Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?

Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?
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Should we be concerned about the pimples, cadmium, and “colonic crunch” associated with sunflower seed consumption?

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A recent observational study on acne reported a “statistically significant relationship [between] acne severity and dietary factors such as chocolate [and] dairy products”—both of which I have videos about. But this surprised me: sunflower seed consumption.

When I think sunflower seeds, I just think good whole-food source of nutrition found to lower cholesterol levels as much as almonds, which is pretty good. There are, however, right and wrong ways to eat them. If you sit down and eat a pound of unshelled sunflower seeds, just eat them with the shell still on, you can end up corked, with “a fist-sized mass of shredded sunflower seed shells.” How could a doctor diagnose such a thing? By the “colonic crunch” sign, of course. Sounds like a breakfast cereal served in hell. But, rather, it’s when you palpate “a large crunchy rectal mass.” I’ve got a picture for you, of course.

Can end up “a sharp, thorny mass,” which is why the so-called “sunflower seed syndrome” has been described as “a prickly proctological problem,” lamenting that “[p]eople who consume health foods occasionally fall into the trap of believing ‘if some is good, more is better.'” It’s not the amount, though; it’s how they’re eating them: with the shells still on. That’s why “the syndrome is uncommon, unless the patients are children [who don’t know any better] or adults who are either impaired or have no experience with eating sunflower seeds.”

Most cases involve younger children, but here researchers describe a “psychologically sound” 13-year-old, stressing “the importance of the role of the parents [to guide] their children…about the potential problems associated with the ingestion of [too many] unshelled seeds.”

You can overdo even shelled seeds, though. Because of just the nature of sunflowers: they’re good at drawing the naturally-occurring heavy metal cadmium out of the ground. So, sunflowers end up with higher levels than most foods, even if grown in relatively uncontaminated soil. Though people who consume large amounts of sunflower seeds don’t seem to suffer any untoward effects, or even end up with detectably higher cadmium levels, here they defined large amounts as greater than an ounce a week, which is like a handful—about 150 seeds.

The World Health Organization recommends staying below about 490 micrograms of dietary cadmium a week. Even if you ate a handful a day, you’d be well below that, but you may get as much as 36 micrograms a day from the rest of our diet. So, I think one handful a day of sunflower seeds is a reasonably safe upper limit.

Yeah, but will it give us acne? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. Yeah, but who’s going to do a randomized, controlled trial of sunflower seeds and acne? Nobody…until, now.

After all, “consuming sunflower seeds is a very enjoyable way of participating in a clinical trial.” Fifty young adults were randomized to eat sunflower seeds—or not—for a week. In the control group, the acne severity index stayed about the same, but in the sunflower seed group, they got worse. This translates into about three extra pimples in the sunflower group versus about one extra in the control group. The researchers conclude that sunflower seed intake appears to aggravate acne; however, further evidence may be needed before “ban[ning] sunflower seed intake in patients with acne.”

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Image credit: National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

A recent observational study on acne reported a “statistically significant relationship [between] acne severity and dietary factors such as chocolate [and] dairy products”—both of which I have videos about. But this surprised me: sunflower seed consumption.

When I think sunflower seeds, I just think good whole-food source of nutrition found to lower cholesterol levels as much as almonds, which is pretty good. There are, however, right and wrong ways to eat them. If you sit down and eat a pound of unshelled sunflower seeds, just eat them with the shell still on, you can end up corked, with “a fist-sized mass of shredded sunflower seed shells.” How could a doctor diagnose such a thing? By the “colonic crunch” sign, of course. Sounds like a breakfast cereal served in hell. But, rather, it’s when you palpate “a large crunchy rectal mass.” I’ve got a picture for you, of course.

Can end up “a sharp, thorny mass,” which is why the so-called “sunflower seed syndrome” has been described as “a prickly proctological problem,” lamenting that “[p]eople who consume health foods occasionally fall into the trap of believing ‘if some is good, more is better.'” It’s not the amount, though; it’s how they’re eating them: with the shells still on. That’s why “the syndrome is uncommon, unless the patients are children [who don’t know any better] or adults who are either impaired or have no experience with eating sunflower seeds.”

Most cases involve younger children, but here researchers describe a “psychologically sound” 13-year-old, stressing “the importance of the role of the parents [to guide] their children…about the potential problems associated with the ingestion of [too many] unshelled seeds.”

