Wai Diet for Acne – 3 Things You Need To Know

If you’ve suffered from acne for more than 5 years you’ve probably heard of FreeAcneBook.com site. It’s a site many people went for natural acne cure advice before acne blogs and YouTube channels became popular. Like the name implies, it contains a ‘book’ that tells you how to get over acne with diet. And it’s completely free. The site doesn’t have ads and they don’t try to sell you anything (unlike all the money-grubbing scammers who want to sell you their ebook solutions – like me!).

Anyway, I got an email earlier today from a reader who asked me about it.

I was wondering if you’re familiar w/ this diet & your thoughts about it. https://www.acnearchives.com/126

The link goes to a forum post that summarizes the method. The site and book is written by someone called Wai Genriuu. So let’s talk about this Wai diet and why I think it’s a really bad idea.

First, I have to give credit for the author for putting this info out there for free. I’m sure it took him a lot of time and effort to put all of that together. And it really seems like he doesn’t try to sell you anything. So I’m sure he is sincerely trying to help people.

Grossly oversimplifies acne

According to Wai, acne is caused by combination of excessive sebum production and pinching of sebum canals (hair follicles) due to water retention. Pinching of sebum canals is the key because, according to Wai, you won’t get acne without it. Things that cause water retention, and thus pinching of sebum canals, include:

  • Consuming too many ‘wrong’ foods (pretty much all processed foods, too much protein, spicy foods, salt, too many carbohydrates)
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Hormones in meat and dairy products

I have to say that in light of scientific research on acne, this theory grossly oversimplifies how complicated acne is and what it takes to get rid of it.

It’s true that many of the above can affect acne, and that ‘pinching’ of sebum canals plays a role in acne.

However, there is absolutely no evidence to show that water retention causes the pinching. There is plenty of evidence to show that the ‘pinching’ is caused by overgrowth of skin cells and overproduction of keratin, a tough protein that binds skin cells together. As a result the sebum canal walls thicken and constrict the flow of sebum. Excessive dead skin cells clog the narrow openings and block the pore.

Lots of needless rules to complicate your life

The solution, according to Wei, is to avoid foods that cause water retention in the skin. For the first 2 weeks you can only eat (and nothing else):

  • Loads of well-ripened fresh fruits; as much as you want (including some raw Brazil nuts or raw Macadamia nuts; nuts that you buy in the shell)
  • A tomato-cucumber-avocado-chives salad covered with lots of extra virgin olive oil
  • Some sashimi (=sushi without rice) from fish that has NOT been in the freezer, or fresh raw egg yolks

After the first 2 weeks you can start adding small quantities of “munch foods” into your diet. Even with small quantities of “munch foods” allowed the diet is still plenty strict, and saddles you with tons of unnecessary rules to follow. I won’t go into detail what the diet involves, it’s all available on the website.

Based on all my years dealing with acne patients, I think following diet like this is a very, very, very bad idea. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the diet works and some will get better.

The problem is that most people won’t be able to follow the diet. It’s too restrictive. The diet pretty much cuts out everything but fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and small quantities of unfrozen and uncooked animal foods. Oh, and the nuts also have to still be in the shell and not processed in anyway.

Some people may be able to stick to the diet, but I’m sure most people won’t be able to for more than a few weeks.

The diet never fails, only you can fail

And here’s the most dangerous part of the book:

This is the most important section because herein lies the key to success. Whether you will succeed in eliminating cellulite or acne depends on whether you can control your cravings. It depends on whether you can limit the uptake of ‘dirty’ protein (and salt; regarding acne).

If you have full control, it is you who will decide how fast the cellulite goes away. Your cellulite or acne will not go away if you do not stick to the rules we give you in this section.

This kind of thinking is very common in the alternative and natural health world. To the point where skeptics like to say: “Alternative medicine and natural health never fails, it can only be failed”.

The Wai Diet cannot fail – it can only be failed

So if the diet does’t work, it’s your fault because you didn’t follow it properly. So now you are in an interesting bind. Acne obviously causes a lot of pain and distress to you – otherwise you wouldn’t be willing to try such a restrictive diet. You believe there’s a way out, just stick to the diet. But you can’t, mainly because the diet is totally out of touch with reality. And you are being explicitly told that it’s your fault if you don’t get clear.

What if you succeed in following it religiously and didn’t cheat at all? It’s still your fault. You obviously have to try harder. Because the diet cannot fail, only you can fail.

It’s hard to even describe how damaging this attitude is. It’s exactly because of this attitude that so many people develop an eating disorder and start blaming themselves. It wouldn’t surprise me if this kind of thinking drives some people to commit a suicide.

And for what? Because they believed into an over-simplified theory of acne.

80/20 rule for acne diet

The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Conversely, the remaining 80% only produces 20% of the results. The idea is to identify the 20% of what you do that brings majority of your results and do more of that.

In my opinion most of the Wai diet rules and regulations fall to the 80% of actions that bring only 20% of results side. They are what entrepreneurs call busywork. Things that make you feel like you are working but don’t create any results.

And here’s what I believe is the 20% you should be doing:

  • Restrict carbohydrate intake to 30 to 40% of total calories and avoid high GI carbs as much as possible.
  • Cut out or reduce dairy foods for 4 to 8 weeks to see if they have any effect on your skin.
  • Focus on eating more fat and protein.
  • Monitor yourself for gut problems and consider low FODMAP diet if you notice indigestion, bloating or other gut problems. In this case you probably have to be a bit stricter with your diet.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep junk food, fast food, friend food, etc. to minimum. No need to avoid them completely. Just use common sense and realize they aren’t doing you any favors.
  • Don’t take diet too seriously. Eating healthy can help your skin but it’s not the be-all-end-all solution to acne.

