Acne from Teenage to Menopause

December 18, 2021

Acne can be an issue that spans many age groups, but is a challenging struggle no matter when in your life you experience it. Since there are foods that can increase acne break outs and foods that can calm the skin, we will dive into the nutritional connection to different types of acne, how hormones and inflammatory foods can affect skin health, and dietary solutions you can use starting today to help yourself, your teen, or anyone else who wants to add more glow to their complexion.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, our topic is all about acne. We plan to discuss the nutritional connection to the acne that your teen may be experiencing, or the nutritional connection to the acne you may be experiencing yourself during perimenopause or menopause. And this type of acne is also typically called rosacea.

Or maybe it's the acne that many people have been experiencing these days from wearing a mask day in and day out because of COVID. We will share the nutritional connection to each type of acne that I just described. As always, there are always foods that can increase acne breakouts and foods that can calm down or prevent acne. So we're going to hit both sides of the spectrum today. Joining me in studio today is Nikki Doering, who is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Nikki has had a variety of positions as a dietician and has a unique ability to understand the struggles that many of our clients have with sugar.

NIKKI: I have to laugh a little bit about the mask acne, because I think I've heard it called like “maskne” or something.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm yep. I've heard the same thing.

NIKKI: I think we've all had a little bit of that. Yes. Good morning, Leah. It's so good to be studio.

LEAH: Yes.

NIKKI: So yes, Leah, I understand sugar cravings professionally and personally. I, in fact, I think sugar cravings really tie into our acne topic today.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: I am well equipped to help clients kick that sugar habit because I've been there and done that. And I know the steps needed to conquer that sugar habit. For me, breaking the sugar cycle is important because I know the harmful effects of eating sugar. Sugar has controlled much of my childhood and much of my adulthood. And it's freeing to finally kick that habit to the curb.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Wonderful. Well, we're looking forward to hearing more about your personal experiences and just what you've noticed with clients, Nikki, and we also have another voice in studio with us this morning. So listeners, you're getting a three for one today. So also joining us in studio is Brandy Buro, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And just like Nikki, Brandy has held some different and unique positions as a dietitian over the years. But we're going to rewind the clock even further back and, and ask Brandy a little bit of how did you even get interested in nutrition in the first place?

BRANDY: Well, thank you, Leah. It's very exciting to be here in this studio with you both today. Good to see your faces. It's been a while; and my first time in the studio.

NIKKI: Yeah, exciting.

LEAH: Love it.

BRANDY: Yeah. So my journey into nutrition started a long time ago. I was very young. I was 13 years old and already trying to figure out how to lose weight. And it really wasn't a vanity thing. You know, I had always been a chubby kid and I had sort of resigned to the thought that that's how I would be my whole life. But you know, when we were school shopping in the plus size women’s section, I was already having a hard time finding clothes that would fit me.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: And when you're 13 and just fitting in with your peers, socially is a challenge, you know.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: Trying to find clothes that fit was really uncomfortable; really hard for me. So I had to kind of take a step back and think like, what am I going to do about this? And at the same time, there were a few family members that were trying to lose weight. So I, I took a peek at some of the, the guidance that they were following. And one of the first things I learned was sugar was not my friend.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: And that was one of the first changes that I made. I started cutting out sugar, sodas, the sugary breakfast cereals, and all the candy that I was snacking on throughout the day, and started adding vegetables for the first time; learned to love them actually. And it didn't really take long to notice the difference, you know, how it made me feel and how I felt with a few less pounds, you know, I had energy to move my body and I felt comfortable in my skin for the first time. And that was really motivating for me to just keep learning what else could nutrition do for my life? And that's how I ended up with a career in nutrition

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: And am really excited to be here today. I never thought that my career would land me in the radio station, but I'm really looking forward to sharing my experience with this topic, acne, because this is something I personally have struggled with my whole life, something I'm still dealing with, but it is something that I've learned to control with food and good nutrition. So I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say about it and sharing a little bit about my own experiences.

NIKKI: Wow. What a great story, Brandy. I, I just love that as a child, a teenager, a young teenager, you were able to establish that sugar connection, cause I certainly did not when I was a teenager and it went well into my 20s and oh my goodness. We'll talk about that another day.

LEAH: Absolutely. Yes. And so it's just, it, it sounds like again, you, you can resonate with a lot of our clients and, and kind of know some of their struggles, whether it's acne or weight loss or some aspects of their health. So it makes you a great dietitian. Yes. So thanks for sharing your story, Brandy.

