be contaminated by science degrees from corporation and government funded universities…

Well, glad you found something that works for you. Good luck!

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 25/2014 at 12:01 am

Nope I understand your position quite well. I’m not pulling this stuff out of thin air. My comment on medical schools had to do with what they teach about thyroid, as that is what I know – I’ve struggled with low thyroid for quite a while, and have done tons of research and self-experimentation. Frankly most doctors don’t treat it properly at all. Ray Peat is a lone voice in that area as well, and one major reason I grew to trust him is how very quickly his suggestions helped me to improve. (Whereas doctors just treat you based on the numbers on a blood test – hypothyroidism is the biggest, most under-treated health epidemic.) You sound like someone who likes to wait for an authority or consensus to tell you what to do, but I don’t have that luxury with a hormonal imbalance. I have to take responsibility for my own health and the way I feel, as doctors sure won’t do it.

Of course I don’t think Ray Peat is God and am always updating my knowledge as I learn more. Did you not just point out how I changed my mind about cod liver oil? :)

REM
Wednesday, February 26/2014 at 2:00 am

If I could kiss you through the computer I would. Thank you.

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Jessa
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 1:06 am

ok you keep mentioning all these so called “changes” you see in yourself and how you feel better but you never go into detail as to the specifics, or how this has changed YOUR health for the better. If you’re going to preach at least give us some examples of what changes this has done for your skin, your health, your body, hell even your bowel movements (big indicator of how your metabolism is functioning).

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Leah
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 11:37 pm

Whilst I understand the need for more information, I think perhaps bowel movements is a liiiitle too much information on a beauty blog, no:P?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:39 pm

Haha! Agreed :) That’s not a problem for me, but Ray Peat’s suggestions have helped a lot of people with digestive issues. Number one is eliminating starch. Gelatin also very helpful, and a raw carrot daily.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:37 pm

Well, I think I mentioned, it takes 4 years to get rid of the PUFAs. From the article: “The half-life of fats in human adipose tissue is about 600 days, meaning that significant amounts of previously consumed oils will still be present up to four years after they have been removed from the diet.”

I’m only 12 months into this so I have three years to go. But if you’re curious about the other benefits I’ve noticed from following Ray Peat’s suggestions as a whole, sure, I can talk about those. I have vastly improved my thyroid function. My body temperature is a full degree higher and I rarely get cold hands and feet now. I sleep much more soundly and have way more energy during the day. I used to have debilitating menstrual cramps and now I don’t even need to take a single Advil. My skin has a better, more pinkish colour. My mood is happier and calmer. I handle stress better and am less anxious. On blood tests, I’ve fixed my low ferritin count and elevated cortisol and liver enzymes.

The downsides are that most people, including me, gain a bit of weight once you start eating nutrient-dense foods. Not surprising when you consider I used to live on salads and over-exercised. The other thing is food allergies become apparent as you stop eating PUFAs. I have to deal with a few sensitivities now that are annoying. But, hopefully will get better as I continue to improve thyroid function and lower estrogen.

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Aymen Shah
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 4:44 am

I don’t mind if you have another cod oil moment, because it just shows me that you’re constantly on the look out to learn more and develop your opinions as and when new research convinces you.

Also, this is your blog and you’re not forcing anything on anybody so people should really not be so critical; don’t read it if its ” bullshit”
rude comments are just SUCH A DOWNER, especially because Michelle takes out time to respond personally to people.

I appreciate your commitment to providing the best advice, and I appreciate that you are willing to admit that you may have been wrong about something

but mostly I just appreciate I’ve got someone like you on the watch-out for me Michelle! I learn so much from your insights :)

( I’m on a pretty big DIY kick these days, anything you can share in that regard would be much appreciated)

thankyou, thankyou thankyouu!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:48 pm

Aw, thanks! I appreciate the positive comment. Talking about health is a such a sensitive subject, so I expected a lot of people to question this – as they should. I’m only sharing what I’m learning and doing in my own life, and encouraging everyone to read more if it resonates. If not, no big deal. (i.e. if anyone reading is the kind of person who needs mainstream consensus, then Ray Peat is probably not going to happen :))

As for DIY, a lot of Ray Peat followers moisturize face and body with olive or coconut oils… which would be fine as long as they don’t make you break out. (I’m too nervous, so staying well clear.) I think Ray has also recommended aspirin masks for acne – they’re even just a great exfoliating treatment, from the salicylic acid. Some people brush their teeth with baking soda. You could also do a homemade coconut oil/baking soda mixture for a natural deodorant.

The depressing thing about the beauty stuff is that he’s said all cleansers/soaps/shampoos are endocrine disruptors. “Just washing the skin with pure soap alters the skin’s endocrine function for days. And doing it every day is an “endocrine disrupter,” even if there are no toxic additives in the soap.” Some of the guys who follow his stuff only wash their hair with water (never going to happen for me), and others only soap up armpits and genitals, just rinsing the rest of the body with water. I think he considers Ivory and Palmolive safe soaps.

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Becca M.
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 6:05 am

Hey Michelle,

I love your blog and just wanted to thank you for such a great post!
I’m currently working towards a more Ray Peat style way of eating. I think there are elements of what he has to say that are applicable to most people and fairly moderate e.g. use of coconut oil, raw carrot salad.

I agree with other posters that of course it’s important to keep an open mind but so far I feel much better than when I used to eat lots of ‘healthy fats’ like nuts and oily fish now that I have made coconut oil and butter my main fats. Although I do not remain entirely convinced that all natural forms of PUFA are the devil, I think it’s important to remember that natural saturated fats should make up the largest part of our fat intake and PUFA rich food should be consumed more moderately.

I think fermented cod liver oil is something that can have very positive effects, particularly on hormonal balance however I do not think it is something to take continuously for extended periods of time. Most people seem to naturally come to this conclusion. So far I am liking the Nutrisorb A and I have to say, it’s nice not to have that fishy aftertaste!

