All teenagers have probably been told by an adult at one point in their lives, “don’t eat that, you’ll get acne!” But can certain foods really cause acne? In this article, we will review findings from scientific studies to get at the answer of whether chocolate and other foods cause acne. We will also take a look at certain foods which could potentially help fight acne.
Chocolate and French fries – the real culprits?
For the most part, dermatologists agree that chocolate and greasy foods do not directly cause or aggravate acne since these foods do not lead to an overproduction Steigercentrum Valbeveiliging vastopblokken of oils secreted by the sebaceous glands – this excess oil being the main contributor to acne breakouts.
Although chocolate and greasy foods can be ruled out as having a direct link, it’s worth giving greasy, fried foods a second look. It is now common for dermatologists to recommend switching to a healthy diet and eliminating certain foods while battling acne. In the case of greasy foods, they have a tendency to increase free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals can actually cause damage to our cells and inhibit our immune systems, which can in turn influence the health of our skin.
In one study of survey data, investigators found that whole milk and skim milk are “associated with a slightly increased risk of acne in teenage patients.” (Slawson 2005). Scientists in this study pointed out, however, that the study does not prove causation or that decreasing milk intake can help decrease acne. One concern by scientists is that calcium and vitamin D, particularly in teenage women, is crucial for bone formation during adolescence.
If you feel that milk is causing acne flare-ups, try staying off dairy products (milk, butter, yogurt, cheese or any food containing dairy) for 2 weeks. You can still have eggs and be sure to take a calcium supplement. During these two weeks, your acne may actually get slightly worse in the first few days before your skin starts to clear. This is due to the body detoxifying and you may even develop cold symptoms during the first few days.
If your skin has improved after these 2 weeks, then it’s likely you have a dairy intolerance. You will want to see a nutritionist to check for food sensitivities to dairy products.
According to scientists at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins, there’s a possible link between acne and highly processed breads and refined cereals. In brief, white bread and other refined grains lead to a spike in levels of certain insulin compounds in the body. And evidence from previous studies suggests that insulin can cause acne. To be on the safe side, try eating whole grain breads and high-fiber cereals whenever possible. Avoid eating white bread and heavily processed cereals.
Foods to help you fight acne
Just as important as avoiding certain foods, you have at your disposal an “army” of foods that can help you fight acne. Choose foods that are high in antioxidants as they are a major contributor to healthy-looking skin. Good sources of antioxidants: fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
In summary, chocolate and French fries are not direct culprits of foods that cause acne. However, milk and highly processed grains are more likely to aggravate an acne condition or cause flare-ups. Switching to whole wheat breads and other complex, high-fiber grains is an easy step and you may see an improvement in your acne. Milk, however, should not be discontinued for long periods of time without first consulting with your health care professional, especially if you’re an adolescent.
Fox, Douglas. “Bread to blame for plague of pimples. (Dermatology).” New Scientist, Dec 7, 2002 v176 i2372 p23(1). Science Resource Center. Gale. 30 July 2008 http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/SciRC?ste=1&docNum=A95550530
Slawson, David. “Milk intake and increased risk of acne in teenage patients.” American Family Physician, July 2005. Science Resource Center. 30 July 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/SciRC?ste=1&docNum=A133983110
Author unknown. “Acne.” UXL Science, June 2008. Science Resource Center. 30 July 2008.
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