And last but not least, let me just do a quick introduction of myself. You've heard my voice now for a few minutes. I'm Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian as well. I also had acne starting even in the, in those preteen years. I remember even around age 10, 11, where I really started hitting puberty that that's where, where the pimples started for me. And to be honest, even to this day in my thirties, I have a tendency to have acne prone skin. I am one of those cases that it started in kind of those preteen, teenage years and has kind of continued through my twenties and thirties. So it's something I really need to be cognizant of.

Nowadays, however, unlike in my teens and early twenties, I now have a much different tool set that I use to keep my skin calm and to keep my breakouts minimal. And in the past I have used all the creams, all the, the mattes, the toners, the cleansers. I'd even done many rounds of antibiotics, both oral and topical. And I've used the birth control pill to try to keep my skin clear. And, and I'll be honest and say, none of those things ever clear my skin completely. There were some things maybe that helped here and there, but never really achieve that clear skin.

Now in my later years, I now know that I have, again, a different tool set, and the things that help me control the outbreaks with my skin the best is an anti-inflammatory diet that keeps my gut healthy, an anti-inflammatory diet that keeps my blood sugar balanced. And also I've had to work on a little hormone balance through the years as well. So again, a whole different tool set compared to what I used to have back in my teens and twenties.

NIKKI: That's awesome. I love all those tips and all the things that you went through because I think so many people can relate to what you've, you know, the medications you've tried, the creams, everything. I think when you have acne, you try everything. I think there's young people and middle aged people and elderly people that are hearing you and totally agree; like I've been on all of that.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: And some of it creates more of a problem than it helps too.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: So that, thank you for sharing Leah. And Brandy: thank you very much both of you. So let's start the discussion today beyond, you know, kind of our own personal stories. So let's, you know, talk about acne. So acne, many women experience during perimenopause and menopause called rosacea that, you know, is a flare of the skin, usually redness and it can, acne can come along with that. Preparing for Dishing Up Nutrition, you guys know as listeners, we read books and we do research. And we usually look up current and past research and look up, like I said, in books. And I found an interesting connection to acne women develop in their late thirties or early forties, which I'm right there.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: And so Dr. Lee, he focused on it on hormone changes in his book called What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. And in his book, it, he really focused on androgen production levels remaining relatively stable during those hormone shifts where maybe estrogen and progesterone are decreasing because, and which cause skin issues.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

NIKKI: And that's because when women are in perimenopause or menopause, you know, you're in that phase of life, you're not ovulating every month. And eventually you stop ovulating and the progesterone levels go down and less progesterone or less ovulation, excuse me, leads to less of that hormone, progesterone.

LEAH: Yep, absolutely. So let's put a pin in that for a second, Nikki, and we're, on the other side of break, we will discuss that hormone connection a little bit more. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, our topic is all about act from teenage to menopause. We will discuss foods that increase acne and foods that can eliminate or prevent acne. So listeners, do a check for yourself. If your diet is full of foods and drinks such as soda, milk, bread, white rice, chips, just to name a few, you are more likely to experience acne. On the flip side foods like salmon and raw nuts, full of wonderful fats and anti-inflammatory nutrients, these are the types of foods that help reduce inflammation and prevent acne. And we'll be right back.


Vitamin A supports healthy, clear skin and wrinkles


BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You might be asking, “What are some of the key nutrients that I need to have healthy skin, clear skin, skin that's free of wrinkles?” Well, I would say vitamin A is at the top of that list. How do you get vitamin A? Well, you could do it the way our grandmothers used to and have a healthy dose of liver and onions once a week. Liver’s a really rich source of vitamin A. But I personally think an easier way to get vitamin A is take a couple teaspoons of cod liver oil every day.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. I, I will fully admit even as a dietitian, I know all the benefits of liver and bless my husband and, and mother-in-law, he, my husband grew up eating liver and onions, you know, here and there throughout his childhood.

NIKKI: Oh, good for him.

LEAH: That, yeah, I know, but that is, that is a hard one for me, even as a dietitian. So I definitely opt for the cod liver oil route. And there's, there are lots of cod liver oils, good cod oils out there. We carry a wonderful one that has a nice lemon flavor to it.

NIKKI: Mm-Hmm.