Keep up the good work, it’s nice to read the discoveries of a fellow health and beauty geek :-)

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Antonia
Sunday, February 23/2014 at 3:36 pm

Hi Becca! Where did you find the nutrisorb A?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 8:01 pm

Hi Antonia, try Willner Chemists in NY (they have online shipping) or Ark of Wellness.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:59 pm

Thanks Becca! Nice to connect with you – and glad to know there are a few of us out there eating this way. Glad it’s made you feel better too! That’s really the bottom line. What differences have you noticed?

And do you eat liver yet? I read somewhere that Ray Peat only rubs the Nutrisorb-A on his ankles, when he can’t get good liver… he’s super cautious.

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Jamie
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 1:26 pm

it’s wonderful to see beautyeditor researching new healthy ways of living/eating which can also make us more beautiful (woo!) . . however, as with ANY advice from someone who is not a medical health professional (i say this completely with respect/understanding that this article is based on research from Ray Peat) a lot of living a healthy, full life is about finding out what works for you as an individual. there is no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to aging.

‘vegetables aren’t great for you?’ …what if i like vegetables? hell, what if i like chocolate? and that makes me happy? ..yes, i’d like to age well but i think a big issue we need to keep in mind when reading articles like this is that beauty/aging/health/life/whatever is a holistic issue.

if you want to age well..wear sunscreen, don’t smoke, limit bad stress, exercise, and eat healthy foods –eating healthy foods might mean you avoid PUFA or it might mean you avoid sugar. I think articles like this are just a bit inflammatory…DONT DO THIS OR YOULL AGE HORRIBLY. this information is out there right now but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way for everyone…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 8:17 pm

Thanks Jamie! As Keirele said above, enjoying your food is so important. If it’s more stressful for you to give up vegetables, then just eat them and be happy. Just know that leafy greens are not very nutrient dense and try to compensate for that accordingly. Cronometer is a great tool to monitor your daily macros. Ray Peat is all about minimizing stress… this is not some restrictive diet where you have to watch every little thing. In fact it’s not a prescribed diet at all, just an education, through his articles, on the biochemical effects of each food.

He would absolutely be in agreement with you that aging is a holistic issue. How you live your life is very important. Sometimes, however, traumatic or stressful life events are beyond our control. Of the things we CAN control, PUFA would be enemy number one. Also important is getting enough protein. Most people eat way under his recommended level which is 80 grams daily. His views on sugar and exercise are actually the opposite to the mainstream. I’ll do another post about those later.

That’s funny you say we should be wary of advice from non-medical health professionals. I would be every bit as wary of the MDs too! But, I’m more skeptical than the norm based on my own experiences with doctors. My thyroid function was in the toilet until I got some info from Ray Peat. Doctors nowadays are shockingly ignorant on thyroid. Not surprising, since the makers of Synthroid fund the medical schools.

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Mari
Wednesday, February 19/2014 at 9:00 pm

Hi Michelle,

This is a very interesting post. I am however a bit confused. It’s weird since I’ve read a long time ago if you eat fish 2x a week you don’t need a supplement so I never did. But over the last 2 years I’ve been trying to change to diet and be more healthy me. I’ve been take cod liver oil every day but so if it’s unhealthy what about Algae DHA or krill oil?

Would Marula and Argan oil count too for the face?

Thanks! Enjoy the blog!
m

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 8:25 pm

Hi Mari, I would read Ray Peat’s article on fish oils for a more detailed explanation: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml Cod liver oil and krill oil are both PUFAs, so he would say they’re not essential at all, and even harmful. I’m not familiar with algae DHA, but it appears to be high PUFA as well.

Do you eat liver at all? A serving once a week can fulfill the vitamin A requirements you would be getting from the cod liver oil.

You could also start taking coconut oil, which has many health benefits. http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/coconut-oil.shtml

Marula and argan oils are high PUFA. Not as much of a big deal if you really love them, since it’s only on the face and not as much absorbs… but there are other alternatives. Have you tried jojoba oil?

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Meeka
Thursday, February 20/2014 at 3:58 pm

I have a keen interest in health and nutrition so I’m always interested in hearing new ideas, however, I’m always wary of information when it’s based off of what one expert says. Maintaining a healthy life style is so important but diet is one of the most difficult things for most people to understand. Personally, I already use coconut oil almost exclusively in cooking, I really like the flavour it adds. I avoid processed foods as much as possible and I’m not anti sugar (especially fruit sugars). I try to be as balanced as possible with my diet. I don’t think I’d ever decide to skip my vegetables based off one doctor’s opinion. I’m not entirely sure I’m getting my point across or just rambling haha! What I’m getting at is this: don’t limit yourself to one person’s opinions. I think if we practice moderation and try to eat products that are natural then we’ll likely do just fine.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 8:43 pm

That’s great you’re already using coconut oil! I agree with you that most people would get an improvement just from eating whole foods instead of processed. But, here we are a community of people also very interested in beauty/skincare, so I thought this PUFA stuff was worth mentioning… since, like it or not, it does play a factor in aging, inside and out.

Yes, it does sound reasonable to not go by the opinions of one random guy you’ve never heard of :) I hear you on that for sure. However, context is always important. Ray Peat has written a lot about the massive fraud and corruption in the medical and food industries. In one of the responses above, I mentioned how some of his research earlier in his career was stolen and not published because of his conclusions (which would have caused financial losses for the companies who had a stake). The suppression of his work continues to this day – he’s no small time guy and just because the mainstream isn’t behind him doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Think of how much money is in fish oil these days. You think they’re going to let that industry be taken down with new research? Highly doubtful.

I actually trust him far, far more than any mainstream health person trying to make a buck off me. Naturopaths have led me down the wrong path for years, at over $100 an hour. Ray Peat’s information is free.

