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People who eat more refined carbohydrates ‘may be less attractive to others’

People who eat more refined carbohydrates for breakfast may be less attractive to others, new research suggests.

The small study found the amount of carbohydrates someone eats was statistically linked with their facial attractiveness as rated by heterosexual members of the opposite sex.

According to the findings, those who had a high-glycaemic breakfast – one with refined carbohydrates known to boost blood sugar levels – were associated with lower facial attractiveness ratings for both men and women.

Refined carbohydrates are foods processed in ways that typically remove much of their nutritional value, such as white flour, table sugar, and ingredients in many packaged snacks.

The research also suggests that chronic consumption of refined carbohydrates during breakfast and snacks was also linked to lower attractiveness ratings, regardless of factors such as BMI and age.

However, consumption of high-energy foods at these times was associated with higher attractiveness ratings.

Writing in the Plos One journal, Amandine Visine and colleagues at the University of Montpellier, France, said: “Facial attractiveness, an important factor of social interactions, seems to be impacted by immediate and chronic refined carbohydrate consumption in men and women.”

In the study of 104 French male and female adults, researchers gave some of them a high-glycaemic breakfast, while others received a low-glycaemic breakfast.

People were also asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate how many refined carbohydrates they would typically eat.

Additional heterosexual volunteers were then asked to rate the facial attractiveness of the opposite sex as captured in photos taken two hours after the provided breakfast.

The researchers noted some differences between the sexes.

For afternoon snacking in men specifically, high-energy intake was instead associated with lower attractiveness ratings, while high-glycaemic intake was linked to higher attractiveness ratings.

The researchers say further research, including for larger and more diverse sample sizes, is needed to deepen understanding of exactly how refined carbohydrates may be linked to attractiveness and other social traits.