Rosacea, Eczema, Acne and Psoriasis

May 25, 2019

Two nutritionists explain surprising triggers for these common skin issues. Listen in to learn what may be causing your symptoms, and learn how to reduce those symptoms through improved diet, nutrition and supplementation.  

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Processed Convenience Foods and American Obesity

SHELBY: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Shelby Hummel. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist with a master's degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition. Joining us this morning as our co-host is Teresa Wagner. Teresa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Now Teresa, before we get started discussing our topic of skin health and skin problems, I thought maybe we could share that new study that came out about how the processing of foods can affect how much a person eats and, of course, result in more weight.

TERESA: Yes, there was a really fascinating study Shelby and I are going to share with you. And it was conducted by the researchers at the National Institute of Health. This study focuses on one of the many reasons we have an epidemic of weight problems in the U.S. The study found that when people's diets consisted primarily of convenience foods, which are the most highly-processed food, those people tended to overeat and gain weight. I think the study points to one of the several reasons that three-fourths of the U.S. population are either overweight or obese.

SHELBY: Right. And three-fourths of the U.S. population are struggling with their weight. Now, sadly, over the last 60+ years, these ultra-processed foods have come to be the foods that most people are eating. And to be honest, those are the types of foods that most people crave. Now, listeners, do you remember back in the 1950s when those TV dinners were becoming so popular?

TERESA: You know, Shelby, I don't really remember that, but you know what I love is the advertisements that they had with the ladies with the dresses and the aprons and the bows in their hair serving their family the TV dinners.

SHELBY: Or what about in the early 1970s, those ultra-processed Hamburger Helpers appeared on many dinner tables. And then of course we think of fast food. You know, the first fast food restaurant started in 1921 with White Castle. Right in the Midwest. But McDonald's was right behind them in the late 1940s. It's the rise of those ultra-processed foods that corresponded with our growing rates of obesity, which led many to consider the fact that these ultra-processed foods had a huge role in the increasing weight and the increasing waistlines of so many Americans.

TERESA: You know, as a dietician, I was taught that processed foods caused weight gain. And they caused this weight gain because they were high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. However, this study is different. It found that there is something else in highly processed foods that causes people to over eat and gain weight.

Processed vs Real Food: High-quality Research From the National Institute of Health

SHELBY: Yeah, it's kind of interesting. The study conducted by the National Institute of Health, or we know them as the NIH right out in Bethesda, Maryland. The NIH found that when people eat a diet of highly processed foods, they are driven to overeat and gain weight, compared to those people eating a diet composed of the whole foods or those minimally-processed, simple foods that our grandparents and our great-grandparents were eating. The NIH study was looking at the participants who ate the highly-processed-food diet. And those people gained two pounds in two weeks. Whereas the participants eating the real food, the minimally-processed foods lost an average of two pounds in two weeks. Now, the interesting thing that I found in reading the clinical research is that they had 10 men and 10 women. So, 20 people who devoted a month to live in a residential research facility.

TERESA: Wouldn't that be nice? *Laughs* I'm ready to check in.

SHELBY: But it is. They were able to look at those comparisons of the foods that they were eating. And this study carried out by the NIH is truly one of the first randomized controlled trials showing that eating a diet made up of ultra-processed foods propels people to overeat and gain weight. Now we've had this idea that processed foods and junk foods and things like that have contributed to weight problems, but in human research it is very hard to do high-quality research because most of us aren't willing to live in a research facility long-term. And so I think the study is landmark. We're going to see a lot of great information coming out of that.

TERESA: Yeah, and just the Shelby is saying that study was so highly controlled. It used two different diet plans, and each plan contained the same total amount of calories, fat, protein, salt, sugar, carbs, and fiber. So it would be interesting to be on that team who had to design those menus.

SHELBY: Right.

TERESA: The participants on the processed food plan ate more food, while the participants on the real food plan ate less. And not because it was a lack of taste, but because they were satisfied, and they didn't crave more food.

