Listen to interview

It’s a long interview, 27 minutes or so I believe, so be forewarned ๐Ÿ™‚

My bottom line: we need more research on the diet and acne connection and can not confidently say at this time whether diet and acne are, or are not, related.


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  • Annonymous

    I’m sorry, but I went on his diet and FELT AWFUL.

    There is a lot of controversy regarding the diet/acne connection. Frankly, every expert has their own “take” on it, with which foods to eat, avoid, etc. For me, dairy products really are a culprit, and a vegan diet really keeps me clear. WIth respect to Dr. Cordain, eating all that meat and fish did not make me feel healthy at all. And his book allows up to 4 oz. nuts a day. I gained weight in the first week for sure.! Not good!That’s a lot of nuts! Plus over the years he has changed his position on fruit allowance, first allowing all fruits, now limiiting dried fruit. So, how do we know what really works best? We don’t. Even the experts don’t! I say we all need to experiment and eventually do what works for us individually. For me veganism is the way to go.

  • Anonymous

    my diet is unprocessed, fresh fruits and veggies, no red meat, no dairy, very little wheat and my skin still looks like crap…

  • will

    Some experts would say diet does not cause acne because it is all inherited from the type of skin from the genes. But I really do not agreed with it because i have went on a all good non-oily diet for 2 weeks and realized the number of acne emerge decreases and prevents outburst. Then i went on a diet of oily foods not too much of it and 24hrs overnight i had an outburst of acnes and it hurts alot.. so i would gladly say that the type of food does affect your acne.

  • Anonymous

    i don’t have a “diet” but recently ive just been trying to eat healthy and drink lots of water. honestly, i cant say if it’s helping at all because im taking a lot of medication that will make my acne get worse before it gets better anyways, but i figure it can’t hurt my chances for better skin by eating healthier foods.

  • Lula

    Although many dermatologists have told me that diet has nothing to do with acne I can assure that everytime I eat an almond the next day I will get a pimple for sure!!! The same happens with highly concentrated salt and chili candies and beverages, I can even fill the outburst coming a few hours after taking them. So the solution for me has been to stay out of these food and using Retin-A.

  • Damian

    I suffered from acne for about 15 years. When I went on Loren Cordain’s Paleo Diet, my acne disappeared completely–and I mean completely–without using any medications or other topical products. My hunch is that Cordain has part but not the entire story. Many people can eat all the dairy, legumes, and gluten-containing grains they want without getting any acne. I can’t. In _The_Paleo_Diet_, Cordain mentions lectins being a problem for genetically susceptible individuals, but he doesn’t elaborate.

    I recently discovered the work of Peter D’adamo, creator of the blood type diet. He says that for people with blood type O, dairy, most legumes, and gluten-containing grains are toxic. I found out my blood type, and, lo and behold, it’s O. Though I haven’t seen Dr. D’adamo say much in particular about acne, I wouldn’t be surprised if his work could supply Loren Cordain’s missing link. I know a lot of people think Dr. D’adamo is a quack, and frankly, I thought so too for quite awhile, but given how good I feel on his type O diet (which, to reiterate, is extremely similar to the Paleo Diet), I’m beginning to wonder whether he might be onto something.


    I have tried cosmetic treatments, lasers, pro active and would still get more pimples than ever hoped for at 36. I decided to look into a homopathic natural approach and healing process. Guess what it is working. They said to try sulfur soap and it is working. They said my type of acne is lack of Phospherous calcium and to take it. I get the cystic kind. Anyway, I think anyone who is at the end of the rope with other stuff, try a homopathic approach. I am plesentaly suprised and happy.

  • judy

    Cordain’s Paleo Diet works for me. A similar, but easier to follow diet can be found in the new book The Vitamin D Cure.

  • Sheryl

    I follow the Paleo Diet. Dan, why did you go off it? Even if you started breaking out again, just the fact that you felt so fantastic on it should have been motivation.

    I have many health issues so I follow Paleo as “religiously” as I can. I don’t have free meals as allowed in the book, but on occasion I eat higher fat meats without beating myself up. I do continue to use the transitional condiments mentioned in the book (like mustard, salsa, low fat dressings like mayo, etc)., and I probably always will. I don’t stress over a bit of sugar, vinegar, etc. added to restaurant meals. I base my meals around lean protein, produce (fruit and veg), nuts, healthy limited oils and chia/flax seeds. I just follow it as best I can without making myself neurotic, which believe me I could easily do.