The other thing I want to add is that his suggestions are worth looking into if you suffer from any type of health problem. That’s when “everything in moderation” flies out the window. Personally, I was motivated to follow his suggestions to fix my hormones, and ended up with benefits I wasn’t even expecting.

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klara
Friday, February 21/2014 at 3:27 am

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid, is it not? DHA is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and retina. DHA comprises 40 percent of PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids). Human breast milk is rich in DHA regardless of the mother’s diet choice. This makes me think that polyunsaturated fats are not bad for you. I’m confused…

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klara
Friday, February 21/2014 at 3:28 am

I meant to say DHA comprises 40 percent of PUFA in the brain.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 8:51 pm

I found someone who already answered that question (at Butter Believer – http://butterbeliever.com/what-is-pufa/)

According to the Self Nutrition Data site, the fat in breast milk is 45% saturated and only 9.7% polyunsaturated, with 8.5% from omega-6. And that’s data from mothers eating a typical American diet, I’m assuming, which is loaded with polyunsaturated fat. I would be willing to bet that breast milk from a mom who actively avoids PUFAs would have an even smaller percentage.

Also, Ray Peat talks about breast milk here:
http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/unsaturatedfats.shtml

From his article:

Babies whose mothers’ serum contained more DHA were more wakeful on their second day of life, than the babies of low-DHA mothers. The amide of oleic acid is a sleep promoter, with apparent antiserotonin activity (Yang, et al., 2003), and since oleic acid tends to be displaced by diets high in PUFA, this suggests another way in which the highly unsaturated fatty acids could promote serotonin’s effects.

Mothers whose breast milk contains more long-chain n-3 fatty acids are more likely to have allergic children (Stoney, et al., 2004). (And children whose mothers are allergic have higher levels of DHA and EPA in their tissues.) These associations aren’t mentioned by the manufacturers who speak of those fats as essential.

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kate'shomesick
Friday, February 21/2014 at 8:05 pm

I’m sorry but I’d rather- you know- enjoy life…information can be useful but living is kind of the essence- and since we’re all dying someday (wrinkly or not)…Also eating stuff that makes you feel good (even just psychologically…) every once in a while…makes you happy…and there is nothing like being in great shape mentally. It will also do wonders for your appearance…

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:05 pm

Of course enjoying life is important :) Probably the most important. I still enjoy life while eating my coconut oil. It’s hardly comparable to people who are vegans, paleo, etc., who eliminate entire food groups yet are seen as “so healthy” because it’s the mainstream consensus. They are the neurotic ones – convincing everyone that sugar is the devil, that we all need to be loading up on kale (a goitrogen), etc.

Ray Peat drinks Mexican Coke, eats ice cream and steak – does it get any better than that?

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Michelle
Wednesday, February 26/2014 at 10:29 pm

I’m a vegan, the main motivation for it being the inhumane and sometimes horrific treatment of cows and chickens on factory farms. So to me, the idea of consuming gelatin on the daily is pretty repulsive. However, there are also many studies to back up the claim that a plant-based diet is optimal for health. I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss all this research because the publishers or research institutions were in the pocket of “big avocado,” or whatever. I am a librarian and I know there are political and financial motivations behind what makes it to print (or more likely databases) but I don’t think that means you can dismiss it all.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 4/2014 at 4:54 pm

Actually, I’m not against plant-based diets, and I don’t think Ray Peat would be either – as long as the nutrient requirements are being met. That is what it is all about. I don’t think you can get enough vitamin A unless it comes from an animal source. Also, plant-based diets typically do not have enough high-quality protein (we need 80g a day minimum) and may be low in some of the minerals like zinc that you get from shellfish.

There are some people who follow a Ray Peat-inspired diet and are essentially vegetarian – they drink milk, and have occasional liver and gelatin, but the rest is fruits and root vegetables.

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a dermatologist
Saturday, February 22/2014 at 11:59 pm

This has all the hallmarks of quackery, I am sorry to say. We in dermatology have a fairly good idea of what causes skin aging and the good doctor is way off. As a general rule, a simple solution to a complex problem presented by a non-expert with dubious supporting evidence is 99 times out of 100 too good to be true. Since you’ve already devoted a year of your life to this I doubt anything I could say would change your mind. I hope that you don’t unintentionally harm yourself. But you seem to have a history of jumping into things all or nothing, promoting them, and later coming to regret it. For your sake I hope this does not happen here and I wish you well.

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cat
Sunday, February 23/2014 at 10:24 am

It would be great if you would elaborate on what causes skin aging from a dermatologist view point.

I have cured myself from Endometriosis when I cut out dairy and meat (I was eating more or less like this doctor is encouraging) and now am mostly following a vegan diet which is about 70% raw. Where I incorporate lots of nuts and avocados.
Also now at the age of 26 people guess my age to be around 17 while before when I was 13 everyone thought I’d be at least 20+ (very often 24).

Also I think it’s important to use common sense and not to follow blindly any kind of new fad diet. Neither would I encourage people who are healthy to change to the same kind of radical diet I had to. What makes me healthy might as well make someone else ill. We’re all different and our bodies have different needs.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:49 pm

Hi Cat, like I said in some of the responses above, it’s not a fad diet – or even a diet at all. I think people like to be told exactly what to eat, but instead what I’m advocating is getting educated on the biochemical effects of each food. I think Dr. Peat’s points about avoiding PUFAs are universal to everyone, but yes, context is also key. We all have to adapt for our unique individual lifestyles, caloric requirements, food intolerances, etc. There’s no single food list that is going to work for everyone. But some choices will be better than others.

Re: your endometriosis, I can highly recommend progesterone to counter high estrogen. Progest-E is the most amazing thing ever. (Dr. Peat created it but doesn’t have a financial stake – he just holds the patent.)

How is your thyroid? Do you measure your temperature and pulse?

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a researcher
Monday, February 24/2014 at 7:27 am

Agreed!
I was about to post a comment including similar elements but thankfully someone else has posted before me. My wording would have probably been a little more cursory.