SHELBY: Right. And that's actually one of the things that the researchers wanted to control in this well-formulated, well-designed research study. They wanted people to look at the food and understand that it was appetizing. It's not that they were eating less of the real food because it was bland and boring. They actually controlled for that. And so some of the highly processed foods that we think of, especially here in the US, would be things like breakfast cereals, maybe those fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts, even our canned fruit with heavy syrup or the corn syrups, white bread, all of those frozen meat products. I'm thinking like sausages and hot dogs and those sorts of things. And of course we look at pre-made sauces, right? These dips and these condiments. But it's pretty obvious that the candy and the chips and even those TV dinners and prepackaged desserts, those also would be considered ultra-processed foods.

TERESA: Right. And the basis of the study showed that even though each group was fed the same number of calories, fat, protein, salt, sugar, carbs, and fiber, those eating the real-food diet lost weight, and those following the processed-food diet gained weight. And if we think of, like, the sweet potato chip versus an actual sweet potato or half a cup of sweet potato. I don't know about you, Shelby, but I can't stop eating those. I mean, it's just like the Lay's potato chips. You can't just have one. And so you want to eat more and more and more, and you don't really get that satiety cue.

SHELBY: You do when you're eating the real food. Having that half a cup of sweet potato, you put a little butter on it, it tastes great, but you can stop.

TERESA: Right. Or people always say, "Well, when I go out to eat, I order sweet potato fries because that's healthier. Right?" And I'm like, "I don't know. I don't think that many people get that satiation factor from eating fried sweet potatoes." You know, having the real sweet potatoes instead of the chip or the fried version of that. Now upon seeing the results of the study, I thought it was interesting. They said, "The takeaway for the consumers is we should try to eat as much real food as we can." I love that.

SHELBY: That sounds like a great takeaway.

TERESA: Yeah. So as you just heard, this landmark study supports our Nutritional Weight and Wellness way of eating real food. We say it on Dishing Up Nutrition, real food first, not just for weight loss, but for long-term health. So, we love seeing that research.

SHELBY: And because most people have been eating a diet of highly processed foods for most of their lives, we have children who are growing into teens, who then grow into adults, who don't even know what real food means. When we talk about that, they're like, "Well, I mean, I'm not eating fictitious food, right?" So it will take a lot of education and, honestly, a lot of desire on their part to change because we're not saying that these processed foods don't taste good. It's just that they're not good for us. We want these people to eat these real foods so they can regain their metabolism and be healthy.

TERESA: Right. And that's interesting because I was just finishing up a corporate series. So one of the things that we do as nutritionists, is we want to educate people. And so we have opportunities to go out into corporate offices and teach them about how food affects how they feel. And when wrapping up a 12-week series with our group last week, a few of the gals stayed after, and they said, "Wow, I learned so much. I wish I knew this information earlier. I wish I could have made these changes earlier." And so I encourage you to think about it. What is it that you would be willing to learn and implement to make real food more of a priority in your household?

SHELBY: I'm sure that's something that you're teaching your kids.

TERESA: I'm trying, I'm trying. Whether they like it or not! *Laughs*

SHELBY: *Laughs* They will appreciate you.

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TERESA: Eating real food is what we teach and how we actually eat at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And there's just another thing I'd like to say regarding eating a highly-processed-food diet. There is a connection between today's topic about skin health and skin problems and eating those highly-processed foods, which I'm sure our long-time listeners are aware of. The connection is that eating a highly-processed-food diet not only affects weight gain, but quite often it can be a major cause of skin problems as well as many other health issues that we have today.

SHELBY: Right, right. And Teresa, I definitely want to give our listeners an idea of where we're going today. Our topic and our approach for today is to really help people understand how the food that they eat affects their rosacea, their eczema, maybe even their acne, whether it's teenage acne or adult acne. And if we have time, hopefully we can touch on a few bits of about psoriasis, but we're going to go to our first break shortly and then we'll dive into rosacea right after.

The Anti-acne Diet

Have you heard there is actually an anti-acne diet? And if so, are you saying, "Tell me more!" This diet often indicates that acne is the direct result of what a person is eating. Now I find it shocking that today 8 out of 10 teenagers experience acne, as do many adults. Wow. What could that be connected to? What is part of the anti-acne diet? One large part of the plan is to reduce or eliminate foods that are high in sugar or those foods that turn into sugar very quickly. I'm thinking bread and pasta, cereal, sweetened beverages like juice or soda, of course, candy and baked goods. Avoid those processed carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar because that drives up inflammation and drives more of that acne. When we come back from break, Teresa will share another food group that may cause those acne breakouts. We'll be right back.


