October 25, 2009

Swedish diet and good skin

Swedes eat a lot more animal products than other nations, especially before the anti-fat hysteria that began in the late 1970s, but even after that they haven't fallen as much as the US and UK have for tofu, green-only salads with non-fat dressing, and piles of pasta.

One obvious health benefit is their stature -- they're overshadowed only by the Dutch (who also gorge on animal products), and stand one to two inches taller than Anglo people in the US and UK. Another is penis size: Swedish men have the second-biggest members, just below the pate and cheese-eating men of France.

What about the benefits for women? Sweden certainly has done well in the Miss Universe competition, especially considering its tiny population to draw contestants from. They've done far better than England, and on a per capita basis they've done better than the US. Stereotypes abound about how beautiful Swedish women are, while just the opposite stereotype holds about their English and German contemporaries.

More specifically, Swedish women seem to have really nice skin compared to similar ethnic groups. Pay attention to the skin on the brunette's legs in this ABBA video (hit the HQ button):

Now, the blond is 25 in that video, so her skin tone isn't surprising. But the brunette is 30 years old and still enjoys some pretty taut flesh -- bouncy enough that she can successfully sport a micro-miniskirt after passing the big 3-0. I don't think this is a "good genes" effect, since her face -- despite having nice skin -- isn't so hot. Contrast this with someone like Halle Berry: she had nice skin at 30, but she had nice everything at 30 due to her good genes.

You see lots of females like the brunette from ABBA, but only when they're teenagers: they have skin to die for, and all over, even though they may have plain or ugly faces. So, what we see here is more like a slowing of the aging process, not the robustness of good genes to all manner of environmental insults. If you want to extend young adulthood into your late 20s and 30s, ditch the grains, starches, and sugars, and pile on the eggs, fish, and cheese.

For those interested in the mechanism, I may put up a more in-depth post sometime, but briefly, the key is to avoid sugars and get lots of vitamin A. When a sugar smacks into a protein, a freakish fused glob results, so that the protein can't do its job anymore. These reactions are more likely to happen if there are simply more sugar molecules bouncing around your bloodstream. In particular, the proteins that give you good skin -- collagen and elastin -- can get screwed up by sugars fusing with them. By lowering the level of digestible carbs, you lower your blood sugar, and so lower the damage done by these reactions.

Vitamin A's primary role has nothing to do with vision, despite all the hoopla you heard as a kid about carrots being good for your eyes. It does do that, but mostly vitamin A maintains the proper functioning of your epithelial cells -- the ones on the "surface" (including the lining of your digestive and respiratory tracts). That includes skin. In fact, the most potent anti-acne drug -- accutane -- is a vitamin A derivative. You can only get real vitamin A (retinol) from animal products, whereas the stuff you get from vegetables (the caretinoids like beta-carotene in carrots) is a precursor that your body very inefficiently converts into vitamin A.

For the real deal, you have to eat liver -- that's far and away the most concentrated source. Take cod liver oil if you are unfortunate enough not to like the taste of pate or braunschweiger. It's fat-soluble, so animals also store some in their fat, such as eggs, the fat left on muscle meat, and dairy products. But it's not a ton, so you really have to make sure you work some form of liver into your diet.


  1. "I don't think this is a 'good genes' effect, since her face -- despite having nice skin -- isn't so hot. Contrast this with someone like Halle Berry: she had nice skin at 30, but she had nice everything at 30 due to her good genes."

    Without ruling either option out, isn't it possible that the brunette has "good genes" for skin tone and "bad genes" for facial attractiveness?

  2. That's plausible, but I think when you collect all the pieces together, it's less plausible than the diet story.

  3. I agree with everything you are saying but there's also sun-damage that comes in to play and the more north you go often the nicer the skin. That is of course unless you are darker skinned and then the effects of the sun seem to be much less apparent.

  4. Could diet have any effect on stretch marks?

  5. I wish they still made music like this. That song is a study in pop-hooks. Those gals from Abba could sing like songbirds.

    Perhaps a way to successfully get others to try the paleodiet is to explain this example to them concerning inflammation:

    Question: Would you continue to use a skin cream (or hand cream) that inflammed the skin it was put on and made it puffy and pink?

    If not, why are you eating foods that make your internal tissues puffy and pink? If bread, pasta, nightshade veggies, and sugar inflame you from the inside out..............then why are you eating them?

    Inflammed skin is going to age faster. I think anyone would agree to that, and I think the skin-cream example Ive come up with is easy enough for everybody to understand.

  6. You sure that Agnetha is 25 in that video? Video from 1983, her vintage = 1950, so 33? Or is the video actually from 1975?

  7. Did you know that Sweden also has one of the highest rates of ovarian cancer in the world, and this has been directly linked to their extremely high consumption of high-fat dairy products?

    Ovarian cancer is not easily detected in the early stages and is very hard to treat successfully (ie. complete remission).

    I'd much rather be alive than have nice skin!!

  8. Much of what we see in human societies nowadays are unconscious collective self-fulfilled prophecies. All the social indicators of superiority in Swedish people as well as other Scandies/Nordics are nothing short of a "White god" perspective of civilization at large (yes, just like the Aztecs, whose civilization competed and possibly overachieved Europeans scientifically, upon the arrival of the Spaniards), that grants them the peak of all achievements. Since they don't reproduce in excess and actually do so in a very methodical way (different from poorer cultures where reproduction is random and shapes itself as an expression of the despair of the hopeless), they haven't done so in a way that will be more evident in science, arts, or sports, yet it is only a matter of numbers. This also transpires in physical appearance (and yes, even in penis size. There are studies that prove that diet and environment influx manhood endowment; e.g. recent abundance of cases of macropenises in Murcia, Spain, and Israel). Growing up with the entitlement to be happy, loved, and wanted determines the destiny of individuals. The "tyranny" of the genes can be easily overthrown by the right 'nurture', so I agree with the theory of the diet. The fact that Americans, amongst which mentality (dreams ultd., the right to pursue individual happiness) overruns the dictatorship of genes, achieved so much (in spite that their Scandinavian ethnic component is minimal) is a clear indicator that genes alone don't determine our destiny -unless we let them.

  9. Abba aren`t worth listening. Stupid songs, ugly girls, feminine guys, disgusting ringing voices.
    Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Svartsyn, Morbid Angel, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity are far more better.


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