LEAH: And I even give it to my son. My son is three. He takes it right off the spoon. We call it his medicine. And so it's nice that I can combat some of a little of that picky eating with some good omega threes and some good vitamin A and again, like it's not much of a battle in my household. And so when you start them young like that, it, it tends to work out.

NIKKI: I'm sure some of our listeners are like, cod liver oil. And they're probably thinking back when grandma used to shove the spoon in their mouth.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

NIKKI: It doesn't taste like that, I mean, at least our, you know, ours has that nice lemon flavor. So it’s a good alternative.

LEAH: Yep. I've definitely had the fermented cod liver oils before too though. That's a whole new ballgame, but yes, there are some decent options out there nowadays that actually have a very palatable flavor.

The hormone connection to acne and rosacea


All right. So let's, let's tie us back into what Nikki was talking about before we went to break. We were talking about the hormone connection to acne and rosacea, especially for women who are in that perimenopause and menopausal phase of their life. And what Nikki was explaining was once we hit perimenopause, now, all of a sudden we're not ovulating as frequently anymore. And definitely once we, we hit menopause altogether, ovulation stops. So now our ovaries are not making progesterone anymore, and we are producing much less estrogen than we were before. So now these hormones aren't available to buffer some of our male based hormones, our androgen hormones that we women still have in our bodies.

And, but when we don't have some of that buffering effect, now we get that more of that acne, the rosacea, the flares on the skin. And, and androgens, their, it's a class of male hormones. The most, the most common one that we talk about or that people will be aware of is testosterone. So if you need to think about some of those androgen hormones as, as testosterone or, or those couple of testosterone-like hormones in the body, that's what we're talking about.

So when, when we have high androgens, high testosterone levels that are not buffered by progesterone and estrogen anymore, now that can lead to some more of those acne breakouts.

NIKKI: So basically when our hormone levels are changing, it can cause different symptoms. And one of those symptoms is acne.

LEAH: Yep, absolutely. That's a great summary, Nikki. Yep. So what do we do about that? Well, one option is we can use a natural progesterone cream to just help our bodies replenish some of that natural progesterone that now we're missing out on once we get, once we're not ovulating frequently or ovulating at all anymore.

So Pro-gest is just one example of a cream that we carry. It's applied daily to the skin and skin usually clears up or some of that inflammation starts to go down because now we have some of that buffering of these male based hormones. So a little natural progesterone cream can certainly help with acne, but nutritionally, there are many additional deficiencies and excesses that can lead to acne for women in perimenopause and menopause.

BRANDY: That's right. And you know, this is a common problem that I see in clinic all the time. You know, that acne that starts creeping in around that perimenopause/menopause phase in life. And in order to do our best to help our clients through food, we need to stay on top of the research. And one article I just came across was titled Menopausal Acne: Challenges and Solutions. So this was an article published in 2019 in the International Journal of Women's Health. The research supported that theory that menopausal acne is often from hormonal imbalances, but there were some other factors that they took a look at that were also influencing that acne. For instance, stress was a big one, lack of sleep, insulin resistance and the poor dietary choices that could sort of go along with that; and chronic inflammation.

NIKKI: I think this is all, can be new information for a lot of people. I think we always connect acne to kind of our lifestyle, and then we can connect it to hormone, but really like delving in. And then, you know, maybe even the progesterone cream. That's probably new for, to hear for some people. So, so yeah, I like, I don't know. That's really interesting.

Importance of blood sugar control to balance hormones


NIKKI: So when I think of, when I'm working with clients in the clinic, I kind of, I focus on blood sugar management and insulin resistance, and I have to say, I discuss this a lot with my clients and they might even get sick of it, but I think it's so important cause I have dealt with it personally.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: So I find many menopausal women are eating just too many processed carbs for, you know, their stage in life: menopause, perimenopause, and for their health. Basically many women need to decrease their carbs as we get older. I, I just, that's what I've found clinically. We know insulin resistance leads to obesity, which leads to an increase in androgen levels, which we will not really necessarily increase, but just a different level of androgen compared to your other hormones. And we mentioned that a little earlier and kind of a explained all that. And all of this, the insulin resistance and that androgen change, can lead to acne.

And to reduce, so when we're talking about sugars and processed carbs to reduce insulin resistance, it's necessary to reduce the number of processed carbs. So let's just recap. Hormone changes in perimenopause and menopause can lead to those changes in androgen levels compared to our progesterone and our estrogen levels. And also insulin resistance can also change those levels. And so now you kind of have that double hit and poof, you can have acne. So it's important to watch your carb intake.