TERESA: Before break Shelby shared that high-glycemic foods that contain sugar and processed carbs increase blood sugar levels and can lead to acne. Another food group that may cause acne is dairy products. So milk, cheese, yogurt, those yummy coffee drinks. So it's understandable that other foods like pizza, which is our teens' favorite, often leads to acne.

SHELBY: Right. Before we went to break, we were talking about those high-sugar foods that increase the inflammation. Now we know dairy can be another food group that can increase inflammation, especially as it relates to skin health. And so like we mentioned, 8 out of 10 teenagers are experiencing acne today. Could it be those high-sugar beverages, those coffee house drinks that have both sugar and dairy in them? Just something for you parents of teenagers to think about. Could there be a real food connection? Before we went to break, Teresa and I were sharing some information about processed foods and how that negatively affects our metabolism and our weight gain. But truly our topic today is talking about how skin health is influenced and connected back to our nutrition.

So Teresa, let's jump right into skin health and skin problems. The first one that comes to mind that many of my clients suffer with is rosacea. I find that many people don't really understand rosacea. It's actually a very common skin condition that affects one in 20 people. In general, it's mostly affecting those people over the age of 30. Now, women with fairer skin may notice that flushing or that redness. Women specifically in that age range of 30 to 50 seem to be the most affected by rosacea. As I was preparing for the show, I was surprised to see that women in general are more frequently diagnosed with rosacea, but the symptoms related to rosacea tend to be more severe in men.

TERESA: Oh, that's interesting.

SHELBY: So how would we know? What are some of the symptoms of rosacea?

TERESA: If you have rosacea, I'm sure you are well aware of what the symptoms are. But for those of you that don't know, the main symptoms are redness of the face, flushing, dryness, pimples, bumps, and enlarge blood vessels. Rosacea can also cause burning or itching or swelling of the skin. So it sounds really uncomfortable.

SHELBY: Right. And to me it sounds like we're talking about a lot of inflammation. So if a client comes to me with rosacea looking specifically for nutritional solutions, of course as a nutritionist, and I'm sure you being a dietitian, Teresa, you look at food first. Certain foods may trigger a flare up of that rosacea, so I always look to find the foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body. We know that an inflammatory response in the body is going to inflame and irritate the skin as well.

TERESA: And like Shelby was saying, as dietitians and nutritionists, we know that certain foods are considered inflammatory foods. The first and most common one is sugar, and that's any refined sugar as our processed carbs. I have also noticed that oftentimes gluten grains or any flour products for that matter create inflammation and sometimes even more than just straight up sugar.

SHELBY: Right. So what I'm hearing you say is sugar is inflammatory. Gluten grains can be inflammatory. But eating those processed gluten-free products could be inflammatory as well.

TERESA: Yes, exactly. And just to clarify, I'm not saying that sugar is okay, but I am saying that cereal, bagels, English muffins, the cereal bars, cookies, cakes, pizza, they're all really inflammatory. So I ask my clients—and they're not always so happy...

SHELBY: I was going to say, what's the response?

TERESA: I ask the clients to give up these processed foods and switch to real food, in hopes that it will be worth it.

SHELBY: Right. Because what I hear you saying Teresa is that sugar equals inflammation. And processed carbohydrates equals more of the skin inflammation.

TERESA: Right.

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How to Switch to Eating Real, Non-inflammatory Foods

SHELBY: Now you may be thinking, what does "Switch to real food mean?" What does that really mean? And I'm sure in counseling sessions, Teresa, you're not just saying, "Cut the processed food and come see me in a month." You're really helping them establish other behaviors. So as nutritionists, what it means to be switching to real food... Instead of snacking on chips, we may encourage you to eat a sliced apple dipped in some peanut butter. That would be a really yummy afternoon snack. Rather than eating bread, maybe use that romaine lettuce or leaf lettuce as your sandwich. I know there are even some fast casual restaurants where you can order a lettuce wrap. Rather than drinking the soda, drink water. Rather than margarine, eat real butter on your vegetables.

TERESA: And once you prefer that, those vegetables taste so much better with that real butter. Rather than using a mayo with soybean oil, upgrade to maybe an avocado oil mayonnaise or a cold pressed mayonnaise. I know I love the avocado mayonnaise. I make chicken salad or tuna salad with it, and it tastes so yummy. And you can put it in that romaine leaf.