You can overdo even shelled seeds, though. Because of just the nature of sunflowers: they’re good at drawing the naturally-occurring heavy metal cadmium out of the ground. So, sunflowers end up with higher levels than most foods, even if grown in relatively uncontaminated soil. Though people who consume large amounts of sunflower seeds don’t seem to suffer any untoward effects, or even end up with detectably higher cadmium levels, here they defined large amounts as greater than an ounce a week, which is like a handful—about 150 seeds.

The World Health Organization recommends staying below about 490 micrograms of dietary cadmium a week. Even if you ate a handful a day, you’d be well below that, but you may get as much as 36 micrograms a day from the rest of our diet. So, I think one handful a day of sunflower seeds is a reasonably safe upper limit.

Yeah, but will it give us acne? You don’t know, until you put it to the test. Yeah, but who’s going to do a randomized, controlled trial of sunflower seeds and acne? Nobody…until, now.

After all, “consuming sunflower seeds is a very enjoyable way of participating in a clinical trial.” Fifty young adults were randomized to eat sunflower seeds—or not—for a week. In the control group, the acne severity index stayed about the same, but in the sunflower seed group, they got worse. This translates into about three extra pimples in the sunflower group versus about one extra in the control group. The researchers conclude that sunflower seed intake appears to aggravate acne; however, further evidence may be needed before “ban[ning] sunflower seed intake in patients with acne.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

That was as surprising to me as the Does Cocoa Powder Cause Acne? revelation. Here are some more about the effects of various foods and diets on pimples.

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80 responses to “Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?

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    1. In her books, Dr Terry Wahls recommends soaking sunflower seeds and other nuts to remove chemicals and other undesirable compounds and start the germination process.

  1. I have watched the videos on dietary intake of cholesterol and saturated fat but am
    even more confused now which one of these is mostly responsible for ill-health: the
    cholesterol intake from food or the saturated fat intake from food? It seems so far
    that dietary intake is less of a concern, and maybe even of very little concern, and that
    saturated fat intake is the harmful component. Any clarity and guidance on this would
    be appreciated.

    1. Hey Bev- the long and the short of it is that it doesn’t really matter whether it’s
      the saturated fat or the cholesterol. They come as a package deal in meat, dairy, and and fish. They are always found together. It’s mostly saturated fat that increases serum or blood cholesterol which “According to William C. Roberts, editor in chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, the only critical risk factor for atherosclerotic plaque buildup is cholesterol, specifically elevated LDL cholesterol in our blood.” So getting away from dietary cholesterol will improve your health because you’ll be avoiding sources of saturated fat.

      Interestingly, the whole plant food sources of saturated fat (there aren’t many) all come packaged with loads of fiber which is inherently blood cholesterol lowering. As long as it’s whole plants and not processed oils you can go ahead and fill up!

    2. It can be confusing, Bev, but part of the problem seems to be this “either/or” attitude, instead of understanding that BOTH cholesterol and saturated fat are responsible for ill health. Some of the newer research does seem to indicate that dietary intake of cholesterol may not play as big a role in cardiovascular risk as what we originally thought (but it is still very much of concern) and that saturated fat may play harm our health even more. They so often go hand in hand–high cholesterol often being “packaged” with saturated fat.The goal should be avoid both, not focusing on just one. Check out these remarks on cholesterol by Dr. Greger: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/trans-fat-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-tolerable-upper-intake-of-zero/
      “To lower our cholesterol through diet, we need to avoid three things: trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Trans fats are mostly in junk food and animal products.
      Here are the top food sources of cholesterol-raising saturated fat. That quarter-pounder doesn’t come in until eight. It’s cheese, ice cream, chicken, then pastries, pork, reduced fat milk, and then our burger.
      Where is cholesterol found in the American diet? #1’s not beef. It’s eggs and chicken, and then beef, cheese, pork, and fish before getting to cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and ice cream.”

      1. Just a note on trans fats incase anyone isn’t aware. Trans fats are considered dangerous in any amount and are only found in animals or animal products unless vegetable oils are hydrogenated (a chemical process done in a lab… I saw a few people confused on that) which is the reason trans fats can also be found in some plant foods. From my understanding, often vegetable shortening is made of hydrogenated oils if not all of the time.

