Diet And Acne

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Diet has a direct effect on our body’s insulin levels. Insulin is our master hormone and affects all of our other hormones, including our androgens (male hormones).

Scientists heavily suspect that hormonal fluctuations, particularly in our androgen levels, can result in acne flare ups. Insulin also affects growth hormone and a host of other hormones which may be related to acne formation on a cellular level. It is hypothesized, yet unproven, that a diet which causes insulin spikes may affect the pathogenesis (development) of acne.
The right diet may also be related to acne in positive ways. Eating a low glycemic diet rich in veggies, fruit, seafood, and grass-fed meat can help stabilize insulin levels, which theoretically may have an impact. Also, ingesting Omega-3 fats, such as fish oil, for instance, has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in our body.

Since a big part of acne is inflammation, it makes theoretical sense that eating an anti-inflammatory diet would help.

So why have doctors always said it’s a myth?

Calling the diet and acne connection a myth just happened to catch on after two studies were released in 1969 and 1971. The 1969 study was aimed at determining whether chocolate and acne are related. Two groups were given chocolate bars. One group was given chocolate bars with zero cocoa content, and the other group was given chocolate bars with a huge cocoa content. The two groups fared equally well as far as their acne was concerned. However, the chocolate bars both had sugar, milk, etc. The study was only testing cocoa in particular.

The 1971 study asked college students, “What do you think causes your acne?” and the students were then given lots of that food. However, the students’ baseline diets were not measured, there was no control group, the data was not analyzed, and the lesion count was not presented.

No other studies comparing diet and acne have been performed since these two, until very recently. Obviously, from these two studies we cannot conclude asbolutely that diet and acne are not related.

So in the meantime, stick to what we do know, and use your common sense.  And that’s that a diet high in fibre, omegas, fibre, low in saturated fats, and low in insulin-activating substances is the best way to go.

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