That aside, I would still like to add that people have lived on so many different diets over the years and are so adaptive as omnivores/herbivores, that it would be unlikely for a universally perfect diet to exist.

Also: almost all foods have pros and cons! Especially foods with fatty acids. There are many, many unlisted negative effects of saturated fatty acids, just as there are many, many unlisted positive effects of polyunsaturated. Inflammation due to certain saturated fats is a well-developed idea, more than “toxic” factors of unsaturated. Coconut oil among others has been under debate for years. If in doubt, limit consumption and avoid excess. There is really no exact diet regimen that can be suggested for everyone.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:59 pm

Hi Researcher! It’s ok, I can take the cursory comments :) Feel free to say whatever you want to say!

Yes, I agree that humans are an extremely adaptive species. We’re talking about having the best quality of life possible, though. And longest, with the nicest skin :)

Again, I will reiterate that Ray Peat does not have a diet. He would be the first to say there is no “perfect diet”. However, some foods are more beneficial than others. As far as I know, PUFA foods are the only ones Dr. Peat thinks are across the board “bad”.

I’ve mentioned in some of the other responses about the incentives for studies that declare PUFAs have benefits, and that saturated oils are bad for you.

From Ray Peat’s coconut oil article:

Many people have asked me to write something on coconut oil. I thought I might write a small book on it, but I realize that there are no suitable channels for distributing such a book–if the seed-oil industry can eliminate major corporate food products that have used coconut oil for a hundred years, they certainly have the power to prevent dealers from selling a book that would affect their market more seriously.

More here: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/coconut-oil.shtml

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 9:33 pm

Hi Dr. Smith! With all due respect, it sounds like you’re dismissing this without having even bothered to go to Dr. Peat’s website to read the articles I linked. This is the reaction I anticipate from the mainstream medical community, so I am not surprised you call him a quack. Of course as an MD you would think that :)

To clarify, I’m not presenting myself as an expert here. I’m a writer. Ray Peat, endocrine physiologist, is the expert. You can look up his credentials as well as read his numerous articles (and books) where he footnotes 100s of studies to back up his conclusions. Far from quackery.

I’m genuinely curious how you think I could harm myself from not eating PUFA oils? Because Canada’s Food Guide says saturated fats are bad for you? It must be true then! (haha)

I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to re: “a history of jumping into things,” but sure, I’ll bite. That’s probably fair. When you have a history of hormonal imbalance (or any other health concern), you look for answers. Doctors don’t always have them (shocking, I know!).

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meryem
Sunday, February 23/2014 at 12:35 pm

Hi Michelle

i read your article about the unsaturated oils and iam shocked. OMG, everytime we read the benefits of the beautiful amazing unsaturated oils.
i need a lot of time to digest the truth.
thank you a lot for your informative article, i just find your blog today,
iam wondering if primerose oil can be use on face and rose hip oil.
i do a lot of avocado mask face, now iam freaking out, is it bad when use externally ,

thanks
Meryem

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 10:05 pm

You’re welcome Meryem! I know, it’s a lot to digest. It took me 12 months to write about it after starting to follow Ray Peat’s nutritional suggestions… and I actually heard of him a few years before that, but wasn’t “ready” to accept was he was saying. I was too trusting of my naturopath at the time, but when she told me last year I should take estrogen, I was like WTF no. (Not to mention I’d spent probably $1000s on her suggestions and didn’t feel like my hormones were any more “balanced”.)

I wouldn’t stress too much about what you use on your face. It’s a small area and not that much is getting absorbed – changing your diet is way more important. Those oils are PUFAs; if you love them, you don’t have to change although there are alternatives eg. jojoba. Do you use avocado oil or are you saying it’s a fresh mashed up avocado? Putting it on your face would be way better than eating it, that’s for sure! :)

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mira
Monday, February 24/2014 at 6:40 pm

I guess my problem with this is that you cite ONE expert, and only the opinion of one expert, to back up your wild claim that polyunsaturated fats are bad for you. And then, I noticed that you responded to the counter-argument of another commenter not with evidence, but a picture of Dr. Peat and his supposed lack-of wrinkles. So what if the man doesn’t have wrinkles? That could be a result of a million different things! You have no idea whether that has to do with his diet choices. I find your assertions to be lacking in solid, unbiased data and reasoning, and more scare tactics and emotional appeals (“eating almonds will age you!”).

This is just crazy talk, plain and simple. It COULD be true. It could also be true that aliens inhabit Mars and we just haven’t found them yet.

For me, what has worked best for my body and mind in terms of diet is cutting out all carbs other than fruits and veggies. That means a diet high in “bad” foods (according to you) like almonds, fish, eggs and avocados. Makes me feel great and look great and more than just one expert agrees with me. So, I’ll be sticking to that diet. Best of luck to you.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, February 24/2014 at 10:24 pm

Hi Mira, I’m not trying to scare anyone at all here (huh?). This is simply a blog where I share what I’m doing beauty-wise – and I’ve always believed that beauty starts from the inside. I’m glad you’re enjoying your diet. Most people come to Ray Peat after they have some sort of health problem. He is “the end of the line” :)

Btw, I don’t think eggs or fish are bad at all – I have 2 eggs per day and I eat all shellfish and white fish (I just don’t buy fatty fish). The only vegetables I don’t bother with are leafy greens. Root vegetables are fine. And I eat tomatoes, as they are actually fruits.

I’ve responded now to every comment on this thread, so I think I’ve already addressed what you’re saying about him being a lone wolf – but to repeat, just because there’s not a mainstream consensus doesn’t mean what he’s saying is false. Have a read of the comments above where I mentioned the massive fraud and corruption, how all the scientific journals are funded by the pharmaceutical and food industries, and how his papers were either stolen or not published, since the conclusions he drew would’ve caused massive financial losses. Then consider how that would affect what we “know to be true” in terms of nutrition.