    3. just to add to Ryan’s helpful comments, the 2015-20 US Dietary Guidelines state

      “The Key Recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day is not included in the 2015 edition, but this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns. As recommended by the IOM,[24] individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.”
      https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/

      It is also worth remembering that the human body makes all the saturated fat and cholesterol it needs. There is no requirement to obtain these things from the diet.
      https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10490/dietary-reference-intakes-for-energy-carbohydrate-fiber-fat-fatty-acids-cholesterol-protein-and-amino-acids

    1. I very briefly toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds (in a dry cast iron skillet), turn off the burner, splash with some tamari while stirring (to distribute the tamari and keep the seeds from sticking to the pan). So good! I especially love them atop a salad.

    1. omega 6 (from whole plant foods) is essential for health. When I wasn’t getting enough, for the first time in my life I was having issues with acne, and issues with my hair and I believe hormonal issues as well. Omega 6 from whole plant foods aren’t bad and aren’t what was correlated with the western diet being too high in omega 6 and getting very little omega 3, it was based on the typical diet rich in refined foods and animal products. Whole plant foods like nuts and seeds which are high in omega 6 on the other hand, have actually shown to improve health and be anti-inflammatory.

      TG posted something under a video not too long ago (I don’t remember which it was) that said something about new findings suggesting that omega 6 from plants acted differently from that found in animals (something I’d suspected for a while), sorry I don’t remember where, the link, or the details.

  2. I guess more so the question of mine is, is dietary cholesterol harmful, or is it
    more so the saturated fats? I have been told that dietary cholesterol is of way
    less concern, maybe none, as long as sugar and saturated fats are limited.
    Is this paleo’s-preaching, or is there actually data that makes the above true?

    1. Bev,

      Since whole unprocessed plant foods don’t contain cholesterol, eating a whole plant food diet eliminates the worry about dietary cholesterol. Regarding saturated fats, again a whole plant food diet with plenty of variety should give the optimum balance of the different kinds of fats. I follow Dr Greger’s “Daily Dozen”, which is based on the latest science, so I don’t worry about getting too much saturated fat. For those people with a specific existing disease, I imagine one would have to tweak the WPF diet in a few special ways. For example, if one has clogged arteries, some nutritionists advise cutting down on all fats, even plant food fats.

      1. Hal:
        You wrote “……whole unprocessed plant foods don’t contain cholesterol,…”

        Plant foods do contain cholesterol but only in extremely small amounts.

        1. Plants do not contain cholesterol. They contain phytosterols, which can be considered a plant version of cholesterol, but this does not act like cholesterol in our bodies when we eat plants.

            1. George, I think if you would read your reference closely, you would find that they are talking about plants making phytosterols (substances chemically similar to cholesterol) which is not the same thing. In fact phytosterol can compete with cholesterol for reabsorption in the intestinal tract, thus potentially reducing cholesterol reabsorption. When intestinal lining cells absorb phytosterols, in place of cholesterol, they usually excrete the phytosterol molecules back into the GI tract, an important protective mechanism. (See: John S, Sorokin AV, Thompson PD (February 2007). “Phytosterols and vascular disease”. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 18 (1): 35–40. doi:10.1097/MOL.0b013e328011e9e3. PMID 17218830.)

            1. Tom, George,

              You’re absolutely correct, plants do have cholesterol. In fact, one of my broccoli plants growing in my garden had a heart attack from producing too much cholesterol. It was my favorite plant, too :-(

            2. But is it really fair to call it cholesterol? Isn’t it phytosterols which are like a plant version of cholesterol which do not even get absorbed in our bodies? Pardon my very brief understanding on the subject. I haven’t looked through the links yet either, so sorry if my questions are answered there.

              1. S: Plants do have the chemical compound known as cholesterol, in addition to other steroids. Please have a look at the sources TG cited and I did.

                1. I will have a look as soon as I get a second, I only have a few seconds right now. If they act so differently in the body though, my point is that is it really so unjustified to say that plants do not contain cholesterol if indeed they do not contain any relevant cholesterol?

      2. Yes, I like what you have to say, but it does not specifically address the question I have
        presented today: is cholesterol from food problematic or is it the saturated fats, and even
        more so sat. fats in presence of a junk food diet. SO many claim cholesterol from food is
        not the issue.

        1. Bev, many claim a lot of things. There’s people who want to believe it because they want to keep eating the foods they’re accustomed to and then there’s people whose huge income depends on perpetuating these beliefs. No plant foods contain cholesterol. Our bodies make their own cholesterol and are not meant to ingest it.

          I was actually just in a health food store and had to suffering hearing an employee talking about duck eggs to a woman, he said “a single duck egg contains all the cholesterol we need in a day”… she paused for a second before he emphasized “but the GOOD cholesterol!”… smh… We need to be very careful in knowing where information is coming from.