SHELBY: Right! Yeah, exactly. Get that healthy fat in there. Rather than having cereal or a Pop-Tart for breakfast, switch to eggs, cooked in butter, and maybe have a vegetable on the side. Now that's a place where people really struggle to visualize how they could get vegetables on their plate, at breakfast. I came in with a mug of tomato soup for breakfast this morning and you were like, what are you eating? *Laughs* But you know, maybe for those of you who are wanting to cook your eggs in butter, maybe throw some spinach in that pan or maybe have some zucchini or some tomatoes in there. Those are all real food ideas.

TERESA: Yes. And like Shelby was saying, we want to switch to those real foods because processed foods are inflammatory. And real foods help to reduce that inflammation. One food that has been shown to reduce inflammation just happens to be in season right now. Can you guess what it is, Shelby?

SHELBY: I can because I love it. Asparagus.

TERESA: That's right. It's anti-inflammatory, so we want to be eating that. Saute it up with some coconut oil, some butter, maybe some avocado oil, maybe all three. And it's so delicious.

SHELBY: Right. And Teresa, I know you're going to share some other anti-inflammatory foods when we get back. I know our listeners love to hear some real food ideas, but we have to go to break. If you're just tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Starting the week of June 3, 2019, we are offering our very popular Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series. That's a 12-week series that begins at all seven of our Twin Cities Metro Nutritional Weight and Wellness locations. This is a real food plan that is totally in line with the research that we shared from the National Institute of Health. For weight loss, skin health, and overall health, eat real food and avoid the ultra-processed foods. The bagels, the bread, the cereal, the juice, the popcorn, the pretzels. Those are all out, but real vegetables are in—and lots of vegetables. We even teach you creative ways to cook those vegetables like that yummy asparagus, because we want you and your family to enjoy that food. Now, as I've mentioned before, it's so nice when research supports our Nutritional Weight and Wellness eating plan. If you have questions about Nutrition 4 Weight Loss or want to sign up, you can call our office (651) 699-3438 or you can go online to We'll be right back.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Like Shelby had said before the break, the week of June 3, so it's coming up pretty quick, we are offering our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series at all seven of our locations. We understand knowing the eating plan or diet is not the challenge. It's making the healthy choices at the family reunion, the graduation parties, and at the cabin. We realize most of you are trying to make those healthy choices and need weekly support to gently say, "No thank you," to your aunt's famous chocolate chip cookies or to your grandma's blueberry pie with her homemade ice cream. Coming to class weekly gives you that group support, and meeting with your nutritionist, with your two complimentary consultations, helps you to strategize for these special situations and for your cravings. Register today or by Monday, May 27, and save $50. Call (651) 699-3438 or go online to

SHELBY: Now, Teresa, one of the reasons why we are so passionate about helping people find real food options is because, as we've been discussing in the show, real food is our connection to a good metabolism. We're talking more about real food and how that supports good skin health, good energy, good moods. As we were discussing some of the processed foods and inflammatory foods before break, we identified that sugar and dairy and processed carbohydrates could be very inflammatory. But we know that lots of real food options have the ability to reduce inflammation in our body. And so we started off by talking about vegetables, because we know vegetables are our largest group of anti-inflammatory nutrients. And we talked about asparagus as being a powerhouse to reduce inflammation. What other foods are you talking about with clients related to skin health? If they want to improve their rosacea, what would be some other foods?

TERESA: One of my favorites, and I think it's a lot of people's favorites, is salmon. It has been found to reduce inflammation because it's so rich in those Omega-3 fatty acids, and those naturally reduce inflammation. So another vegetable, going back to vegetables, are sweet potatoes. They are anti-inflammatory, while things like pizza, which we've already mentioned, are very processed carbs compared to a sweet potato. Pizza is very inflammatory. You have the combination of gluten and dairy, if those are inflammatory for you. So my clients find it so interesting when they finally realize that the foods that slow their metabolism promote weight gain and trick us into eating more, like that NIH study that we were talking about, of the same foods that also create inflammation that can lead to rosacea, which is inflammation of the skin. So, it makes our job pretty easy, right, Shelby?

SHELBY: Exactly!