As for wrinkles, I don’t see this as any more “crazy” than doctors like Brandt telling us to avoid sugar because it supposedly causes wrinkles. (Then selling us his anti-glycation skincare products…) Frankly, I find Ray Peat makes a much more compelling case against PUFAs. And his info is free.

There is an amazing quote in this article at my friend Emma’s blog: http://www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/anti-ageing/age-sweetly/

“Eat the old fashioned way, dairy, eggs, in-season fruits and do not be afraid of sucrose (cane sugar) added to your coffee and milkshakes. Film actresses in the thirties and forties did not need all the facelifts and touch ups that actresses need today due to a healthier diet filled with sucrose, animal protein and saturated fat. Take a look at some movies form the olden days. Remember that sucrose is used for energy and allows proteins to be used for repair work on your skin. A low carb diet will very quickly cause cells to suffer due to wastage of repair material. No sucrose in the diet means that proteins are turned to sugar for energy.” – Dodie Anderson, Nutritionist

(Dodie is the only nutritionist to train with Ray Peat; Emma trained with her.) I think this is an amazing point, to look at people from the past who ate a lot better than we do now in modern times. Look at Marilyn Monroe – she ate liver, eggs and milk.

Best of luck to you too! :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, February 25/2014 at 12:13 am

One more comment for those interested in “consensus” – I just came across this list of other thinkers who share Peat’s views.

Broda Barnes (pioneering endocrinologist in the field of thyroid health)
Hans Selye (pioneering endocrinologist in the field of stress)
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Otto Warburg (both have Nobel Prizes in physiology)
Constance R. Martin (author of Endocrine Physiology, Oxford Universtiy Press, 1976)
William E.M. Lands
Eugene Weinberg Ph.D.
Chris Masterjohn

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Julia
Wednesday, February 26/2014 at 1:20 am

Hi Michelle,

I am a long-time reader of your blog, and I am a big fan! I have never been one to comment on message boards (I am super shy, and that extends into cyberspace), but I have wanted to comment on your articles many times, at least to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

This article was very timely for me because some friends of mine started following the paleo diet several months ago, and they are intense fans! I cannot talk to them for more than a few minutes before one of them starts talking about it. I recently got into a debate with one of them about the merits of fruit. They told me it is too high in sugar to be healthy, and it should be consumed in very small amounts and considered a treat. I maintained that fruit has so many health benefits.

I eat fruit everyday, and I feel good. If I ever skip a day (usually on vacation) I feel sluggish and more prone to stomach aches.

My paleo friends are all about fish, avocados, and kale. They won’t eat much fruit or any carrots (they say they’re too starchy.) All I can think sometimes is “wow” but honestly, they get very defensive if I take a different viewpoint from them. I’ve noticed a lot of commenters in this threat having a similarly defensive attitude. That shows that food choices are very emotional for some people.

In any case, I appreciated this article a lot. I am very excited to read more about this approach, because some of the things I’ve read so far are very intuitive to me anyway.

I love how you feel beauty starts from the inside because I couldn’t agree more. When my sister was a teenager and was suffering from severe acne, the dermatologist she saw said that the foods we eat have nothing to do with skin. He proceeded to prescribe her antibiotics and a host of topical meds…none of which helped her acne. I couldn’t get on board with that even as a teen, and even less now.

I would love a more detailed article about what you eat everyday. I know you wrote out a lot of the foods you eat in a comment above, and I found that very helpful, but maybe a sample menu for the day?

Thank you for your dedication to this blog. It is informative and enjoyable for me. I look forward to more articles like this. I’m also super excited for your Oscar looks re-cap! I look forward to your article the day after the awards almost more than the show itself! :)

-Julia

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 4/2014 at 4:33 pm

Hi Julia, happy first comment! Thanks so much for the thoughtful note, and I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog, and this article :)

You bring up a really important point about how food is so emotional for people. I’ve always been a totally normal eater, never dieted, etc., and I have a really open mind about food, so I tend to forget it’s not like that for many (most?) out there. My thing has always just been to seek out the healthiest way of eating, and looking at the most compelling research. I could never count calories or restrict whole food groups like carbs or fruit (I don’t consider PUFA a “food group”). I’m glad you feel what I am talking about is intuitive. I think so too!

And yes, there is something that does not sit right at all when derms brush off the idea of addressing the inside – diet, hormones, etc. I mean, I’m ok with doing what you have to do to feel better because acne can be very traumatic and impacts your social life. But, to say diet has no link to acne or your general skin condition is frankly a joke. Doctors were not like that at all pre-1950s/60s – it’s only been in our pharmaceutical age that we get sold on pills/lasers/etc. as the only answer.

You asked for a sample menu, I’m not rigid at all, but it could be something like this:

Breakfast: Coffee, milk, sugar or honey, fruit, eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese or panna cotta, freshly squeezed OJ
Lunch: More coffee, milk, sugar, cheese, eggs (I limit to 2 eggs/day), fruit, OJ, chicken liver pate
Snacks: Milkshake, maybe more coffee, gelatin “jelly” squares
Dinner: Carrot salad, shrimp, rice, stewed fruit, ice cream

Hope that helps! Emma’s Instagram @thenutritioncoach has loads of great ideas if you’re looking for nutrient-dense foods.

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Julia
Sunday, March 16/2014 at 1:01 am

Thank you so much for your reply, Michelle! I think it’s so awesome that you reply to all comments. Thank you for the sample menu and the tip about Emma’s instagram!

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Kristina
Monday, March 31/2014 at 12:27 am

Hi Michelle!
Thanks so much for the informative post! I’ve been following up with a ton of research and it has been quite illuminating to say the least.

Just to follow on from the previous post, I had a couple of questions I was hoping you might be able to clarify…

1. Refined v Unrefined Coconut oil and Sugar. You said that you use refined coconut oil and I was wondering why you don’t prefer unrefined? (I also have the same question about the difference between raw can sugar and white sugar.)

