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The Clear Skin Diet Hardcover – Sep 1 2007
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About the Author
Alan C. Logan, ND, FRSH is a board-certified naturopathic physician licensed in Connecticut. He graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Purchase, and as valedictorian from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. As an invited faculty member of Harvard's School of Continuing Medical Education, he lectures in the mind-body medicine courses offered at Harvard. Co-author of Your Skin, Younger (Sourcebooks, 2010), he is the only naturopathicdoctor to have his commentaries published in the four leading dermatology journals - Archives of Dermatology, the International Journal of Dermatology, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and the British Journal of Dermatology. Widely regarded as one of North America's leading cosmetic nutritionists, he has been featured in health and beauty magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, W, Life & Style, as well as CTV and Global National Canadian television.
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This textbook explains very clearly, and with excellent scientific background, exactly how diet and lifestyle influence the inflammatory and hormonal systems in our bodies to aggravate acne. The Western diet and lifestyle that predisposes to acne is also linked to obesity, diabetes and hormone dependent cancers down the road. For the past year, I have been recommending that acne patients avoid sugar and dairy. More recently, I have been recommending this book to all patients and/or their parents who see me about their acne. The endless antibiotics prescribed for acne lead to unfavorable to changes to bacterial flora, increase antibiotic resistant organisms, and may lead to other changes. I have seen firsthand how acne has now become a problem in much earlier and later ages than before. I see children whose acne starts at 9, adults who have acne well into their 50's. Many of these changes are not a result of genetics but of diet and lifestyle, particularly diets that are high in sugar, dairy, and unhealthy fats.
The diet in this book is not restrictive. The recommendations in this text are also appropriate for anyone trying to lose weight or improve their cardiac risk factors. I strongly believe it is only a matter of time before there is more proof that other inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis would benefit from similar dietary and lifestyle modifications. The only fault I can find with this book is that it is a little textbook-like. The authors explain every study that supports their points - very good for those who are skeptical, but it can make it a bit of a slow read.
I do realize that many of my patients will not pick up this book - they come to me to get a pill, a quick fix, and move on with their lives. I now take the time to explain the dietary and lifestyle contributors to acne and recommend this book, even though it really slows down the clinic. If even a small proportion of patients will make positive lifestyle changes as a result of my recommendations and this book, I will be quite pleased! Recently one of my patients left me a message - her skin improved within weeks of following the dietary changes. I was absolutely delighted to hear it.
The book then goes into foods that prevent acne, mostly centering around those with omega-3 fatty acids. The basis for the argument is omega-3's anti-inflammatory effect.
However, up to this point, it is still information pieced together from various credible sources and made into a sort of "acne theory."
The book then goes into a dietary plan and list of foods for avoiding acne.
To my great dismay and confusion, the book confirmed my worst expectation: this is a general "eat organic, exercise, widen your diet to more exotic food" plan, based on health fads and feelings more than science.
After condemning milk and dairy for half the book, the author then recommends CHEESE as an anti-acne food! He then goes to list all kinds of flavors, with a caveat of "May worsen acne in some people" at the end!
"May worsen acne in some people?" For God's sake, you just spent half the book convincing us that dairy was the Devil's own conspiracy to create acne!
Then, he recommends Olive, Sesame, and Canola oil, all of which are Omega-6 dense, omega-3 scarce oils, which he just spent the last 100 pages trying to convince you were the Devil's second conspiracy!
The rest of the list is made up of common sense fruit and vegetables, with exotic carbohydrates such as hummus and quinoa thrown in for good measure.
Now I agree that avoiding dairy helps avoid acne, and also that eating large amounts of Omega-3 fats provide many health benefits, as did both before I read this book. I'm just disappointed in the consistency of the author.
The recipes at the end are great templates to make exotic meals one might not normally think of, but are just generally healthy foods, not some kind of special anti-acne food concoction. In fact, many of them use milk and omega-6 dense fats!
If one is a complete novice to health issues, I would recommend this book, however most people who have spent some time researching on the internet will not find anything new, and may actually find contradictory information.
Perhaps a version 2 is in order?
If you are looking for a superficial book that simply breezes thru what foods to eat and what to avoid, this is not the one. It does provide that, lots of menu plans, recipes etc and an easy to understand plan for diet, but the book is so much more. Lifestyle factors which are also important in acne are well represented. There is lots on the history of why dermatologists turned away talk of, or even consideration of a diet and acne connection. There is a depth to the book not typically found in pop health books. Based on the science and research studies covered in this book, there is full validation for anyone who has ever thought that diet, stress and acne are all interconnected. The book validated my own experiences with acne and provided information on some key nutrients that have helped. The authors write in easy to understand language, even in sometimes complex areas, especially in the area of omega-3 fatty acids and acne. Helpful resources yet no product salesmanship.
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