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Take a read of this - bread causes acne?!

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Quote from www.newscientist.com:

Eating too much refined bread and cereal, rather than chocolate and greasy foods, may be the culprit behind the pimples that plague many a youngster.

That is the theory of a team led by Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Highly processed breads and cereals are easily digested. The resulting flood of sugars makes the body produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

This in turn leads to an excess of male hormones. These encourage pores in the skin to ooze large amounts of sebum, the greasy goop that acne-promoting bacteria love. IGF-1 also encourages skin cells called keratinocytes to multiply, a hallmark of acne, the team say in a paper that will appear in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

An Australian team will soon test the theory by putting 60 teenage boys with acne on a low-carbohydrate diet for three months to see if it makes a difference.

Here is the link:


Any thoughts on this?

Update: I've read through this a second time and it mentions that the cause is the refining processes used. Other (possible) symtoms include:

* short-sightedness (I wear glasses)

* Diabetes (I've got to watch out for this because my nan had it)

If this proves true, then it will answer a LOT of questions.

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I am a carb lover myself. I try to avoid highly refined carbs like white bread. I have been trying to stick with whole grains, but it is difficult. I would never go totally Atkins, but it's probably a good idea to limit your total carbs. It's funny that it has also recently come out that the US Food Pyramid is totally out of whack. I feel that the worst thing you can eat are hydrogenated and trans fats like margarine. Saturated fats should be limited, but I feel that they are no where near the evil that many make them out to be. Remember, that the acne/carb link is just a theory for now.

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Thanks for the speedy reply (I say this because it's late here in the UK and I won't be able to check again until tomorrow afternoon). I'm going to try and cut my carbohydrate intake to see if it has any effect. I'll make myself a diary thread or something to keep you updated.

By the way, I do eat a lot of white bread - I'm going to stick to brown bread from now on. Also, I eat cereal for breakfast, so this might be a factor as well (I suppose toast made from brown bread from now on).

(Totally Atkins? Eh? Enlighten me.)

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I would be more concerned about white bread and its effect on your blood sugar, than I would for its role in acne. If you decide to go for whole grains, try to look for unprocessed whole wheat flours. Even a lot of so-called whole wheat breads are highly processed. You have to read labels. The Atkin's diet is a controversial diet in which you have to eliminate almost all carbs from your diet including sugar and alcohol. The flip-side is that you can eat all the fat and protein that you want. You can dine on bacon and eggs fried in butter every day if you like! You can eat hamburgers minus the buns. I am oversimplifying it. People have lost large amounts of weight following this diet. The funny thing is that people on Atkins also lowered their cholesterol. It kinda makes you wonder how much we really know about food. Probably the worst thing you can eat are trans fatty acids. That includes margarine and any other hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. They are widely used in the U.S. in processed foods(mostly snack foods). They provide a longer shelf life for products made with them. If enough people stop buying these products, maybe food manufacturers will take these bad fats out of our food. Well, I better get off my soapbox for now... :wink:

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I suppose that is possible, but as njacobs stated, it is only a theory at this point.

The only nutrient I know of that's been scientifically proven to aggravate acne is Iodine. This is just what I have heard/read and I did see somewhat of an improvement when I eliminated a fair amount of Iodine from my diet.

I do think that it's going to depend on each person's body chemistry too. Obviously there are people who won't get acne flare-ups even if they do all the things that are supposed to contribute to acne. I'd probably do a search on "acne" and "diet" or "nutrition" on the web and see what you come up with - then maybe you could keep a food diary and see what works for you and what doesn't seem to work. You might choose to stick to avoiding things foods that have been scientifically proven to cause flare-ups. Just a suggestion. Good luck! :X

Oh, here are some foods that contain iodine (there are probably more, but this gives you an idea):




egg yolk





iodized or sea salt

dairy products

some breads (containing iodate)

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I have never found that Iodine has effected my acne. It took away the goiter that was growing when I hadn't had enough Iodine.


Bread; white or wheat it is the Gluten in it that gives me acne. When I cut out bread all together the zits I'd had for 3 months continuous were gone within 10 days. I cut out all Gluten which is VERY hard especially for a carb adict, and I have been Gluten Free for 4 years now. I can't even tolerate low gluten grains like Spelt. I only really discovered this was the problem when I, with acne covering my face, ate a chicken and mushroom pie. Within 10 minutes of finishing my dinner MY ACNE HURT!! No really, I then suddenly thought, this happens quite often that my zits hurt after I eat. So I quit cold turkey.

Not just my my acne improved, but my skin complaints like my splitting earlobes, my terrible scalp, and my rashes on my hands. All of which I have had Doctors try to cure seprately. Nope, all connected I'm afraid, and caused by the same thing. Gluten!!! Evil S**t. Doctors don't believe food can affect you so much.

I cope with my Gluten free diet simply because I am able to get some EXCELLENT gluten free rolls and bread at Waitrose. (store in England)

Sandwitches still are my favourite, and now with these rolls, dinner/lunch is alot more varied.

Try cutting out all Gulten for 10 days and just see what happens.

(All wheat has Gluten, so no pasta; unless it's gluten free.)

let me know if you do, and what results you have.

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Right i am going to try it Tall girl!! I feel guilty now for eating bread today and i am mad on it aswell. It will be hard but im gonna try it. Will let you know how it goes, cheers 4 that 8)

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I started limiting my carbs a year ago and my acne has improved immensly. Unfortunately, I also started using the regimen at that same time, so I can't vouch for this study or not. BTW: eating whole grains isn't any better than eating white grains. They are both ground to so fine a powder by machinery (going back 100 years now) that eating either one causes an insulin response equal to or greater than eating pure sugar!

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Hi all-

It makes sense that Iodine and Gluten products do aggravate acne. It seems like just eliminating those ingredients even for a week or so..no break outs. Does anyone have problems with dairy products also?

It is so hard to cut all these ingredients out of our diets,..ughh.. but hey if my skin is clearer...why not.

My esthetician can tell I have food allergies from the top of my eye lids (purplish cast) so I haven't totally eliminated these ingredients but making efforts to.

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My skin is actually looking great at the minute, I'm pretty certain that BP is the thing that is keeping my skin clear. I haven't changed my diet at all, so I'm quite sure diet doesn't affect my skin in a big way. It may be different for other people.

If anyones interested this is a typical weeks food:

Breakfast - 1 bowl of cereal a day

Lunch - Either soup (cause it's cold at the minute!), beans or spaghetti on toast

Dinner - A cooked meal (meat & veg) twice a week, something with chips at least once, and the other days vary.

Snacks - Either fruit or a chocalate bar a few times a day.

I also drink about 3-4 glasses of water a day (used to be 8 glasses a day!).

Does anyone think this is a bad diet? Personally, I've never had a problem. A year ago I was 11 stone and lost 2 stone within a couple of months by reducing the amount of snack food I was eating. My skin improved as well, so perhaps diet does have an effect.

(Note: I'm 5'7", 9 1/2 Stone and have a 29" waist)

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