2. Whole food multivitamins / prenatal multivitamins. I am currently taking a whole food prenatal multivitamin as an insurance policy for when I plan to start having children and I was just wondering whether or not you feel that you need to supplement your diet with vitamins?

3. In relation to the sample diet you provided (which is really helpful!), would you eat all the foods you listed in each category together as one meal? I guess what I’m trying to figure out is the ideal balance of protein:fat:sugar. It’s not clear from my research and if you can provide any guidance from your experience/information it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!!
K.

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Eric
Wednesday, February 26/2014 at 6:48 pm
Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 4/2014 at 4:34 pm

Excellent! Thanks Eric. Nice to have some more evidence come forward for the naysayers. Will check out your links!

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Tammi
Thursday, February 27/2014 at 2:44 pm

I think this is a very interesting topic, but one that should be taken with a grain of salt.

While I do think there is some credibility to Dr Peat’s arguments, there is equally credibility to all the “mainstream” doctors. I think it’s simply a matter of choosing which side you want to believe in.

As a side note, reading some of these comments and the post itself, there is a massive focus on Dr Peat. I am a huge fan of your blog, Michelle, and I say this with the best intention, but I think that you come across as a worshiper of his views, and thus a bit biased. I think you could make a better case for your point if you had looked into other researchers’ works, and not just his. As for the comparisons of the pictures, I personally don’t think that he looks exceptionally young for his age, and I do agree with some others that a lot of it is genetic rather than what you eat, necessarily.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 4/2014 at 4:48 pm

Really? Go to any mall in America and have a look at the old people. You will see fat guts, saggy skin, age spots, baldness. He doesn’t have any of that – looks remarkably good for a man in his late 70s. Even more important, if you listen to his interviews (many podcasts available online) his brain is in tip top shape. No deterioration whatsoever.

To your point, sure it may come across like I am a “Ray Peat worshipper” – I credit him because he is the only one to gather together and summarize all the key research findings together in single-focus articles (eg. “Fish oil”) that are fairly easy to digest. You could look up all of these other people and their studies if you wish :)
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Charles Darwin
Sidney Fox
Sidney A. Bernhard
William Blake
Élie Metchnikoff
Dmitri Mendeleev
Ivan Pavlov
Gerald H Pollack
Gilbert Ling
Albert Szent-Györgyi
Hans Selye
William F Koch
Broda Barnes
Jagadish Chandra Bose
Constance R. Martin
Eugene Weinberg
Thomas H. McGavack
Ivan Illich
Carl C. Lindegren
Otto H. Warburg
Philip J. Randle
Jamie Cunliffe
Polly Matzinger
Peter Duesberg
Vladimir I Vernadsky
Joseph Needham
Katherina Dalton
Alexander Oparin
Pyotr Anokhin
Walter Drost-Hansen & James Clegg
Kliment Timiryazev
Harold Hillman
Peter Kropotkin
Alexander Lipschutz
Baruch Spinoza
Uffe Ravnskov

Again, all I can say if you’re skeptical is to encourage you to go visit his site, read the articles, listen to his podcasts, try out some of the suggestions on yourself and see how you feel. I do NOT know of any other “health experts” (who you say are “equally credible”) that specifically tell you how to improve your thyroid function (and why that matters). That is the difference with Ray Peat and why his work is a must-read.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, March 14/2014 at 1:31 pm

To everyone that’s still subscribed to this thread, I just wanted to make a note to confirm that I NEVER delete comments on this website, even the negative ones. I just received an email from one of the commenters here who mistakenly thought her comment (and others) were not published, which is NOT the case. All first-time commenters have to be approved in order to prevent spam, but that is all the moderation I do (and I do not edit the content of others’ comments).

Just wanted to clarify my position in case there is any confusion – I believe deleting comments is unethical and it completely goes against my intention of promoting a discussion.

Happy Friday all!

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taous
Monday, March 17/2014 at 7:03 pm

Thank you so much for your so kind response! I am glad I made you laugh :)
Thank you for teaching me that blog reading is about “opinions” (I am sooo stupid how could I have possibly understood that?) I share the same holistic approach to beauty as you, I am a firm believer that it is a sum of many factors and I would even more highlight the importance of Ethics and Happiness. As for the way you are handling this nutritional controversy, your response corroborate my point: you are exposing readers to information that you believe and stand for, some people could follow without questioning this information (many teenagers must read beauty blogs…just A guess) others will gladly share with you sources that will contradict you…but like you said it is about opinions, so no big deal :) And now that I know that you don’t trust MD’s opinions on nutrition I won’t bother you with scientific demonstrations. P.S: The “age” of those studies is not an issue in its self of course, but when the development of technology and methodologies have invalidated them…well , you can figure it out :) Best Regards

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 12:43 pm

But are PUFAs a food group? How is this information more “dangerous” than, say, the 1000s of vegan blogs, paleo blogs, raw food blogs… etc. Those are extremely restrictive ways of eating and yet they are accepted fully by the mainstream as being “healthy”. I say “don’t eat fish oil” and this is suddenly considered radical? That argument doesn’t make sense to me at all :)

MDs really don’t receive any nutritional training in med school so I don’t get why anybody would consider them an authority on what to eat.

Have you visited Ray Peat’s website to read about the studies you think have been “invalidated”? I really encourage you to do so – I think you would find what he has to say quite enlightening :)

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Lauren
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 11:17 am

Michelle, I respect you as a writer and I always turn to your blog for product advice. However, I feel that there are certain things that you shouldn’t write because you really don’t know enough about them. Your blog has the power to influence many people. As you noted, previously you’ve endorsed fish oil but now it appears to be dangerous to take as a daily dose. Yes, you may have read a few articles (many cited from the same source Dr. Ray Peat). I ask, how many of the articles sharing this EXACT sentiment are peer reviewed? It’s easy to cite webpages from the internet. I find it extremely hard to believe that Lamarck and Darwin wrote articles on the causes of skin aging and PUFAs. Furthermore, humans are variable. There is no ‘universal solution’ for everyone. For you to present this information as fact and suggest it to be the ultimate solution is simply false. I have been deeply trouble by this article for a while and I finally decided to share my thoughts.

