Living Well: Beauty drinks? You’re better off eating and sleeping well

Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Written by: Angela, Nutritionist

Seattle PI article that ran today!


Let's put this product idea squarely in the you-decide category: This fall, Nestle U.S.A. debuted its first "nutricosmetics" beauty drink, Glowelle. It is sold at Bergdorf Goodman and 45 Neiman Marcus stores.

"We're Nestle but we're also a startup beauty company," said Kimberly Cooper, who supervised the launch of Glowelle after pitching it two years ago to her bosses. "So our goal is to build credibility."

In a December interview with Fast Company magazine Cooper added that market researchers projected the "beauty drinks" category to become a $1.3 billion industry by 2012 and that projections for the product category were less than $1 million in 2006.

"We have to educate consumers about what this category is and make them much more open to the idea that what you consume does affect how you look and feel," she said.

Sound like 21st-century marketing? Sound like an adage? Sound like both? You are what you eat or drink, or something like that.

For her part, local nutritionist Angela Pifer said, "It's not you are what you eat, it's you are what you absorb." She explained that a healthy digestive system can go a long way toward healthy skin and youthful glow.

"Everyone thinks beauty is skin deep," said Pifer, whose Nutrition Northwest practice ( has offices in Seattle and Kirkland. "But beauty starts with your nutritional status, whether you are getting the nutrients you need and absorbing (them), whether you are getting good sleep, whether you are active and whether you are drinking enough water and fluids."

In fact, Pifer said enough sleep (apparently called "beauty sleep" for a reason) and — surprise! — regular physical activity lead the list of what's needed for healthier skin and a more youthful appearance.

"Activity helps you to sweat out toxins from the body," she said. "A lot of us might wake up in the morning with eyes that are puffy. It's amazing the difference you can make in your appearance with a half-hour workout in the morning. Your eyes will be less puffy and your skin will have much more of a glow. You get the circulation moving."

The sleep connection to healthy skin and physical beauty has long been proposed as a necessity. What's intriguing about newer sleep research is that a good night's rest appears to promote brain cell repair and growth, resulting in improved memory and even heightened creativity. It's not much of a leap to assume that if brain cells are restored, there can be a similar positive effect on skin cells.

Digestive health is another significant contributor to beautiful skin and appearance. Pifer explained that many of her clients "feel gassy" and think it's normal, rather than the body's adverse reaction to foods. "Eighty percent of the immune cells in the body surround the intestine," she said. "That's the body's first line of defense and also where inflammation can occur. Inflammation blocks your absorption of nutrients."

While it might seem difficult to determine if and how well your body absorbs nutrients, Pifer suggested it is easy enough to get a feel for nutritional absorption provided you don't become squeamish about what solids you eliminate from the body.

To wit: You can gauge your own digestive health through some simple observations about the waste you eliminate. Determine frequency of your bowel movements, she advised. Figure out if there are bigger pieces of food moving through your system, which indicates you are not chewing your food adequately. An effective strategy (guess Mom was right) is to slow down when you eat.

Pifer said adverse food reaction and its subsequent inflammatory response can lead people to suffer deep fatigue and face skin breakouts that, again, clients consider normal or "part of life" rather than a condition that can be adjusted.

As a first step, Pifer will advise clients to eliminate wheat and dairy from their diets to allow the body time to heal and subdue inflammation. She urges clients to eat more fruits, vegetables and other plant foods such as beans and nuts. Pifer is not inclined to recommend supplements for skin care or overall beauty and most decidedly won't be tapping into the beauty drink category.

"There is no magic bottle or pill," she said. "I frame it this way for clients: If you were holding an orange in your hand, I could offer you a pill that has an equivalent amount of ascorbic acid or vitamin C. What would you be missing? Well, hundreds of bioactive compounds that also are in that piece of fruit (many of which will boost skin health and appearance)."

Pifer said anyone interested in buying beauty drinks would be better served investing in "an organic produce delivery service for the full health and beauty benefits."; blog posts at


Categories: Food Industry

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