Combating Cellulite With Food

By Dr. Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD

Posted on | By Dr. Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD

You have it. You hate it. And you are not alone.

What is cellulite? It is a topographical change in the skin’s surface that has been likened to an “orange peel” or “dimpled” appearance. Cellulite is not always associated with being overweight – it is often genetic and is present on underweight, average and overweight people.

An estimated 85% of adult women have cellulite. Although it is such a common condition, cellulite is surprisingly complex. We doctors don’t know everything about what causes it, and research into its causes and treatments is an active area of investigation. There is also no agreed upon cure for cellulite.

We do know that cellulite can respond to various environmental factors, including diet and hormones. In my personal experience with patients, different approaches work for different people. You can start by experimenting with the following tips:

Don’t Cut…Paste!

Tomato paste, or ketchup, can be more than a condiment. It contains high doses of lycopene, more than what you would get by eating a fresh tomato. In a recent study in the British Journal of Dermatology, tomatoes (in the form of tomato paste) were shown to reduce UV-induced sun damage, as well as prevent collagen breakdown (by inhibiting collagenase). By preserving collagen in your skin, you are keeping a healthy thick top layer of skin overlying your fat layer, which reduces the out-pouching of underlying fat cells, making cellulite less visible.

It’s Stressful, but Don’t Stress

Cellulite is a source of anxiety and impacts quality of life. Not stressing is oft-heard advice, but science suggests that the hormones of stress, particularly insulin and cortisol, change the way that fat cells function. This is yet another reason to eat whole grains rather than processed high-glycemic index foods and suffer the consequences of blood sugar and insulin spikes.

Interestingly, a family of molecules called catechins, found in green and white teas, decrease fat cell insulin resistance. So when you are on edge, take 5 minutes to sit quietly and have a cup of tea. It may in fact have a synergistic effect.

Article written by Dr. Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD