You might need to consider swapping those flaky croissants for a bowl of oats! Beyond the known health risks of refined carbs, a new study reveals that their chronic consumption may reduce facial attractiveness in both men and women.

The Western diet rich in refined carbohydrates like white flour and table sugar has been associated with health issues such as obesity and diabetes. In addition to these medical issues, preliminary evidence suggests that high consumption of refined carbohydrates could affect a person's attractiveness. Building on this knowledge, researchers from the University of Montpellier, France, studied 104 French adults to investigate how chronic consumption affected perceived facial attractiveness.

"Attractiveness, and specifically facial attractiveness is an important trait that affects a variety of key social outcomes such as a mate choice or social exchange decisions. This is why we investigated the relationship," said Dr. Claire Berticat, the first author of the study.

To investigate the relationship, the researchers provided some participants with a high-glycemic breakfast, rich in refined carbohydrates that would elevate blood sugar, while others received a low-glycemic option. Subsequently, heterosexual volunteers were asked to assess the facial attractiveness of opposite-sex participants based on photos taken two hours after their breakfasts. The habitual refined carbohydrate consumption of the participants was assessed through a questionnaire.

"Statistical analysis showed that consuming the high-glycemic breakfast was associated with lower subsequent facial attractiveness ratings for both men and women. Chronic consumption of refined carbohydrates during breakfast and snacks was also associated with lower attractiveness ratings, although consumption of high-energy foods at these times was associated with higher attractiveness ratings," the news release stated.

However, the researchers noted some sex differences in the results. In men, high-energy intake during afternoon snacking was associated with lower attractiveness ratings, while high-glycemic intake was linked to higher attractiveness ratings.

"Facial attractiveness, an important factor of social interactions, seems to be impacted by immediate and chronic refined carbohydrate consumption in men and women," the authors wrote.

"Our findings serve as compelling reminder of the far-reaching impact of dietary choices not only on health but also on traits having particular social importance such as facial attractiveness. Investigating how refined carbohydrate consumption may influence other traits influenced by sexual hormones could provide valuable insights into the complex interplay between diet, biology, and social behavior," Berticat said.