LEAH: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. And we will, you know, it is time for our second break already, but we will circle back a little bit and do a deeper dive into some of that insulin resistance, processed carbs and things like that. So, so stay tuned. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition.

To maintain healthy skin free of acne and wrinkles we suggest including a tablespoon of natural fats at each meal and snack. These beneficial fats that are good for skin, these are things like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, avocados, and nut butters. And some people may even need to supplement with some of our essential fatty acids, including the omega three fish oils and GLA, which is an, a healthy omega six fatty acid. So two to four softgels of each of these will make a big difference in a lot of people's skin and in their general health. And we'll be right back.

NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. 2020 is just around the corner. We also know that 2020 and or did I say 2020?

LEAH: Yeah, we don't need to go back and relive 2020.

NIKKI: 2022 is right around the corner. I'm sure some of us are like, “Yay!” So we also know that 2020 and 2021 have been hard on people's food choices and their weight. I think we're seeing that a lot clinically.

LEAH: Absolutely.

NIKKI: All three of us in studio and everyone probably can relate. It seems that more sugary treats have really slid back in and more packaged, boxed and prepare foods might be finding its way on your table. So how do you stop eating all those unhealthy foods and get back on track? You know, you, you know listeners that you probably feel better when you eat the Weight and Wellness way. And if you don't know what the Weight and Wellness way is, I highly recommend listening to our next few options to kind of learn what that means. And obviously listening to the show, you've probably heard some tips too.

LEAH: Yep.

NIKKI: We have several ways to help you get back on track.

How to get back on track with healthy eating


LEAH: Mm-Hmm. So one of those ways, a great way to get back on track is to sign up for our Nutrition for Weight Loss series of classes and counseling appointments that start in January. So Nutrition for Weight Loss, it's a 12 week series. So you get lots of chance to practice these new eating habits. You learn, you practice, you learn, you practice. These all start in January. We are offering some classes in person at most, if not all of our six locations or we are still offering some virtual options as well.

And with that series you get individual appointments with a nutritionist as well. So you get to personalize that plan a little bit more. So choose the method in person or virtual, whichever one works better for you. But this is a really great option for so many of my clients. I love meeting with the Nutrition for Weight loss clients and how, just the things that they're learning and making connections in with, from class and what doing then actually carrying that into their home.

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program

NIKKI: Yep, me too.

BRANDY: Yeah. I love those classes. I often find that the why behind the what is so important for sustaining those changes that we're, we're trying to encourage our clients to make.

LEAH: Yes.

BRANDY: But another thing that you could try is one of our cooking classes, you know, we need to know how to make real food in order to make these changes. So we do offer virtual cooking classes that are sort of a demonstration style class over Zoom. And the instructor Marianne is so engaging. She's so entertaining and a wealth of knowledge. She not only teaches cooking skills, but she's really inspiring; just motivating to get us all in the kitchen a little bit more. It's really a win-win experience if you ask me.

Cooking Classes

NIKKI: My clients that have taken those cooking classes love them. And I'm a little jealous cause I usually work during them. So I'm like, oh, I want to take them.

LEAH: Yup, same.

NIKKI: I've heard nothing but awesome, awesome feedback on those classes. So I highly recommend those too. Here is something too that many of my clients do to support their health and to keep them on track with their weight, their sleep and their energy, all very important for a good overall healthy body. They make monthly appointments with me because they often tell me I can focus on healthy eating for about three weeks and then I start losing, you know, steam. And so when you have that appointment every month, my clients tell me I can help inspire them to cook, to keep shopping at the grocery store, to keep and to really help stay on the plan that we've developed for them. And they feel great. They feel better when they have those appointments.

I suggest getting a dietitian or nutritionist that you really can relate to. We all have bios on the website, so you can kind of relate to them and book several appointments. So you have made that commitment to your health.

Nutrition Counseling

LEAH: Yep. And I mean that booking several appointments is helpful for us nutritionists as well, knowing that, you know, we don't have to cover everything all in one appointment or try to, you know, change the world in one appointment. We can do it gradually, incrementally and, and help those clients. Especially if you're more of a kind of learn a little practice, a little, learn, a little more practice, a little more.

NIKKI: That's me.

