Study Links Sugar and Acne
A 2007 study by four dermatologists has finally given science a conclusive link between the sugar content of foods and their ability to affect skin and facial acne.
For years, doctors have dismissed the idea that foods such as chocolate and sugar could have an impact on skin's appearance, acne, and breakouts. But the last laugh may be on them, now that research has begun to demonstrate that the glycemic index of food – the speed at which sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream – does have a notable impact on acne and skin health.
The study, published in 2007, reports that subjects who were switched from a "conventional," diet rich in high-glycemic foods to a high-protein diet showed a significant decrease in their acne over a twelve-week period, as opposed to a control group whose diet stayed "conventional."
Glycemic index has often been recommended by doctors and nutritionists as a preventive measure to avoid sugar-related conditions such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the sugars in a food are dumped into the bloodstream during digestion.
White sugar has a glycemic index of 100. So does a boiled potato. Foods containing more complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index because their sugars are released into the bloodstream over time, instead of all at once, like refined sugar.
A diet that contains a lot of high-glycemic foods (like sugary cereals, white bread, pasta, white rice, and candy) puts a person at risk for diabetes, other blood sugar disorders, and weight gain as the body struggles to process the rapid influx of sugar into the blood. Low glycemic carb foods like whole grains, nuts, certain fruits, and low-glycemic sweeteners like agave nectar and stevia are healthier in terms of their impact on hormones, the immune system, and weight loss.
Although the study suggests that overall glycemic index of the diet is relevant in preventing and treating acne, it does not specifically show a connection between refined sugar and skin breakouts. The research suggests that it is not sugar itself that contributes to acne, but the effect that blood sugar spikes have on hormone production within the body – hormones that affect acne, body weight, fat storage, the immune system, and more.
Source: The New York Times