TERESA: We have the same prescription for everything. *Laughs*

SHELBY: Nice connection. And I like that idea of a prescription of a real food plan, right? Eat those real foods. And I often tell people, you don't have to try to juggle 15 different things because you have 15 different symptoms. As we're eating real food, that helps to reduce inflammation systemically. We reduce inflammation throughout the body. Now many of you may be wondering, if I changed my diet, will it really help? Now, the National Rosacea Society found that the adults that were willing to make changes in their diet experienced 95% fewer symptoms. Those are amazing results, but you have to be willing to make the change.

Avoiding Foods Made with Bad Fats

TERESA: Other foods you may want to avoid are foods that are made with bad fats. The fats that are made from vegetables: soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil. So this of course means that you'll want to avoid almost all French fries because they're almost all fried in soybean oil. And if we even think of how they're fried—they're put in this hot oil that's heated up and cooled down, heated up and cooled down, over and over, making for a very damaged fat. So French fries, while they're very tempting, they're also dangerous.

SHELBY: Right. Finding that those vegetable oils, specifically the ones that you mentioned, Teresa, the soybean oil, the corn oil, the cotton seed oil, and even the canola oil, create inflammation for our skin. But we're also finding they create inflammation in our joints, inflammation in our brain, inflammation in our vessels. So those damaged fats are kind of a baseline recommendation that we're giving people to get them out of your diet. They're very junky oils.

Now research has also found that diet soda is another junky food source because of those artificial sweeteners. Diet soda with artificial sweeteners can flare up rosacea, as well as any alcohol. Now I know I'm not making any friends out here on the airways telling people that their wine is going to flare their rosacea, but over 50% of rosacea sufferers have identified wine and other alcoholic beverages as triggers. Now hot beverages can also trigger rosacea flares. And sadly for many people really spicy foods fit into that category as well.

TERESA: Here's another interesting fact. A large clinical study out of Denmark found that a high number of adults with rosacea had a gastrointestinal disorder. Such as celiac disease, irritable bowel disease, ulcers, or even a bacterial overgrowth. So you may have to look at your intestinal health for your skin health. Eliminating your gut problem can help to eliminate your skin problem.

SHELBY: I think that's probably a new thought for a lot of people: what's going on inside my intestinal tract, my gut, so to speak, is reflected in my skin health. Some of you may be thinking, "Well, you're nutritionists and dietitians, so how can you help me?" I'm sure it comes to no surprise that research has found having rosacea negatively affects the self-esteem of those people who have rosacea symptoms.

How to Heal Your Digestive Tract With Good Fats

That being said, we can help you heal your digestive system. We can help you determine your triggers, specifically those foods that you may be sensitive to. And we can also help by recommending key supplements to reduce inflammation. For the first step, I always look to hydrate the skin from the inside out. We want to hydrate with both filtered water and good fats. Now let's start with the fats because I always tell people that's the most fun. You get to eat real butter. We're encouraging you to incorporate a tablespoon of those good fats like butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or even using things like organic ghee or duck fat. You can get creative in the kitchen if you want to, but really the basis is those real fats that are going to hydrate our tissues.

Next, I suggest that you add an essential fatty acid. Now what does "essential" mean? Essential just means that our body is not able to make that fat unless we are eating the foods or supplementing with those fats. Now, the essential fatty acid known for hydrating the skin is called GLA or Evening Primrose Oil. I typically suggest adding 4-6 soft gels daily. And then we consider some other supplements to hydrate the skin and to reduce inflammation. So in addition to the GLA, 4-6 of those, we would look at the Omega-3 Fish Oil as another anti-inflammatory supplement. So, adding 4-6 of those softgels of the Omega-3. Also consider looking at adding Cod Liver Oil. One to two teaspoons of Cod Liver Oil also gives you the vitamin A that we need. Lots of people here in the Midwest are supplementing with vitamin D, with 3,000 to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3. And then sometimes we talk about vitamin C as another great way to support skin and the immune system, 400 to 800 milligrams of vitamin C. So I know that sounds like a lot as we're listing those out, but just remember that's a general guideline. We've been doing this for a while. And we've honed in on things that can help people with inflammation. Each person has their own unique problems and therefore requires their own individualized plan. So if you're someone who has been struggling with rosacea or other inflammatory skin conditions, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of the nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We have helped lots of people, and so we can take that guesswork out of it for you.

