I’m sure when you think about television shows that help you learn about health and living a better life, you immediately think of shows like Dr. Oz, The Doctors, and…
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?
Yes, you heard that right. Good ol’ “triple D”.
For those of you who haven’t seen it (and haven’t figured it out from the title), this is a show where the host, Guy Fieri, travels around the country visiting people’s favorite dive spots.
As you can imagine, they are not serving up “healthy fare”.
There are lots of giant sandwiches, tons of fixins, mammoth pizzas, regular-sized “comfort foods”, and even some items that are more on the gourmet side.
Some chefs are really bringing it these days.
Basically, delicious fare, but mostly not intended for a healthy lifestyle.
I enjoy the show and like to learn about the different places he travels to, so I’ve watched a lot of it over the years, even when I was vegan.
Believe me when I tell you, there’s not a lot for vegans on that show.
Anyway, as part of the show, Guy will sit down with diners in the restaurants and get their take on the foods they are eating. But the more I watched, the more I began to notice something similar among the patrons. Many beet red noses, beet red cheeks, etc.
After a while of seeing so much of the same thing on the same show, I started to wonder. Is there a common denominator here? I’m seeing the same thing at the same type of establishment, over and over and over again. What is it and what might be causing it?
It seemed pretty clear to me that it’s rosacea.
At first I wondered why so many people in these similar environments would have rosacea of all things.
As a years-long vegan, of course my first instinct was to think “oh, those silly meaters!”
Of course, that was total nonsense.
So what could the reason be?
It didn’t seem right that it would be the meat, or even the vegetables they were eating. No reason I could legitimately think of to give credence to either of those two causing the rosacea. There was, however, one common food category often consumed on the show that caught my attention.
Refined carbs and sugar. Of which there is plenty on that show.
These are the two items I believe are driving the worst health outcomes we see in our society today.
Not only the worst outcomes, but the largest source of medical care expenses, in my opinion.
Want to drive down the cost of health care? Good luck if those two remain a staple in our diets.
But back to the point at hand. So what if that is my hypothesis? I’m just a layperson with no medical credentials. My opinions and gut feelings are not necessarily facts.
So the question became is there any evidence in the scientific literature?
It turns out there may be some science behind it after all
I guess intuition is still worth something!
It turns out one of the causes of rosacea, and perhaps a very prevalent one, might be small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO. Some studies have estimated that almost 50 percent of those with rosacea also have SIBO. One small study found that number to actually be 100 percent when it came to ocular rosacea.
If SIBO can cause rosacea, then it stands to reason that eliminating SIBO should also affect rosacea. Let’s dig further to see if there is any merit to this.
First, in a study published in a 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California-San Francisco found 78% of test subjects to have cutaneous lesions completely resolved when treated with a pharmaceutical antibiotic.
A 2008 study out of Italy and published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology tested the same antibiotic’s ability to resolve cutaneous lesions in rosacea sufferers and found similar results. 20 out of 28 patients who received the antibiotic saw their cutaneous lesions completely cleared and six of the remaining eight saw great improvement.
The placebo group, on the other hand, saw 18 of 20 patients have no change whatsoever, while the remaining two actually saw their condition worsen. When this group was switched to the antibiotic, SIBO was eradicated in 17 cases and rosacea completely eliminated in 15 of those.
Perhaps most importantly for this analysis is the prevalence of SIBO in rosacea patients compared to those without rosacea.
The Italian researchers found 46% of the rosacea subjects had SIBO, compared to only 5% of their healthy control group.
Okay, so maybe there is something to this theory after all.
But what does any of this have to do with refined carbs and sugar?
Refined carbs and sugar, in my opinion, are the prime suspects in creating an imbalance in gut flora to begin with. And exacerbating those issues once they are there.
Bad bacteria need their own fuel to survive and thrive, and that fuel is sugar. They love sugar and have to have it.
But what about refined carbs? What do refined carbs metabolize into in the body?
You guessed it. Sugar.
These two types of food are constantly feeding the colonies of bad bacteria, causing them to grow and multiply, taking over territory where our good bacteria ought to be, and sending even more signals to the brain to get more fuel.
And, once in this state, your gut is now the perfect breeding ground for something like rosacea (among many other things). Perhaps rosacea is our bodies’ way of letting us know something isn’t right on the inside.
Getting out of a cycle like that once you are in it is tough, but necessary. And not impossible, mind you. It can be done and, wow, when you do it’s a game-changer.
So, is eating this type of food a sentence?
But if you make eating refined carbs and sugar a habit rather than a special treat, you may be feeding some unfriendly cohabitants in your gut that have their best interests in mind instead of yours.
We all want a nice rosy glow, but not rosacea.
My advice? Enjoy “triple D”, maybe even enjoy some of those restaurants from time to time, but at the end of the day make sure your food choices have your best interests in mind.
Your whole body will thank you.
Thanks as always for being here!
Sources: https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(08)00155-9/fulltext#sec2 https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(12)02330-4/abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18456568 https://www.news-medical.net/health/Rosacea-and-Small-Intestinal-Bacterial-Overgrowth.aspx https://www.facingacne.com/treating-bacterial-overgrowth-relieve-rosacea/ https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-rosacea-basics#1 https://bodyecology.com/articles/is-rosacea-connected-to-your-gut-health
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