LEAH: Yep. I, I think that's most of us and most of our clients, it's helpful when you can just break it down, tackle it bit by bit and just kind of keep those recurring appointments, especially when you're just trying to make, make some of these bigger changes with your health and with your nutrition.

NIKKI: Yeah. And you feel less overwhelmed.

LEAH: Yes, exactly.

NIKKI: Because you know, okay. I get to talk to someone, a professional, in a week or in two weeks.

LEAH: Absolutely.

NIKKI: Or whenever your appointment comes up.

LEAH: Absolutely. Absolutely. So each of those options that we just described, you can learn a little bit more about those on our website, which is And if you're still not quite sure, or you're still not ready to kind of, to, to step off the curb there, call us at (651) 699-3438 and let's just chat about it. Our front desk staff is wonderful. They will take you through those options, help you troubleshoot and they'll help you decide what's the best option for you and your health and where you're at and your journey.

So back to our topic at hand. We've been talking about acne ranging from, from teen years, all the way up to perimenopause, menopause and even beyond. And before we went to our second break, Nikki introduced that concept of insulin resistance, how we need to take care and watch out for some of those more processed carbs and how that ties into acne and, and can contribute to even more of those hormonal imbalances that we do get once we hit perimenopause and menopause.

And Nikki, I a hundred percent agree this is where the blood sugar balance and insulin resistance piece is where I start with 99.9% of my clients as well. And I shared a little bit in my story earlier. That was a key kind of cornerstone from my personal story too, was learning how to balance that blood sugar so that you're not on the blood sugar roller coaster, getting those spikes and dips; because especially when you spike, that's driving more of that inflammatory reaction of the skin.

NIKKI: Mm-hmm.

LEAH: And so these, this is when we talk about things that spike those blood sugars, we're talking about the processed, refined manmade type of carbohydrates. These are things like bagels, waffles, cereal, toast, alcohol, juice, the high sugar coffee drinks that are out there. In my personal background, this would also look like mac and cheese.

NIKKI: Mm-hmm.

LEAH: Or Pop-Tarts, popcorn chicken or chicken nuggets and ice cream. Those are just to name a few things that I was eating on a regular basis, especially in my younger years that I know was definitely not helping my skin situation.

NIKKI: Yeah. I've said on the radio before that I lived on Mountain Dew.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

NIKKI: It like sustained me. It was my life blood as a teenager. And I definitely had acne. I was definitely on the creams. I probably was on antibiotics. I don't remember, but I'm sure I was on all of that.

LEAH: Yep. Mm-Hmm. Yep. So that diet with, you know, this diet that revolves around carbohydrates, especially those refined carbohydrate can lead to that insulin resistance or basically like insulin just doesn't respond in our bodies the same way. And that causes a lot of people to gain weight. And for many, it shows up on that skin. It shows up as those acne flares.

BRANDY: Right. And Leah, I think, you know, the first few foods that you rattled off: I think that sounds like an ideal weekend brunch or breakfast a lot of people are probably just sitting down to. So before you get too far in your plans, I think I'm going to just suggest something a little better. How about a couple of eggs with a couple of turkey, sausage patties with some sautéed spinach or maybe green beans? And then to round it out, add a half a cup of sweet potatoes, a little butter on top. Sounds delicious. Right?

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: Well that spinach and the sweet potatoes contain just the right amount of complex carbs to give you some focused energy to get through your day, but not so many carbs that it's going to spike your blood sugar, which could potentially lead to that insulin resistance.

NIKKI: I find that many of my clients that are going through perimenopause and menopause grew up eating just kind of how we discussed, you know, those high carbs, high carb, processed food diets. Again, I was there with you. I mean bagels. Oh my gosh. Yes. That was me. Love those. These diets were high in sugar, low and fat. Yep. Low was my deal too; no fat. I don't want any. And after many years of eating this out of balance diet, they, you know, they developed and I too developed insulin resistance.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

NIKKI: …gained weight and had acne breakouts. And again, I was there with you. I'm a dietitian. I know that eating plan. It's like I was there. So I, yeah, I can, I can totally relate. So I can totally also relate to changing your diet. The way you've eaten for many years takes effort and takes time. Again, personal experience. It does take time and I've learned that from myself. And I've learned that from helping people clinically kind of navigate those changes in their diet.