          1. I was listening to an interview between Pritikin and John McDougall yesterday and Pritikin said that gall stones are dissolvable with a WFPB diet and that they are made of cholesterol.

            I have so many people around me who went through surgery for that process and I am so excited. I don’t have to go through it ever.

            And I can just pray that my friends and relatives face that condition before heart attacks or strokes, so I can play the Pritikin interview.

            1. On the fat side of what you were talking about, Pritikin quoted the National Cancer Institute as saying that the principal cause of Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer and Prostate Cancer is the singular factor of the amount of fat you eat in your diet. And that Polyunsaturated fat doubles your risk of getting Colon Cancer.

              I paused at that.

              Fat being the number one cause of my mother getting Breast Cancer?

              Never even heard that concept before.

              If I was a person who got angry, that would be one of those things, which would make me angry.

              I am fascinated that I am not angry, that they already knew that type of thing back then.

              I don’t even feel frustrated.

              I don’t process information in a way that leads to anger or frustration very often.

              I think I keep thinking until those types of thoughts work themselves out.

              1. Pritikin was really a remarkable person.

                I am laughing after the interview.

                He was curing so many diseases back then.

                And he wasn’t even taking them fully off of meat or dairy, because he didn’t think people would do it.

                I laughed, because he was asked what people on his diet were eating and it was pizza and pasta and other things, but pizza was still one of his first foods out of his mouth. That fascinates me so much that I am wondering what that pizza looked like. Did he get rid of cheese? I wonder what type of crust?

                Pizza is near the top of the addiction list.

                Replacing pizza with pizza might be the easiest switch I could make for my family.

                1. I am laughing, because I got banned my first round of comments for posting Dr. Greger videos over at John McDougall’s Boards.

                  It is just funny that you asked me to post one of John McDougall’s interviews on Dr. Greger’s board within days of that happening.

                  My mind isn’t back all the way enough to know whether that is genuine irony or the “Isn’t it Ironic” song version of Irony.

                  1. Thank you Dr. Greger for not banning me for that act.

                    If you ever ban me for talking too much, I will understand that concept better.

                    1. Honestly, I want to honor Dr. McDougall right here, because I watched his Pritikin interview and saw exactly where The Starch Solution came from.

                      He took the concepts, which Pritikin demonstrated and he got rid of the animal products.

                      Yes, I got banned from his site, but I actually had just never been exposed to his teachings before and had never heard Pritikin and I love that all of these men have so much information on the internet.

                      I know that John is trying to keep his discussion boards related to his own teachings and that is fine.

                      I am more used to the internet being a free flow of information, and just didn’t understand that I was violating rules and, honestly, I need to not be going on discussion boards and probably shouldn’t be on this one either. I need to fix my mind. That is all I should be focused on right now.

        2. Hi Bev! I see you have already been linked to a few helpful videos, but I would also recommend checking out this article!

  3. Is there an even greater accumulation in sunflower seed butter? This news is not welcome for those of us who have children and teenagers with peanut and nut allergies!

    1. I’ve thought the same thing. I noticed a pattern, too. I actually admin for vegan groups on social media and you’ll get trolls posting articles on why a certain popular plant food should be avoided and is toxic, harmful, etc. etc… What’s funny is it always seems to be the things I notice vegans using more and more of to replace meat and dairy in recipes. There was soy (they did an awesome job attacking that one, gotta admit), then almonds, then cashews, and so on… and it always happens right when things are getting popular. For example, when people started discovering how amazing cashews worked in all kinds of versatile ways, it wasn’t until then when the articles about avoiding cashews started making their way around the internet.

  4. People are completely missing the facts on plants that absorb heavy metals from the soil……..not all of them put those minerals in the seeds those same plants need to ensure survival of the species. Many store them in the roots. Again ASSUMPTIONS are not PUTTING IT TO THE TEST.

  5. “breakfast cereal served in hell” haha

    I don’t worry about heavy metals from whole plant foods unless added through adulteration, always considering your other video plus my own blood results and experience: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/cadmium-and-cancer-plant-vs-animal-foods/

    Never had any issues with acne and sunflower seeds nor acne and cocoa/cacao for that matter.

    This was the first time I heard it confirmed that sunflower seeds helped to lower cholesterol, my uncle found that out by accident.

  6. This video was about way more than acne.

    Laughing at the photos.