TERESA: Okay, Shelby, I think it is time to switch our conversation from rosacea to eczema.

SHELBY: Ooh, another inflammatory skin issue.

TERESA: Eczema is often called atopic dermatitis. You might be thinking, what does diet and nutrition have to do with eczema?

SHELBY: Well, I'm going to cut you off there, Teresa. I'm sorry. I would love to keep going on eczema, but we've got to go to our last break. When we come back from break, we'll talk a little bit more about eczema. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are taking a road trip or driving up north to the cabin or even planting your garden this weekend, it may be the perfect time to listen to a Dishing Up Nutrition podcast. We have been talking about nutrition on air for 15 years or more. So you're sure to find a podcast topic that speaks to you. For example, did you know a road-trip size bag of licorice contains 90 teaspoons of sugar? Or what about this one? Did you know that coffee acts as a stimulant releasing dopamine, which can deplete that dopamine for when you really need it. For most people, a cup of coffee is okay—we're talking an eight-ounce cup of coffee, not the 20-ounce. So an eight-ounce cup of coffee can be okay, but several cups throughout the day can deplete you of the necessary dopamine to have positive moods and focus. You can find Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts on our website at Or, you can subscribe to our Dishing Up Nutrition app for free on iTunes and Google Play. There are lots of different ways to get real food nutrition. We'll be right back.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. With this long weekend ahead, I encourage you to think about your long-term health and how what you eat affects your quality of life. I believe that we all want to enjoy life to the fullest for as long as possible, and research constantly supports that a diet of grass-fed meats, lots and lots of vegetables, and beneficial natural fats is key to our best health, key to disease prevention, and key to good healthy skin. And we know a special person who is living that message, and we want to say happy birthday to Darlene Kvist this weekend. Our fearless leader and owner of Nutritional Weight and Wellness.

SHELBY: You guys probably know her, too. She's been co-hosting Dishing Up Nutrition for the past, I think, 15 or 16 years. You probably wouldn't know that she had another birthday just by looking at her. We hope you have a special weekend, Dar. Thanks for all your knowledge and for sharing your passion with all of us and all of the listeners, not only here in Minnesota, but throughout the US and in the world.

TERESA: Happy birthday! And next weekend, join Cassie and Kara as they discuss how the gallbladder impacts digestion.

Exploring the Anti-eczema Diet

SHELBY: Right. So before we went to break, we had switched over from rosacea to eczema, so we're bouncing between two very common inflammatory skin conditions. Now, Teresa, as we think about eczema, how would you describe eczema to someone who hasn't had that before? What are some of the symptoms related to eczema?

TERESA: Well, I'd say irritated skin. Obviously it'd be red, itchy a lot of times. Sometimes it's kind of scaly, perhaps, and uncomfortable. And a lot of times it shows up in creases of skin, or the folds or the bends of your elbows, or the backs of your knees. As people who are always looking at topics through the nutrition lens, we think that an anti-eczema diet is very similar to an anti-inflammatory diet. And I personally became very interested in learning more about putting eczema into remission when I had an area on my neck that flared up. I never experienced skin problems before. And then suddenly I had this itchy rash on my neck. First I went to the dermatologist and she prescribed a steroid cream. But when I looked at the possible side effects, one of them was thinning of the skin. I mean, I'm 40 and one of the last things on my list of things to do is to thin the skin of my neck.

SHELBY: I'm laughing because she shared this with me before we came into the studio and it's like, yeah, I understand that you don't want to.

TERESA: I'm not sure that's going to come back. So as I researched more about eczema, looking for a more natural way, I learned that there are several types of eczema, and over 30 million people in the US suffer from it. So I'm not alone. The most common is atopic dermatitis or a atopic eczema. Eczema is an inflammatory condition, just like arthritis is an inflammatory condition. And I know that sugar is inflammatory. And so fortunately I'm a pretty clean eater, so I don't really eat a lot of sugar.

SHELBY: Right. We see it over and over again here on Dishing Up Nutrition that sugar is inflammatory, and it is basically detrimental to every part of our body, detrimental to our health. So even though we continue to share this message, that skin inflammation can be tied back to sugar, that joint inflammation can be tied back to sugar, some people really have a hard time letting go of their sugar habit.