It often can take months, which some people's eyes are probably bugging out of their heads right now; months! And then sometimes it even takes years to really break down that insulin resistance around the cell, but if you stick with it and eat whole foods, and we all know those are the healthiest, what our body was designed to eat. Once we break down that insulin resistance, hormone levels balance out. So think these, you know, acne and other perimenopause, menopause symptoms decrease, weight loss can occur, and cravings lessen.

Again, I find clients who make consistent, who consistently make those monthly appointments are more successful and they get that support that they need. They get that ongoing education and they get that commitment to their health. And we dietitians and nutritionists can help with that; all of those. So highly, highly recommend getting those appointments.

LEAH: Yep. So, and another thing to think about is perhaps some of this insulin resistance, the weight gain and the acne, these are actually warning signs in our body. This is, this is the light going off in your car saying like, hey, if we don't fix something, worse problems are going to happen down the road. So insulin resistance, weight gain acne can be warning signs that if we don't change some of the food choices now, now we're a little more predisposed to have heart disease down the road, or even type two diabetes down the road.

And Brandy, I know you have, you have a couple of examples you wanted to share. We have about a minute before we go into break, but why don't you even just give us a little bit more information about, okay, what's that next thing that we're looking at in clinic?

Sugar and processed foods can cause acne


BRANDY: Right. Of course. You know, in addition to these hormonal balances that we're trying to correct, trying to return back to some normalcy, of course there are foods that are going to cause inflammation that can trigger some of these acne flares. What are those foods? Well, we've already been talking about it: sugar. Sugar and processed foods are very inflammatory. And I get a lot of clients that come in, a lot of teens that are drinking soda, those fancy coffee drinks loaded with sugar or energy drinks.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: And we can get back to that on the other side of this break.

LEAH: Yes. Those liquid calories, those liquid sugars are especially troublesome. Yep. We'll do some more details on that after break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Being a teen during the pandemic has absolutely been difficult. And if your teen has acne like I did as a teen, it can really affect their self-esteem and anxiety level just to name a few. I encourage you and your teen to make an appointment with one of our dietitian or nutritionists, just to help your teen make better food choices so they can look, but also just feel better on the inside. You can call us at (651) 699-3438, or you can even set up an appointment online at I will be right back.

Nutrition Counseling


BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Do you have an older neighbor or maybe a grandparent and you want to get them something special for Christmas, but you know they don't need another thing on the shelf that's already too cluttered. Well, let's try to think a little outside the box. How about a bottle of Magnesium Glycinate or the healthy omega three fatty acids? Perhaps they're dealing with some heartburn and a little acidophilus could help ease that. You could get all of these at our website, or at any of our six locations. Another great idea would maybe be a gift certificate for one of our classes. We've got tons of ideas. And I think the gift of health is always the best.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm; absolutely.

BRANDY: So before our break, I was about to dive into some of the foods that can cause inflammation and trigger some of that acne. Sugar and processed foods are some of the biggest offenders. And a lot of the teens that I work with that come in with acne, trying to figure out how to kick the acne, they're drinking so much soda sipping on it all day, or maybe they're into those fancy coffee drinks loaded with sugar. A couple of the favorites that are popping up are the peppermint mocha. Just for some perspective, there's 63 grams of carbs in one of those coffee drinks.

LEAH: Wow.

BRANDY: 16 teaspoons of sugar.

NIKKI: That's a lot.

BRANDY: And you know, maybe coffee isn't your thing. A lot of teens I see are doing energy drinks.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm yes, yes.

BRANDY: So I, I looked up the nutrition facts for one of the most popular brands. I about fell off my chair. 87 grams of carbs in one can.

LEAH: Oh wow.

BRANDY: Like 22 teaspoons of sugar.

NIKKI: That’s a daily amount for some of our clients of carbs.

BRANDY: It's true. And just to put that into perspective, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than six teaspoons a day. So some of these coffee drinks and energy drinks, you're getting double, triple in just a drink in one beverage. Yes, it's crazy.

LEAH: Yep. And some people, once they know that information, once they can see that amount of sugar or they know the amount of carbs or they know kind how that compares to what the recommendations are out there, some people are able to make those changes to their eating and lifestyle habits when they're kind of forced to, to face that musical a little bit.

A lot of times people need to make a personal commitment to just cut down or cut out sugar, even. So depending on where that motivation comes from or that why behind you want to make those changes, you know, if you start to see the results of, of eating that more as type of diet high in sugar, so you start seeing the acne or the wrinkles or other signs of inflammation in your body, ask yourself, do I need help to give up or cut down on the sugar so that my face clears up? And, and some of our teens just like our adult clients need sometimes weekly help or every other week just to make, you know, get a little momentum, get some steam behind them to, to make some of these changes.

