I am now going to suggest that the Carnivore Diet can increase your tolerance to the Sun. I am having a laugh right? Nope.
I am going to tell you what my wife and I have experienced, then point you towards a few reasons why this might have occurred.
I have been Carnivore since October 2017, and the wife since December 2017. It is now August 2018. We are from England and it has been an awesome Summer so far. A very unusually hot Summer. We are into our camping, and we have 2 dogs. So we are always out in the fresh air.
We do still use Sunscreen, although less of it and a lower SPF.
We have noticed:
- We can spend longer in the Sun without sunscreen before burning.
- With or without sunscreen we do eventually go red. However it doesn’t hurt.
- Once you are out of the sun and during the night, it doesn’t become uncomfortable.
- Aftersun is not needed.
- The redness turns golden brown quicker and darker than before.
Considering we don’t do foreign holidays, we currently look like we have had a fortnight in Greece.
How is this possible?
It sounds crazy I know. However I truly believe the Carnivore Diet is an ancestral way of eating. It gives you everything you need, which in turn helps your body deal with any health issues you may have. So I suppose it stands to reason that it would be result in healthier cells, and that is all Skin is. Just a big clump of cells. Plus if your body is not fighting loads of general chronic inflammation, it probably has plenty of resources to deal with a bit of sunburn.
If you think about how and when Humans evolved, we have always been exposed to the Sun for long periods. Whether that was a million years ago hunting megafauna, or 200 years ago tending our farm. We spent a long time persistent hunting, we can out run any animal over long distances. Mainly due to the fact we can sweat and are economical long distance runners. So a tribe of humans would see a pack of animals, they would identify one of them. Then just start jogging after it. The animal would sprint off and rest, eventually it could sprint less and need more rest. Then dying of exhaustion. This could take all day. Imagine if we could only spend an hour in the sun before burning, we would have been useless persistence hunters that’s for sure. You could argue the ozone layer has had an impact or that they might have been making their own sunscreen from plants. Which I doubt. I just think it is logical to think we can spend longer in the sun under the right circumstances than we can generally in these modern times and modern diets.
So either the Carnivore Diet is making us superhuman. Or something we have eliminated from our diet is helping. Maybe both?
I am not the only one who notices this “Sunburn Paradox”.
I first heard about this Sunburn Paradox from Tucker Goodrich on a couple of podcasts. In fact if you are interested in looking into the Carnivore Diet for Sunburn, you should probably just stop reading this blog and search for the information Tucker Goodrich puts out on this subject.
Basically the gist is that he blames excess Omega 6 / Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids in our diet for our whimpiness in the sun. Well you might say you don’t eat much Omega 6. Well if you eat a Standard Western Diet you do. Vegetable Seed Oils are very high in Omega 6, and pretty much every highly processed food on the planet is loaded with Seed Oils because they are cheap. The trouble is Omega 6 is highly unstable under Ultravoilet Light (Sun), and oxidizes extremely easily. So if your skin cells are filled with excess Omega 6, then you are going to get into trouble in the sun.
Here is a little more info on how far off our Omega 3 to 6 ratio is nowadays: “Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of ∼ 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1–16.7/1. Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which human beings evolved and their genetic patterns were established. Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.”
So you can just believe me that this is true, or maybe you need some more convincing.
“I used to get some serious sunburn on my long runs. So upped n-3 and consumed less n-6… It’s actually pretty amazing to run without a shirt, for three-plus hours and have NO sunburn at all!!!” – Yelling Stop Blog
“When mice were exposed acutely to UV radiation (UVR), a diet of 20% saturated fat provided almost complete protection from the suppression of CHS, whereas feeding 20% polyunsaturated fat resulted in 57% suppression” – Study. So Saturated Fat helped prevent tumors in Mice exposed to UV Radiation (Found in Sunlight), where as Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) made them more susceptible to tumors. My Carnivore Diet is high in saturated fat, and low in PUFA. So I could be gaining protection from the SF, and also not inhibiting my body with PUFA.
“Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a form of ionizing radiation, results in approximately 1.5 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and is associated with greater than 60,000 deaths annually worldwide attributed to melanoma and other skin cancers.1 There are no standardized biomarker panels to assess UV-radiation oxidative stress injury patterns in skin. Unless assessing erythema after UV exposure, it is difficult to clinically determine the efficacy of UV-protective agents.2–6Therefore, developing a biomarker panel to evaluate UV radiation oxidative damage would facilitate rapid evaluation of skin injury due to UV radiation and enable the development and evaluation of novel oxidation-protective agents, such as sunscreens and topical antioxidants, to treat or prevent UV radiation-induced oxidation resulting in a decrease in lost years of healthy life, DALYs, and annual deaths that are attributed to UV radiation.” – Study. This study links skin health with oxidative stress. So if you can eat protective foods like SF, and not strain your body with PUFA then you will lessen the oxidative damage to the skin cells.
So I think it is fair to at least consider a diet that is too high in Omega 6 could mean people are more susceptible to Sunlight than they should be. I am going to stop here, as after this point you are entering varying degrees of Conspiracy Theory. For example is Sunscreen even useful? From being Keto and then Carnivore, I know that food companies are knowingly feeding us absolute crap for profit. I know it is in Pharma’s best interests to keep these food companies doing the same. Then I know Governments, health boards and charities are perpetuating the problems. So it is a pretty big leap for me to presume that Sunscreen manufactures are producing these products for the good of our health. They will have to turn a profit after all. So I am not suggesting that you should never wear sunscreen again or that you should blindly apply it every time you go out. I am saying find where you are in between these, and varying changes in diet could lead to varying positions between these extremes. As with anything do not presume, do some research and experiment with yourself. I am not a doctor, scientist or philosopher. I read and listen to others, consider it, test it on myself and use that to increase my own health.
This is how I currently eat – The Contemporary Carnivore Diet