One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is all the tasty foods and holiday treats. Thankfully, most foods won't adversely affect the body's health, as long as consumption is within moderation. But, the holidays make it very easy to overindulge. No matter how much we try and make healthy decisions, unhealthy foods are so easily accessible. Even my Uber driver passed out free candy canes while taking my family and I to Detroit's Joe Lois Arena on Friday. Who could resist that?
So how can unhealthy foods affect our skin? Several studies examined the possible link between diet and a very common skin condition, acne. No matter the age, we are all at risk for acne. This is what the studies have found:
What type of foods can cause acne?
Those with a high glycemic index (GI), greater than or equal to 70
How do high GI foods cause acne?
Through its effects on growth hormones and sex hormones
What classifies a high GI food?
The potential to quickly release glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream, thereby rapidly increasing blood sugar levels is characteristic of a high GI. A 1/2" slice of white bread is often used as the standard, having a GI of 100 (and almost equivalent to the GI of pure sugar).
What are examples of high glycemic foods?
Carbohydrate rich foods-- white breads, chips, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, pasta, soft drinks, baked goods, high fructose corn syrup, and most processed foods
What is one way you can prevent and improve acne?
Abide by a low-glycemic index diet (a glycemic index 55 or less)-- multi-grain bread, beans, vegetables, most fruits, and unprocessed (whole) foods.
And thankfully my favorite antioxidant, red wine, has a much lower GI than you'd expect. A 6 oz glass has a GI less than 15!
How long could it take acne to improve after a diet change?
Up to 12 weeks
Have more related or unrelated questions? Ask away. Receive an answer from our board-certified dermatologist today for free.
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