Study Links Refined Carb Intake to Facial Attractiveness

by Ella

A recent study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on March 6, 2024, reveals a significant association between the consumption of refined carbohydrates and decreased facial attractiveness, as assessed by heterosexual volunteers of the opposite sex. Led by researchers at the University of Montpellier, France, the study sheds light on the potential impact of diet on perceived attractiveness, adding to the growing body of evidence linking refined carbohydrate intake to various health and social outcomes.

The study, which involved 104 French adults, examined the relationship between diet and facial attractiveness among participants who consumed either a high-glycemic breakfast rich in refined carbohydrates or a low-glycemic meal. High-glycemic foods, commonly found in the Western diet, are known to rapidly increase blood sugar levels and include items such as white flour and table sugar.


Participants were photographed two hours after consuming their respective breakfasts, and these photos were then rated for attractiveness by heterosexual volunteers. The results revealed that individuals who consumed the high-glycemic breakfast received lower attractiveness ratings compared to those who had the low-glycemic meal.


Furthermore, the study observed sex-specific differences in how snack consumption affected attractiveness ratings. While chronic consumption of refined carbohydrates during breakfast and snacks was associated with lower attractiveness ratings overall, the intake of high-energy foods at these times was linked to higher attractiveness ratings. However, men and women responded differently to afternoon snacking, with high-energy intake being associated with lower attractiveness ratings in men and higher ratings in women.


Importantly, the findings held true even after accounting for factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), smoking habits, and facial hairiness, indicating a robust association between refined carbohydrate intake and facial attractiveness.


Dr. Visine and colleagues emphasize the significance of these findings, highlighting the potential impact of diet on social interactions and perceptions of attractiveness. They stress the need for further research, including larger and more diverse sample sizes, to better understand the mechanisms underlying this association and its broader implications.

This research contributes to our understanding of the complex interplay between diet and social traits, raising intriguing questions about the role of nutrition in shaping perceptions of attractiveness and other non-medical outcomes.



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