Two theories about the build-up of subcutaneous fat, involving the chemical spermine and the hormone adiponectin, suggest a plant-based diet may help with cellulite.
Images thanks to Lanzi, SUNBEAM VISION via Wikimedia Commons
Gynoid lipodystrophy, known colloquially as cellulite, is the orange peel-type or cottage cheese-like dimpling of the skin on the thighs and tushes of the majority of women. Since it basically results from excess fat storage, attention has turned to spermine and spermidine as potential culprits. And indeed rubbing a spermine-trapping molecule on your thighs apparently results in a significant drop in thigh volume, circumference, and cellulite scores. Spermine was first discovered in human semen back in the 1600's, but only recently quantified in food. Top sources in the American diet: ground meat and lunch meat, such as ham turkey bologna and salami, as well as green peas, which is also the primary source of spermidine, along with cheese, such as American and cheddar. So would eating some cheesey peesey meat casserole make cellulite worse? It's never been tested, but if it did, this could be one of the mechanisms. The reason this study was funded by the National Cancer Institute is because of a concern that this whole class of compounds may increase cancer risk, for example, recently polyamine intake was associated with increased risk of colorectal polyps. The other cellulite theory has to do with the hormone adiponectin. If you biopsy the fat in the gluteal region of women with and without cellulite, there seems to be less adiponectin expression in the cellulitic butt fat, so maybe adiponectin is protective. How do you keep adiponectin levels from dropping? Don't eat a sausage and egg breakfast, which leads to a drop in levels within hours, compared to a vegetarian meal, and switching to a vegetarian diet appears to increase adiponectin levels 19%. They compared a meat-free, egg-free, diet of vegetables, grains, beans, fruits and nuts with animal products limited to a maximum of one portion of low fat yogurt a day compared to the conventional diabetic diet. Though they were made to eat the same number of calories, the veg group lost more weight, lost more waist, lost more cholesterol, more subQ fat, and more belly fat. And subcutaneous fat is what makes up cellulite. So a plant-based diet could be expected to decrease cellulite—but, we won't know for sure until it's experimentally tested directly.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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For more on the adverse health effects associated with the intake of "biogenic amines" (chemical compounds of decay such as spermine and cadaverine) see my videos New Corpse Smell and Carcinogenic Putrescine.
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