Researchers in France have discovered that a subtle change in facial attractiveness may be attributed to variations in blood sugar and insulin levels

A team of researchers in France has found that people consuming a breakfast high in refined carbohydrates were considered “less attractive” compared to those who opted for a healthier start to their day with unrefined carbohydrates.

Scientists behind the study at the University of Montpellier suggest that this alteration in facial attractiveness could potentially be linked to changes in blood glucose and insulin levels which may impact the appearance of the skin and have longer-term effects on sex hormones.

Published in Plos One journal, Amandine Visine, study author comments: “Facial attractiveness, an important factor of social interactions, seems to be impacted by immediate and chronic refined carbohydrate consumption in men and women.”

The research study involved 104 participants consisting of 52 men and 52 women between the ages of 20 and 30.

Each participant was randomly assigned to consume a 500-calorie breakfast high in either refined or unrefined carbohydrates.

The breakfast consisting of refined carbohydrates included a French baguette made from industrially milled flour, jam, apple or orange juice, and tea or coffee with sugar.

The unrefined carbohydrates breakfast comprised stoneground wholemeal bread with butter and cheese, an orange or apple, and tea or coffee without sugar.

Once participants has eaten breakfast, the scientists measured the participants’ blood sugar levels and took photographs of them under controlled lighting conditions.

Photographs were then evaluated by a group of “raters”, who assessed the subjects’ perceived age, masculinity or femininity, and attractiveness.

The study concludes that consuming refined carbohydrates for breakfast results in a decrease in facial attractiveness for both men and women.

However, the longer-term implications of these dietary habits as derived from questionnaires filled out by the participants proved to be more complex.

“The effect varies depending on gender and the type of meal, highlighting the intricate relationship between diet and attractiveness,” Berticat, study author explains.

Refined carbohydrates are processed foods from which the bran and germ portions of the are removed during milling. A study earlier this month that ultra-processed foods are directly linked to 32 mental and physical health conditions.

Refined carbohydrates can lead to spikes in blood glucose levels prompting the body to release insulin.

This reaction can lower sugar levels too much – a condition known as hypoglycemia – and impact blood flow and skin appearance.

The study found that only the breakfast with refined carbs led to hypoglycemia.

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