And again, acne just might be one of those, those first warning signs that other health problems will follow if we don't correct course-correct right now.

NIKKI: Yeah. Everything comes out in the skin or a lot of things come out.

LEAH: Absolutely.

NIKKI: So let's dive deep into other inflammatory foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that processed sugar, which we've been talking about, increases inflammation, overheating. So overheating when I, I think of hot flashes or warm flashes, redness and swelling.

LEAH: Yep. So that, that inflammatory reaction can come from one, one thing that we've been talking a lot about: the refined carbohydrates, these are things like breads, pasta, cereals, chips, cookies, crackers. A lot of these things are made with refined wheat flour. They’ve had the fiber removed out of them. So it causes that blood sugar spike. So you spike that blood sugar, spike that insulin, which causes inflammation, which causes those acne flares. These products also typically contain gluten, which is an inflammatory protein found mainly in wheat, but also in barley and rye, a few other grains. And for a lot of our clients who again are already experiencing a lot of inflammation, gluten can be a particularly nasty little protein that we say like, let's get that down or minimize or, or completely cut out for a while just to see like how far we can get you healed.

Trans fats and refined oils cause inflammation


BRANDY: Yeah. So, well, I'm going to give carbs to break for a second. Cause there are a few other foods that can cause inflammation. And one of the worst offenders is trans fats and refined oils. A study published by the National Institute of Health reported that trans fat can cause inflammation. The harmful effects of trans fats are so well known that the FDS actually prohibited manufacturers from incorporating them in processed foods. So that was supposed to take effect in 2018. So we all were thinking, “We don't need to worry about trans fats anymore.” But I just read in the newspaper in the business section recently that Cargill one of the biggest producers of refined oils has a goal to remove all trans fats. The lead sentence in this article said, “Cargill plans to eliminate trans fats from its edible oils over the next two years in line with a World Health Organization's goal of phasing the heart unhealthy substances out of our global diet.”

NIKKI: I think that is a huge quote. And I mean, I think this is why nutrition can be such a confusing topic for people because hey FDA said no more after 2018, but all of us have seen on our labels those trans fats listed and the ingredients because are in such a small amount, but they're still harmful.

So I'm going to talk about another and it's on that same line: fats. Another inflammatory food to avoid: vegetable oil. So do you still have that big bottle of vegetable oil in the cupboard? I can picture it because I had it for years.

LEAH: Oh yeah.

NIKKI: These are refined vegetable oils that are very inflammatory and often get used at restaurants, obviously at home and fast food. And vegetable oils, just to clarify, those are, you know, vegetable or they're oils, typically a blend, those inflammatory oils, such as soybean oil, canola, cottonseed and corn oil. They're very, just damaged in their processing. So let's beat up on French fries a tiny bit; inflammatory, usually fried in these inflammatory fats, the vegetable oils. Two French fries turns into one teaspoon of sugar. 14 French fries turns into 7 teaspoons of sugar. So you have a double whammy. You have the inflammatory fats and the inflammatory processed sugar.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. I know when I always throw out with that little statistic in classes that I teach, that one always grabs people's attention.

NIKKI: Who eats 14 fries?

LEAH: Yeah. Or, or the two French fries. Like two French fries and we're already at a teaspoon of sugar. I know. I always get kind of the deer in the headlights; like again, whenever I, I use that example when I'm talking to clients or teaching a class.

Alcohol is inflammatory


BRANDY: Yep. Yeah. That's bad news. And another hard pill to swallow is alcohol; very inflammatory and something we really need to be careful about. The Harvard Medical School has linked excessive alcohol consumption with inflammation. And I think that's one of those things that you can see an immediate inflammatory response; maybe after the second class of wine: rosy cheeks, hot face.

NIKKI: Totally.

BRANDY: That's inflammation. And you can see it. You can feel it.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. And then, and then the day after again, you see some of the, as other signs of inflammation, like the puffiness, the brain fog as your, as your body is working to try to break down that alcohol, process it out of the body and get rid of it. So there, there are other inflammatory components in the diet that if you're still struggling with acne, we would love to talk to you about. But we do have to wrap up our show for today. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. Thank you so much for joining us today and have a fabulous day.

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