    I have no idea if the ones I was eating had shells or not, but I didn’t end up with a mass, so I am guessing the shells were removed, and not by me.

    The word Cadmium caused me to pull out my bottle of Fiji water earlier.

    I am grateful that we don’t absorb it as much with plant products.

    Not sure what types of heavy metals might be in my brain or if Silica in water will be enough to get it out, but I have the edible clay as my back-up, though I am hoping that I won’t have to eat clay.

    I also laughed at the concept of banning sunflower seeds for acne patients.

    I don’t even have a concept of “banning” anything or anyone.

    Is it big in the medical community?

    1. Deb, going by memory, we actually don’t absorb the heavy metals from plants in the first place unless they’re grown in a highly polluted area in which case all the benefits we eat from those same plants outweigh the negative impact of any metals absorbed.

      I personally believe a diet of whole plant foods is enough to chelate us of heavy metals for a multitude of reasons. I know two cloves of raw garlic has been shown to work particularly well in the case of lead, another video of Dr. Greger’s.

      1. Wow, thanks S.

        Have you ever eaten 2 cloves of raw garlic?

        Or do you put it in capsules?

        The Fiji water already seems to be working. I am so much clearer in my mind after just one weekend.

        So all vegetables do it?

        Maybe my improvement is Placebo Effect?

        I won’t be upset if it is.

        I know I ate a whole lot of cheese and baked goods with aluminum my whole life and doing a process, which has been proven in studies to remove 70% to 90% of aluminum and having Dr. Bredesen’s Protocol work as well as it has, it is worth it for me to dot my “i”s and cross my “t”s to make sure it is gone. Aluminum and copper are two things. Mercury from my fillings would be another thing I am hoping to get rid of.

        It is hard for me to process all of this information with the Alzheimer’s, but I am going to drink the Fiji water and I will figure out a way to get that garlic in me. Does it have to be raw? Garlic used to bother me, but I liked Garlic bread. Can I put it in sauce and have it work?

        1. I consume at least 5+ large raw cloves of garlic in my one meal per day. I make it into a dressing (in the blender) of chilies, turmeric root, black pepper, ginger root, kale, arugula, spinach or some other greens, soy sauce, and dilute with tomato juice for my desired consistency. This I pour over my brown rice, black beans & tofu, mixed with the remaining vegetables de jour. Other than that, I have no breakfast and only a slice of watermelon for lunch before going to the gym for a vigorous 3 hour workout. At age 70 this seems to work perfectly for me.

        2. Hi Deb, I’m glad what you’re doing is working for you and I hope you’re able to get those fillings out soon! If it makes you feel any better, you’re still getting less exposure than those eating just a can of tuna!

          I actually don’t think he garlic does have to be raw. Garlic is still good cooked but before we cook it, we have to damage it by crushing and/or chopping to allow the allicin to kick in, I’ve read let it sit for 5 minutes but in one of Dr. Greger’s videos I remember him saying 10 minutes so that’s what I do now. I even do that with raw garlic before I eat it because I think you still need to let the allicin kick in before ingesting. The answer to it needing to be raw or not (which I don’t think it does but you’d have to check) should be in this video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-food-for-lead-poisoning-garlic/

          I actually do eat them raw daily, I find it incredibly easy. What I do is crush/chop them, let them sit, and either just swallow them whole with a meal, or I add them to a smoothie which might sound gross, but with the berries and greens I can’t even taste them. But sometimes some of my recipes call for raw garlic or sometimes I’ll mix them in with a sweet potato instead of using garlic powder.

  7. Sunflower seeds can aggravate acne, yes, no doubt. Over the last couple of years, I did several self-test runs on this by including and excluding them in my nuts & seeds breakfast mix. For the longest time, I tried to get a handle on a skin issue on my cheeks (acne, irritation, flaky skin) in which acne plays a significant role by excluding certain foods from my diet. Excluding dairy products, pepper and chocolate helped somewhat (thanks to Dr. Greger’s video on this!) but didn’t really solve the issue. Excluding raw sunflower seeds did. And as soon as I start adding them, i.e. about 3 days later, the symptoms including acne are back. So, who would have thought that these little power houses are incompatible with the metabolism of at least some of us! I had always looked at them as prime health food, and it was only due to a faint hunch, which I almost refused to follow up on, to test them out for their side effects.

    Many thanks to Dr. Greger and his team!
    I have learned so much from him.

