Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?

Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?

September 13, 2019 94 By Ewald Bahringer


“Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne?” 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 people 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 up the naturally
occurring heavy metal cadmium out of the ground, so 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. Maybe if you ate a handful a day,
you’d be well below that, but you may get as much as 36
a day from the rest of your diet, so I think one handful a day is
a reasonable 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 3 extra
pimples in the sunflower group versus about one extra
in the control group. They conclude that sunflower seed
intake appears to aggravate acne; however, further evidence
may be needed before banning sunflower seed
intake in patients with acne.