I’ve also posted this article on the beauty brains, a source I often turn to for scientific advice on health and beauty related questions. I hope your readers will find the response illuminating.

http://thebeautybrains.com/bbforum/index.php?p=/discussion/267/i-need-a-scientific-opinion-on-this-article-i-read-on-a-beauty-blog

Lauren

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 12:33 pm

Hi Lauren, thanks for posting your thoughts. Keep in mind that I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything – I am sharing information, what I believe to be true, and if it don’t resonate with you or inspire you to do your own research, then it is perfectly fine with me if you continue eating PUFAs :)

I don’t know the “Beauty Brains” but I’m quite sure that if they are “by the book” scientists who put total faith in the peer review process, then they will tell you that omega-3s are healthy, fish oil is great, etc etc. You can go visit the links I posted in the article, and read some of my comments above, about why I think the peer review process is not to be 100% trusted. Have you even taken the time to go visit Ray Peat’s website?

And not to be harsh, but I think Dr. Ray Peat, a scientist who has been researching for 45+ years, written 5 books and consulted with 1000s of people, is a bit more of an authority on the subjects of nutrition, hormones and aging than the “Beauty Brains” :)

But again, if you’re the kind of person who needs a mainstream consensus for your nutritional guidance, then no this probably will not resonate with you. And that is fine – I fully agree that everyone has to make their own choices (never said otherwise).

All the best!

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Lauren
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 1:03 pm

Will you also question the validity of the peer review process when you it’s time get vaccinated before you go on vacation? Or when someone you love need drug treatment? Or what about when you go the emergency room? Those doctors get their information from peer reviewed sources, you know. When will you draw the line? ‘Alternative medicine’ has it’s limitations and when it comes down to the wire, my guess is, you’ll turn the the conventional medicine you are so sceptical of now.

I appreciate that you are sharing your opinion (as is your right to do so). But, my comments merely suggest that you should recognize your reach before posting ill-informed articles because the potential to do harm is great.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 4:10 pm

Hi Lauren, things aren’t as black and white as you’re trying to paint them. I didn’t say that ALL peer reviewed studies are “wrong”, just that they can’t always be trusted at face value, specifically talking about the subject of this blog post (nutrition). There may be certain financial incentives involved (eg. the fish oil industry is very profitable nowadays) or the “fact” they were based on was actually incorrect in the first place. Repeating it 100s more times doesn’t make it more true.

And I don’t know where you got the idea that I follow “alternative medicine.” Ray Peat may not be mainstream, but he’s certainly not to be grouped in with wishy-washy alternative health ideas. Everything he writes about can be 100% backed up scientifically, if you care to go look if up his sources (it sounds like you haven’t done that yet :) ). I get that you don’t think the information I’ve shared could be true, but I don’t see how this is an “ill-informed” article when I’ve linked to where you can find a plethora of further information, facts, studies, etc.

Do you consider PUFAs a food group? I don’t. How could eliminating them from one’s diet do harm? And how is that worse than veganism, vegetarianism, paleo/no-carb, etc.? Those diets are extremely restrictive, eliminating entire food groups – yet everybody considers them “healthy.” Not eating fish oil is radical? :)

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Lauren
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi, Michelle!

I know this thread is fairly old — but I figured this might be the best place to post my question.

I, like you, am a big believer in the idea that beauty starts from within. That said, I am still a total beauty junky & I love experimenting with DIY treatments & natural makeup, etc. Was wondering — you seem so mindful of what you eat, &, to a certain extent, mindful of what you put directly on your skin (no seed oils, etc.), that I was wondering what your stance was on not-so-clean products (ones that contain parabens, phthalates & the like). Obviously you run/write this stellar beauty blog & post daily about products that aren’t 100% toxin-free — so I was curious to know if you secretly grappled with this issue or not so much? It’s a daily battle for me. There are so many great clean brands out there nowadays (RMS, Vapour, Ilia, etc.), but it’s hard to find clean versions of certain products. Like, I am obsessed with lip stains & products that promises a sheer wash of indelible lip color (those Becca Beach tints! I long for one!) but toxin-free versions of those products don’t exist. & it’s lipstick, ya know? Like, you’re eating it. Ha.

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts! I am a huge fan of the blog & read it daily.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, March 18/2014 at 4:39 pm

Hi Lauren! Thank you so much, I’m glad you are enjoying the blog :)

To answer your question – I am much more mindful about what I eat (although I’m not neurotic about it) than what I put on my skin. I think diet is really key – way more than topicals. It’s amusing to me how the organic beauty companies have taken over with their marketing, making people think it’s going to make such a big difference to use natural ingredients. I’m sure many of them (not all) are healthier, but having proper nutrition is really #1.

Personally, I don’t stress at all about what I put on my face, as I figure the amounts and surface area are so small, barely anything is getting absorbed. (I think the figure is about 20% on average absorbs.) I do avoid PUFA-based products as much as I can, but I’m not prepared to sacrifice makeup or skincare performance for being “natural”.

The other thing is that it’s not necessarily any better to seek out natural options – in fact I’ve found a lot of them are actually highest in seed oils (the main ingredient I want to avoid). I think RMS is probably one of the best natural brands, as their products are coconut oil- and shea butter-based. If you’re very concerned about ingesting lip products I would seek out one with those ingredients, not the seed oil kind.

But my personal opinion (as a beauty junkie as well) is that wearing a “toxic” beauty product, if you love it, is not such a big deal. There are many more toxic things to worry about first before that. I hope this helps!