TERESA: Yes, it's really hard. It's very addictive. So I, in an effort to clear this up, cut out the little sugar I was eating. But eliminating sugar didn't stop the eczema from appearing on my neck. And for many clients though, their eczema does actually clear up quite a bit when they take out sugar from their diet. And you know, other inflammatory spots of their body clear up too, so if they have achy joints and things along that line. I thought, well okay the cause of my eczema is not sugar. And then I thought, well I know research studies indicate that grains and particularly gluten grains are inflammatory. I personally haven't intentionally eaten gluten in a long time, but for those of you that may not know, gluten-containing foods are things like bread, pasta, bagels, cookies, cereal. But I do eat other grains. So just to see if grains were the culprit, I totally cut it out of my diet.

SHELBY: Did the Eczema on your neck go away when you cut out those other grains that you were eating?

TERESA: No. And I was really frustrated. So I decided I needed to eliminate another ingredient, which this time was dairy. So no more sipping on my kids' protein shakes that contain yogurt. No more bites of cheese here and there, no more cottage cheese. And even the protein powder I was using to make my morning shakes was a dairy-based protein powder. And at first I thought giving up dairy was not going to be a big deal, but I found it to be really hard and that it was. But in the end it was worth it because that red itchy spot on my next slowly began to fade away.

SHELBY: Now listeners, as you consider eliminating those inflammatory foods, start with eliminating sugar. Let's knock the cheap sources of sugar out right away. The sugar sweetened beverages, the junk food, those quick hits of sugar, like the cereal, the muffins, the donuts, the cookies, the brownies, the cake, you know, all of those things that we think of as junk food. Get rid of all of the processed foods in your home. Now, you don't have to go through with a big garbage bag this weekend, but start to think about how you can upgrade the food that you're eating. This may be a challenge, but hopefully Teresa and I and the other nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness have convinced you that it is worth it. The next foods to eliminate for better skin health are those gluten grains. It could also be soy products or dairy products. For some people, we've got foods like eggs or nuts or even shellfish that are creating more inflammation in the skin. I would suggest eliminating those inflammatory foods one at a time. That way it's a little bit more systematic. If you want to do something similar to what Teresa did, keep hitting it until you finally understand what is creating more of that inflammation. Sugar is always where we would want to have people start. As a nutritionist, sometimes I find that peanuts are the culprit, or for some people pine nuts can be inflammatory. Sadly eggs are another food that you may need to eliminate. I know they're a really quick protein, but—

TERESA: Yeah, I had eliminated that for a while too.

SHELBY: Some people can still eat duck eggs. I don't know if you tried duck eggs or quail eggs.

TERESA: Nope. I didn't. *Laughs*

SHELBY: Some people just can't tolerate those chicken eggs. If you or your child has eczema, come and schedule an appointment with any of our Weight and Wellness nutritionists or dietitians. We can help you navigate those food sensitivities, help you with putting together an elimination approach.

TERESA: One that's more systematic that can help you find the answer.

SHELBY: Right. So not only are we talking about taking foods out, but we're helping you write out what you could eat for breakfast. This would be an anti-inflammatory lunch. If you wanted to have a snack, you could do something like a protein shake with a non-dairy protein powder, like a paleo protein. We can help you understand not only the food foundation, but then from there we can talk about some key supplements. So, Teresa, as you think about working with clients, what are some of the first things that you look at with inflammation of the skin?

TERESA: I think we can go back to our motto and that is having a food-first approach. So we go to those real, natural foods—healthy proteins, healthy natural fats, and carbohydrates like vegetables. And focusing on getting a nice balance of all of those foods.

SHELBY: So talking about hydrating from the inside out. For some people, the food-first approach is a wonderful baseline and that can knock out some of their symptoms. For other people, they may need some supplements to support their skin health. For wrinkles, what would you tell people in 10 seconds or less?

TERESA: Water. Think of the grape and the raisin, right?

SHELBY: *Laughs* Which do you want to be, a grape or a raisin?

TERESA: Right! Water, water, water.

SHELBY: Right, and then talking about those essential fats we had mentioned: the GLA, the Omega-6 fats like Evening Primrose Oil.

TERESA: And Omega-3 fatty acids as well.

SHELBY: Exactly. Now, 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. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks for listening. I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend

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