That’s probably all most acne patients have to do about their diet. The rest are minor details that may or may not help. Of course there are individual who have to do more, but I believe these are the minority.

Finally, and I say this because some people will otherwise claim that I’m preventing people from using this life-saving information. If you really enjoy the restrictive diet and have no problems sticking to it, then by all means keep at it. But don’t do it because you feel you have to. Because you feel that not sticking to it causes acne. In my opinion it’s almost never a good idea to force yourself to follow restrictive and socially-isolating diet.

Conclusion

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Wai diet is a good example of this old aphorism. I do believe that Wai sincerely wants to help people. Alas, good deeds sometimes have unintended consequences, and people who take Wai’s ideas too seriously may end up harming themselves psychologically. Some may even be driven to suicide thinking they somehow caused their acne and the suffering that follows it.

As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, genes do exist, and they do affect your skin. Healthy eating can reduce acne, and some people may be lucky enough to get rid of it completely. But it’s equally true that there are people who get acne regardless of how healthy they eat or live. And I would guess that for most people healthy eating can reduce acne but won’t eliminate it completely.

It’s both irresponsible and ignorant to fill their heads with notions they are somehow to blame for things they have absolutely no control over.

Don’t know how to get over acne? Let me help.

Feel like you’ve tried everything but acne still won’t budge? Read this page to understand why you get acne and what you can do to get over it.

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About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.

References

9 thoughts on “Wai Diet for Acne – 3 Things You Need To Know

  1. Again great article. The psychological stuff that you described, I experienced this a lot in the past .

    For the first time I have read that this could have led to eating disorders and this also explains part of the depressions I have because of acne..

    Thanks

    • Glad to hear you found the post useful. The “alternative medicine can’t fail, it can only be failed” attitude is one of the most damaging aspects of it. Hope you’ve developed a bit more realistic view of diet by now, one that doesn’t lead to eating disorders and depression.

  2. Indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Not so easy to realize that.

    Seppo, I just sent you resent you email reply. You may not have received the first one. 🙂

  3. It is clear to me that you haven’t tried the diet for yourself. When this diet isn’t working for you, at any time it is possible to contact Wai and ask for information. She is happy to help you and together with you she will try to find what can be changed in the diet to make it work. I agree that a lot of diets work the way you discribe in this article, but with the Wai diet, it isn’t anything like that at all. For some people, the Wai diet is to strict and they are able to eat other foods in addition to the diet, without breaking out. As you can see, I’m really positive about this diet and a lot of people are helped by it. I understand your scepticism about this type of diets, I was too at first, but when I tried it, it changed my way of looking at acne and diets in general.

    • I didn’t say that the diet would not reduce acne. I’m sure it will for many people. My point is that it’s unnecessarily restrictive and that it’s these kind of extreme diets that cause psychological harm to many people. If you are happy with the diet, then by all means keep at it.

      One doesn’t need to try every silly diet out there. Have you tried:

      – Breatharianism – the idea that you can absorb ‘life energy’ from the air and thus don’t need to eat?
      – Mono Food Diet – the idea that mixing foods causes digestive problems and thus ‘toxicity’ from undigested foods?
      – The Moon Diet – the idea that we should align our eating patterns to moon cycles?

      And I bet you wouldn’t even try most of those. Why? Because we know they are silly ideas.

      There’s no need to try every single silly diet out there because we have a large body of established scientific knowledge of how the human body works. These, and countless other, silly diets go against the body of knowledge scientists have worked very hard to build.

      We have a pretty solid understanding of what happens at the skin cells during acne formation process. None of the hundreds of papers I’ve read says anything about ‘pinching’ due to water retention. This diet is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

      By fortuitous accident it also eliminated many foods that affect the real pathogeny behind acne. So I’m not surprised some people get results with this, but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be better ways to get the same results.

      • Wai’s free book used to be almost the only first hand account out there of a raw paleo diet. My own experience with this type diet is probably similar to Seppo’s with raw veganism. All the raw diets eventually seem to lead to nutrient deficiencies for most people – although raw paleo seems to delay this problem. Having said that, in my opinion it is a wonderful cleansing diet which can start you with a fresh slate and let you add back “regular” foods until you notice which are a problem. Far more efficient in my opinion than starting with a “regular” diet and messing around for years removing one food at a time trying to pin down the problems.

        From the little I recall Wai didn’t stress “failing” her diet or even the need to stay on it strictly forever. Maybe it is just the spin I put on it, but I seem to remember her saying that the diet was more of a starting point which could be modified. At any rate, that seems the logical method in my opinion, not just for acne but 100s of other problems. Personally I never had any idea how many “normal” or “unavoidable” conditions were coming from modern diet until I was on various raw diets on and off. Although I couldn’t sustain any raw diet permanently, I was able to easily tell, when adding back foods, which ones caused problems.

        • There’s no doubt that many of the ‘unavoidable’ modern diseases can be prevented or mitigated with proper diet and lifestyle.

          Different strokes for different folks. If Wai-style hard core diet works for you as a cleansing diet then by all means do it. I’ve just read too many accounts where people develop eating disorders and food phobias as a result of such strict diets.

          I referenced the most damaging part of the diet in this post. The part where she says whether you get acne or not is basically fully in your control. The flip side is that if you still have acne then it’s your fault – because you haven’t been strict enough. That’s the damaging part. Especially considering there’s very little evidence that such strict diets are necessary or even helpful. I do admit that it would work as baseline for elimination diet, but again, I consider it to be unnecessary for most people with acne.

  4. I am almost 7 month on Wai diet, nothing helped me before, but now i look much better, so happy that i found this wai diet, it is easy to stick because my willing to get rid of acne is higher than love to food.
    but your article shows good review.

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