The study was called You Are What You Eat, and researchers made eating your vegetables look pretty good. According to the study, other research has shown that humans associate the yellow color carotenoids bestow with improved health. Many species equate the carotene-based coloring with attractiveness–and we know from our basic bio classes that humans are genetically hard-wired to choose healthy (read: attractive) mates. As you increase your vegetable intake, your skin gets more yellow (or more red), and this is associated with being more attractive.
So eat your vegetables.
I’d love to leave it there, but I can’t. Based on my understanding of this study, it is observational. While the researchers did a nice job eliminating sources of error–people who sun bathed or tanned or even used foundation were thrown out of the study–the study can only be used to show that there is a correlation between vegetable consumption and glowing skin.
The study also tested young people to find out if this yellow tint is attractive by taking photos of the same people, manipulating them to change the amount of yellow coloring in the skin and asking subjects to rate which face is more attractive between one with more yellow and one with less. They found that, yes, this coloring makes you look more healthy and more attractive.
The subjects for the first part of the experiment, the diet part, were mostly Caucasian, so that is an additional issue with the study. Researchers thought perhaps the change in skin pigment could be linked to how naturally dark skin already was, so further research is needed.
I think this study is really cool–if a larger study is carried out, I can’t wait till it is published. This is the sort of thing most of us are interested in, to be honest. Researchers saw changed in skin tone in 3 to 6 weeks, so this is something that most of us could get onboard with at some point. I would be lying if I said that I was never interested in tanning to feel prettier. Or that if three weeks of 2 or 3 more vegetables and fruits a day was all that was in the way of more attractive skin, I would have jumped on it.
Besides making you more attractive, carotenoids act as antioxidants and protect skin from UV exposure, so if for no other reasons: for better, healthier, happier skin, eat your carrots.