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Produce Consumption Ups Eater's Looks

Consuming more produce increases red and yellow colors in the skin of Caucasians, whom observers then rate as more attractive. Sophie Bushwick reports

Fruit and veggies don’t just improve your diet—they could enhance your looks. A new study, done with primarily Caucasian subjects, finds that eating produce heightens red and yellow skin tones, which increases attractiveness. The work is in Public Library of Science ONE. [Ross D. Whitehead et al., "You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes"]

The organic pigments called carotenoids provide a yellow-red color to fruit and vegetables, and when consumed, to human skin.

Researchers had 35 students fill out questionnaires about much produce they ate daily, and a spectrophotometer measured their skin color. They collected the same data three weeks later, and again after six weeks. And the more fruit and vegetables participants ate, the more vividly colored was their skin.

Based on the measured color changes, the researchers created face images that other students rated for health and attractiveness. And the redder and yellower skin color from even slightly increased produce consumption was rated higher than the hue associated with a produce-poorer diet. The researchers say they need to determine if the effect also holds true for non-white people—but they expect it will. Simply put, eating healthy looks good.

—Sophie Bushwick

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.] 

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