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Science says refined carbs for breakfast makes you less attractive

Can an enticing French breakfast of jam, croissants and orange juice really make you lose your looks?

Can an enticing French breakfast of jam, croissants and orange juice really make you lose your looks?

The good old French. All that smoking, red wine and constipated posturing gets in the way of us wholly appreciating their genius.

These were the guys who invented the stethoscope, codeine, aspirin, blood transfusions and identified the danger of germs.

So when they come up with a new study that suggests sugary breakfast cereals (refined carbs) can make a person ugly within two hours of eating … well, who are we to disagree?

The likes of Newsweek, UPI press agency, The Guardian, Neuroscience News and Diabetes UK are just a few to have reported on this research.

What’s it all about?

TND has repeatedly reported on the health risks – and lack of nutrition – found in refined carbs (sugars), such as white bread and sweetened fruit juices.

These are high-glycemic foods that cause blood sugar spikes. Over time these spikes cause inflammation and lead to metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. They also negatively affect the endocrine system.

The researchers, from the University of Montpellier, wondered if sex hormones might be affected.

Also, they reasoned that a high-sugar diet, in putting the body under stress, might affect a person’s looks, or facial attractiveness.

This is a reasonable argument. As we reportedly recently, even a single stressful day can cause a young person to look as if they have aged.

Highly processed foods have been found to inflame the brain and affect memory in older people.

They have also been shown to interfere with the learning of motor skills by toddlers. All of which amounts to putting the body under stress.

The researcher says …

Dr Claire Berticat, evolutionary biologist and first author of the new paper, said in a statement:  “While the effects of refined carbohydrates on certain hormones are well documented, it is less known that sex hormones can also be affected.

“Certain traits, such as facial attractiveness, are influenced by sex hormones.”

She said the “possibility of uncovering a previously unexplored connection between refined carbohydrate consumption and attractiveness was highly appealing”.

The study

The researchers recruited 52 men and 52 women aged 20 to 30. These were all heterosexuals.

They were randomly assigned to eating a 500-calorie breakfast, an afternoon snack and an in-between snack of refined or unrefined carbohydrates, the latter being high glycemic foods.

According to The Guardian report, the refined carbs breakfast “included a French baguette made from industrially milled flour, jam, apple or orange juice, and tea or coffee with sugar available”.

The unrefined carbs meal “was stoneground wholemeal bread with butter and cheese, an orange or apple, and tea or coffee without sugar”.

The participants also completed a questionnaire to evaluate their typical habits of consumption of refined carbohydrates.

Their blood sugar levels were measured before and after they ate.

Then, headshots were taken of the participants under controlled lighting conditions.

These photos were then passed to a separate group of heterosexuals to be rated. They were asked to estimate how old, how masculine or feminine and how attractive the individuals looked.

The results

Immediate consumption of a high glycemic breakfast decreased facial attractiveness for men and women.

This held while controlling for several control variables, including energy intake.

Beyond that, the results were complicated. For example, men who ate a high-sugar afternoon snack were actually found to be more attractive. This was probably because the afternoon sugar hit made them perkier.

Dr Berticat suggested: “The varying impact of different meals on attractiveness highlights the complexity of dietary influences on physiology.”

Afternoon snacking, she said, “fulfils a real food need for many”.

It leads “to a drop in plasma glucose and insulin levels, motivating eating”.

Men consuming high glycemic load snacks during this time, she said, “may appear more attractive due to the immediate glucose boost”.

All of which suggests … if you’re going on a breakfast date, go easy with the croissants and jams, s’il vous plait.

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