    I find this “diet” easier than the various low carb diets I’ve followed over the years. No counting, measuring, just good basic foods. Because I’m doing this for health reasons I guess I’m more motivated than most, but still, give it another try! The fact you felt so great is proof it works. Dan, did you stop following it because it was too hard to maintain for you or because you started breaking out again?

  • Carrie

    I used to eat insane amounts of Tabasco for years (it’s addictive) with really bad breakouts. I finally cut out spicy food from my diet, and the breakouts lessened, a lot. I think maybe I developed an allergy, and it was inflaming my skin. Perhaps the diet link is very individual, some people may have unknown allergies to foods they eat everyday, some people may not and have a totally different reason for breaking out.

  • Christine

    In our household of four teenage boys and two adults, we are seeing a dramatic response to wheat. We normally eat unprocessed, homemade types of foods, also frequently organic. I have known for years that wheat, especially high-gluten varieties, but also pasta type, gives me headaches and makes me feel tired and spacey.
    The acne connection: I just read an article on the Bion skin care site about connecting wheat allergies to acne, and shared this with my family. My teenage boys all instantly quit wheat (even while on vacation) and we saw immediate effects. I mean within 24 hours.
    Any transgressions from their abstinence showed up on their faces. I can see that our families have some sort of allergy to wheat. Even my 14 year old who loves pasta had noticed a connection with breaking out over the last year.
    Just 6 months ago, my husband finally listened to my advice and quit eating wheat because he had chronic headaches and now stomach aches from too much aspirin. He is head ache free now. After a bagel yesterday, he broke out on his neck.
    What I am noticing about the wheat is that it stimulates an immflamatory process, whether it’s a headache or a pimple.
    I do think there are some other irritants, such as excessive carbohydrates of other varieties and other particular foods for each individual person.

  • Ally Hauptmann

    I had fabulous results with an egg and chicken free diet. It takes about two months for improvements to come through, and a year to wash the stuff out of your system. I miss eating eggs, but my looks are more important. Sometimes, when we’re out, I have to eat a piece of cake or chicken meat, and 5 days later, I regret it.

  • Eric

    When I quit my beer-and-pizza “diet” my acne cleared up significantly.

  • Sean

    Binge eating = High Glycemic Load = Hyperglycemia = Acne

    So Cordain is partly right, however it does not matter what type of foods you eat, high calorific intake in single sittings will cause acne.

    Hunter gatherers around the world have differing diets, look at the Pimas compared to Eskimoes compared to Kitvan Islanders compared to Masai warriors. Their carb to fat to protein ratios all differ form each other yet their calorific intake is way lower relative to westerners.

    The Japanese diet before becoming westernized has high GI rice yet they had no acne. Why? Their portion sizes are small. Same with the French Paradox. They eat what is viewed as an unheathy diet yet they exercise portion control.

    Stress and infection exacerbate hyerglycemia. So acne feedsback into the situation with the undue stress it causes coupled with the infection.

    In eating disorders acne is common. Anorexics are usually non-purging bulimics. So paradoxically they lose weight whilst having acne. As they fast and exercise between binges.

    With all these crazy acne diets where certain foods are restricted you will eventually binge, and lo and behold breakout badly just like Dan did.

    Evaluate how many calories you need and distribute them evenly over at least 3 meals and preferably 4-5 and your acne will be reduced significantly. Follow the 80-20 rule, 80% healthy and 20% treats and you will be less likely to binge.

    Diabetics are told how important portion control is and total calories is now.

    Anecdotally apple cider vinegar and green tea and vodka are touted as helpful in acne, isn’t it interesting that they all reduce GI of meals. However even these can’t surpress a crazy binge. First and foremost calorie and portion control is essential.

  • kim

    well i def believe that for some people diet is the problem!
    i never ever thought about is as no doctor or derm has ever brought it up!! they just happy to hand out pills as if they are sweets!
    i only heard about it from my flatmates who one if she eats wheat she gets spots and the other if she eats dairy or wheat she gets spots!
    i then read on here about heaps of people so i cut out dairy and long as i stick to it im fine!
    i do use some cream and taking tablets at mo but im going cut down and stop them as i feel that i dont need them long as im good at not eating dairy! it can be a bit hard as i love cheese, pizza, milk chocolate, cream etc but in time im sure i will get used to it and if means i have clear skin its sooo worth it!
    i just wish someone had mentioned this to me 10 years ago so i didnt have to go through the lats 10 yrs of having spots!