    1. It’s amazing how many processed foods have sunflower seeds or sunflower oil in them. A member of my family throws up after accidentally ingesting some. It took a long time to figure out what caused this reaction, but once we did, we found others in my family with the same problem.

    2. I wonder why this occurs in some people. I use them all the time and never have the issue but then I also don’t get any symptoms for chocolate either. I’ll have to re-watch the video but my impression was that it only resulted in a mild increase in acne, of course maybe it different from person to person.

    1. Yes, Dr. Greger has a video addressing the conflicting opinions on cholesterol and why they exist, I can’t remember the video title for the life of me, does anyone else?

        1. The egg industry is notorious for making blatantly false claims and shamelessly obscuring studies. You have to be very careful where you get your information. These industries are extremely corrupt. You can learn more about the real science on eggs and the hideously deceitful egg industry in some of the videos I posted above, but there are more videos on the topic of eggs here as well. At the very least, it is dangerous to base your conclusions on cholesterol on anything the egg industry has to say.

    2. thanks for the link, but it’s not the video I’m thinking of. In the video Dr. Greger addresses the reasons people have been trying to say that cholesterol may not necessarily be linked to heart disease and explains where that myth is coming from and why it’s incorrect. So far I could only find these videos, I don’t think any are it however they’ll likely be helpful in any case.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-we-know-that-cholesterol-causes-heart-disease/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-cholesterol-patently-false-and-misleading-claims/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/Does-Cholesterol-Size-Matter/

      There’s also his very quick answer to the question: https://nutritionfacts.org/questions/how-does-the-paleo-diet-impact-cholesterol/#comment-528660

  8. I wonder if this also applies to unshelled sunflower seeds?
    I have occasional acne and I do eat sunflower seeds, shelled & unshelled. So I’m going to monitor what I eat. I don’t eat a lot of them but who wants an extra pimple or two!!

  9. Well, even if you believe Campbell’s views on dietary cholesterol, the fact is that he advises against consuming any animal foods whatsoever.

    That means that you will effectively consume no dietary cholesterol since the amounts in plants are so very tiny that it was thought for a long time that plants do not contain cholesterol at all.

    That particular observational study you link to is discussed at the beginning of these comments.

  10. What about B12 acne, since we’re on the subject? It’s a real thing, and I’ve got it. I’m 60 years old, with no dietary vices (vegan, whole plant based diet … ). I see a direct correlation between horrific breakouts of cystic acne and B12 consumption, which unfortunately I have to take. The dosages on the supplements are ridiculous. I have recently reduced mine drastically, but am worried about getting the amount I need. I hope Dr. Greger will address this soon.

    1. You say it’s a real thing, but do you have any evidence that says as much besides anecdotal? I read about that but couldn’t find any relevant science on it. But I also read some people saying that the form mattered, I think methyl B12 is considered the more natural form. I personally did not have this experience, I do take methyl B12 from Garden of Life, but I used to use a lot of fortified nutritional yeast which I assume had the other form and I never had any problems. I’m not saying that my experience makes it untrue for everyone though.
      I have read a theory about why biotin supplements in high doses might cause acne as it may interfere with B5 absorption which controls acne. I don’t think it was put to the test or proven and I only read it from one source. People have made claims about biotin supplementation causing acne though.

      1. B12 is can and does cause acne in some people. Yes there is real research to back up what has been anecdotal until several years ago. There is a wealth of information online about the studies. Please check out just one article explaining precisely why and how B12 and acne are connected. Please read the article by Jennifer Abbasi at http://www.livescience.com June 24 2015.
        There are numerous other articles about the science.
        Of course I am aware that B12 is critical to survival and acne is not life threatening. That is why I am writing here at nutrition facts. I am appealing to the most informed audience in the world. I am not about to go back to animal based food in any form. I am sure there are many of you out there who have successfully dealt with this.

  11. Maybe it’s all the leucine in the seeds.

    Leucine, an amino acid, stimulates the oil-producing glands, says German dermatologist Dr. Bodo Melnik. Dairy products, which are also rich in leucine, have also been linked to acne. (And severe long-lasting acne has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer later in life. Check out the links to Melnik’s work here. )

  12. Have you heard of Baruka nuts (Baru nuts), the latest “superfood” being hyped by a group in California….. supposedly low in fat, 24% protein, full of “anti-oxidants” and sustainably harvested from Brazil. No references or studies of course. Here’s hoping you will get the facts for us!
    Oh, and $1.11 per ounce on Amazon.com

    mack.tyner@gmail.com

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