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Lauren
Wednesday, March 19/2014 at 3:09 am

It’s true! There’s too much in this world to worry about. I’m sure a toxin or two in a lip product isn’t going to tip the scales either way — especially if it makes a girl happy. :)

Thanks again, Michelle. It’s always nice to get another perspective!

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karen
Friday, March 28/2014 at 8:19 pm

hello very interesting post I googled and found this: “Oils high in PUFAs have to be manufactured, Transported, and stored very carefully to be safe for eating Ideally, Should be kept air-tight/oxygen-free PUFAs and PUFAs are cold.. Generally not bad unless They are oxidized for you. que All PUFAs have been cooked with and are oxidized Therefore bad. “http://vipimed.com/cooking-oils/

the super critical CO2 extraction is the safest because it does not use oxygen and excessive heat http://www.paiskincare.com/blog/2011/11/01/why-cold-pressed-isn%E2%80%99t-always-best-%E2%80%93-meet-the-super-oils/

What do you think about this?

thanks for the post.

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Heure
Sunday, March 30/2014 at 9:19 pm

I enjoyed this article very much! I was raised on extra-virgin olive oil from Italy and never liked margarine. As I got older, flax seed oil was touted as a cure-all for “women’s issues” and canola and soy were considered “healthy alternatives” to corn and other oils on the list.

But I could never bring myself to do any of those. My intuition told me, against the popular onslaught, that those oils were not good for me. This was verified for me when my Dr. pulled me off of flaxseed oil. Now I use only extra-virgin olive and coconut oils.

And here in the fat-obsessed US in the 1980s, to eat real butter was a mortal sin–one that I committed with great pleasure. Happy that I was correct in its usage. I love butter! My personal favorite at the moment is Kerry’s Irish Gold It is divine!

Of course, I recognize and respect everyone’s personal choices and experiences; just wanted to share mine.

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SidDavis
Wednesday, April 2/2014 at 2:37 am

Very well written and informative piece. I am surprised how closed minded to different points of view some of the people commenting are. I suppose that is just an example of survival of the fittest at work, flavored by a good dose of ignorance of the current research.

There is little question that PUFA’s are poor quality fats, and are related to disease for the reasons you listed and more.

I think the mechanism involved in PUFA’s contributing to hypothyroid is their affinity for iodine. The way a saturated or unsaturated fat is identified in the laboratory is by testing to see how much iodine a fixed amount of that fat absorbs. Saturated fats don’t take up any iodine, while unsaturated fats do, the more double carbon bonds in the carbon chain, the more iodine is taken up. This happens not only in the lab, but in our bodies as well when PURA’s react with iodine. This diverts iodine from other bodily functions, and the making of thyroid hormone is one of those functions that then suffer. Lack of iodine available to make thyroid hormone is a major cause of hypothyroid, and this condition slows the rate of cellular metabolism. Slower cellular metabolism leads not only to weight gain, but to failure of other bodily functions like apoptosis, the programmed replacement of cells, plus it slows down the functions carried on in other organs, for example the pancreas in its production of insulin.

This binding of iodine by PUFA’s is of particular danger to women because many women are already deficient in iodine because estrogen inhibits the absorption of iodine. It is estimated that fibrocystic breast disease affects 60% of the women in North American, and this disease is a direct result of iodine deficiency, and a precursor to breast cancer. Ditto for polycystic ovary disease, a precursor to ovarian cancer, and endometriosis, a precursor to cancer of the uterus. And don’t forget thyroid cancer which is preceded by development of nodules in the thyroid as it attempts to compensate for inadequate iodine; women have far more thyroid cancer than men.

Don’t be discouraged by the negative feedback to your informative presentation. Some people will be interested in the information you presented, explore the topic in depth, and benefit not only in improved appearance, but in health and longer life. You will have done a great service to those you can influence.

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Tanveer
Monday, May 5/2014 at 3:58 am

I anyways follow a primal diet & would try to stick to saturated fat for cooking as far as possible, but after reading your article I became more convinced to take the pains to remove PUFAs from my diet.

It has been over a month now and I have been cooking only in ghee or coconut oil and using olive oil for salads, and I am glad to report that my skin has become very smooth & soft! No more dry skin :)

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Natalie Redford
Wednesday, May 21/2014 at 4:32 pm

This is such bad news for me! I know PUFAs are bad, I only use coconut and olive in my food. But I had no idea avacado oil and rosehip oil were PUFAs and earlier today I just bought some moisturisers with those oils in! I thought they were good! Could you please tell me if cocoa seed butter is bad? This is the first ingredient in one of the moisturisers and I’m really concerned…

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Claire
Friday, June 13/2014 at 9:40 pm

I posted about this on a popular beauty and skincare forum a few years ago to no avail. EVERYONE disagreed and a few months later I was banned. I actually started the thread with your cod liver oil post. :-)

I ate a ton salmon, olive oil, Chinese food (soy oil) in the 2000s and a bunch of nuts and nut butters my last year faleo (2011) ; I have been following Dr. Peat’s ideas since June 2012. OMG what a difference. I’m 43 and now am guessed as anywhere from 28-37. My waist and legs slimmed down and I have more energy. I have few or no symptoms of menopause etc. Essential fats are a cruel joke! Getting them out of my diet has been a big breakthrough for me; I could never go back to the I used to eat.

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Susana Figueiredo
Wednesday, July 2/2014 at 9:40 am

Hi Claire,

can you be more specific about what you usually eat?

Many thanks,
Susana

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Carol
Monday, August 4/2014 at 10:01 pm

I have hypothyroid+acne and I have been follow Dr. Peat’s nutritional advice for a few months now. I am so excited to find your website, because all of the other blogs I have read that talk about Dr. Peat are nothing like yours! (I am feminine and like to read about beauty products, etc. and all of the other website are so un-relateable to me!) I have been avoiding PUFAs in my diet but I didn’t even think to check my skincare products.. .Do you have any recommendations for PUFA-free cleanser and moisturizer for acne-prone skin with active breakouts/lot of clogged pores?

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