  • anonymous

    Years of antibiotics and topical treatments for me came to an end when I stopped eating onion, cooked or raw. Even the small amounts in spaghetti or pizza sauce assures me of a reaction and an acne breakout. I now wash my face with water and a washcloth, and my skin looks great. Every now and then I’ll go ahead and enjoy an onion meal and take a Claritin along with it to nearly eliminate the effects.

  • ebenezer15

    I’m so confused!!! My face is a mess. I’ve cut out sugar and caffine and for a while it worked. Now it seems to not matter what I do. I don’t eat that much wheat or dairy. I feel like I have to give up eating. I’m not sure what to try next. Any suggestions? Any idea why the sugar and caffine thing stopped working?

  • Tea

    I always have a strong reaction whenever I eat cheese, and it really brings me down because I loooove it! I’m currently trying to figure out if I react as strongly to ice cream and yoghurt. Do you think there is a difference between different dairy products? Is cheese the worst? It does have the highest consentration of casein.

  • sazzy

    My best advice is to live like each day is the last and not over-stress if you eat something “bad”.

    I do know what it’s like though. It’s really embarrassing to walk around with a dirty looking face and to have people stare at you and think you don’t take care of yourself enough- when in actual fact, we (as acne sufferers) tend to try as be as clean/healthy/pure as possible.

    But I wouldn’t worry too much. We’re a family here, and God thinks we are beautiful, considering He made us, and loves us unconditonally despite our spots! X

  • hiao

    I have read so much of this site (and several others) and the number one thing I have learned is that every one is different, and has unique reactions to various internal as well as topical approaches. In this post alone there are people claiming common links to their acne such as wheat or dairy, but there are also more rare situations where victims have identified links such as onions or spices. Obviously we are all unique, but as acne sufferers we have one goal: HOW CAN I GET RID OF ACNE FOREVER?

    I think I’ve finally got it: Optimize your internal health.

    Research is starting to link the diet acne relationship (wheat dairy) but is making one simple yet critical mistake: assuming that all acne suffers are alike. The elimination diet that works for some may not work for another for 2 reasons:

    1) it has a strict focus on select foods rather than the quest to discover the individuals PERSONAL FOOD SENSITIVITY such as the common culprits wheat and dairy or the rarer cases of onion. Note: Sensitivities are like less severe allergic relations, so if you’ve tried to eliminate the biggies with out success and are set on finding your sensitivity you can test your self at home using the fairly reliable coca test (no smoking allowed) or trips to naturopaths or by sending samples to labs.

    2) does not take MENTAL HEALTH into consideration Psychodermatology, a new field in science, is finding a 50/50 correlation.

    In my perspective, from hours of my own research, I feel the pieces just need to be put together…being healthy inside and out, starts with a positive lifestyle. Wheat and dairy are targeted because they spike blood sugar levels etc, and are the most dominant additions to the western diet. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be told that bread, cheese, chocolate, and coffee were the the new food groups but no human body can properly survive off of such a diet for a prolonged time. With all the chemicals and hormones in our westerns foods, sensitivities and allergies are becoming more and more prevalent… I am not surprised.

    Acne sufferers in a way are lucky that they get a warning sign that there is an imbalance, where as my clear skinned chip lovin friend may not get the hint until the Dr is telling them. Be optimistic that a healthy attitude and healthy diet for yourself will benefit both your acne and you… I’m going to do it and maybe I to can just wash my face with water and a cloth!

  • Forever

    I’m on my fifth day struggling with a healthy diet. As much as possible I avoid sweets and too salty foods. Alternatively, I cook my own. Using olive oil and saute garlic with greens. That’s all I eat. And ofcourse more water and little apples and mangoes. Sometimes when I starve, I eat rice. Well, this is really into commitment and patience. It’s difficult in my part, ’cause I’m seventeen and yet I need to avoid my most favorite foods. The Hershey’s, the Combos, chocolate drinks, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate.. Everything that tastes sweet, I eat. Until I discovered that it was the one causing all these embarassment, frustration and disappointment.

    Well, at least I discovered earlier. A year with these acne are enough, these just hurts a lot. Inside and out. So this teenager here is committed to a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!

    How I wish this works as fast as it could. โ˜บ

  • kevin

    yeah the only thing that worked for me is the acne cured program you can google it. major diet changes, sups, and internalcleansing if u have cystic kind. it works! fist week and i noticed a huge improvement.