Does Dieting Make Cellulite Worse?
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Pick up any book that claims to help beat cellulite and you’ll find weight loss at the top of the list of things that are guaranteed to work. New research however, reveals this may not always be the case – at least not for all of us.
A new study published in medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that the majority of women who lost weight had an improvement in the appearance of cellulite, but for some the condition actually worsened.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the improvements were greatest in those women who were the most overweight to start with and had particularly severe cellulite. Those women who lost the most weight and lowered their percentage of thigh fat also saw the best reductions. Unfortunately though, for those women who had a lower BMI to start with, smaller weight losses and no change in the percentage of thigh fat, cellulite actually worsened, possibly because weight loss creates loose skin that make dimples look more pronounced.
John Kitzmiller, co-author of the study, says, “Cellulite is not specific to overweight people but excess weight may worsen the condition. We found that weight loss in overweight patients improved the appearance of cellulite, but for a few it actually made it worse. And although the appearance of cellulite diminished for the majority of patients, weight loss did not totally eradicate the condition. The dimples appear to be permanent features that lessen in depth as the pounds come off.”
The researchers conclude that more studies are needed in this area.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology cellulite affects most women, regardless of their weight or shape.
It’s always been assumed that weight loss will help to reduce dimples – and it would seem that for many of us, this is still indeed the case, especially if we are overweight to start with.
Dieting To Reduce Cellulite
It might be worth boosting intakes of vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits and their juices, berries, kiwi fruits, peppers and tomatoes. As well as being low in calories, vitamin C helps to strengthen the skin’s connective tissue – and the stronger this is the less likely you are to see dimples.
Scientists have discovered that unlike men who have smooth, continuous connective tissue, in women it’s irregular and patchy, thanks in part to the female hormone, oestrogen. This means fat cells can poke through weaker areas of connective tissue into the layer of skin beneath the surface, causing dimples.
Filling up on antioxidant-rich foods may also help to improve the appearance of cellulite as antioxidants ‘mop up’ excess free radicals, which can damage and reduce the flexibility of collagen – a form of connective tissue. This means skin becomes less smooth and supple, and more prone to cellulite. By fighting free radicals, antioxidant vitamins A, C and E (in fruit and veg) and selenium (in Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish, lean meat and eggs) come to the rescue to keep skin soft and smooth.
Finally, boosting fluid intakes may also help. Dehydrated, dry skin simply makes cellulite look worse so it’s important to drink plenty of water and fill up on foods that have a high water content like melon, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and salad vegetables.
So to truly beat or reduce cellulite, it would seem that it’s worth carrying on with that diet for a little longer – but make sure it’s packed with nutritious foods that will help not just your skin, but every part of you, stay in tip top shape.
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