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nothing we didn't know- but now confirmed-western diet causes acne

Apparently the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has finally concluded that the western diet seriously contributes to the formation of acne through the Hi GI-insulin-testosterone-sebum path way. Not that new to most of us bust at least we wont have to put up with idiot derms telling us we can stuff our face with pizza and coke and it wont affect our skin.

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From the article:

FOODS TO EAT Whole grains, 70% dark chocolate, lentils, brown rice, porridge, apples, dried apricots.

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Don't worry, the times added that bit it's only general. If they were to study the perfect diet they would make it a bit more strict and scientific :P

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Or, to be a bit more specific, the western diet may potentially have some impact on acne in certain individuals who are genetically prone to breaking out. Very few people with the western diet have acne and there are plenty of people who don't abide by the typical western diet who do.

Derms aren't just talking out of their asses, either. They actually do research these things. And what most of them will tell you is that if you can identify a particular item in your diet that breaks you out, avoid it. The idea that there is some huge conspiracy going on and members of the medical field are trying to avoid responsibility is a bit over the top, I think.

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Very few people with the western diet have acne and there are plenty of people who don't abide by the typical western diet who do.

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they consider it like 85% if youve ever had a zit in your whole life fact is obly people with high sebum production will get consistent acne

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Or, to be a bit more specific, the western diet may potentially have some impact on acne in certain individuals who are genetically prone to breaking out. Very few people with the western diet have acne and there are plenty of people who don't abide by the typical western diet who do.

Derms aren't just talking out of their asses, either. They actually do research these things. And what most of them will tell you is that if you can identify a particular item in your diet that breaks you out, avoid it. The idea that there is some huge conspiracy going on and members of the medical field are trying to avoid responsibility is a bit over the top, I think.

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they consider it like 85% if youve ever had a zit in your whole life fact is obly people with high sebum production will get consistent acne

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they consider it like 85% if youve ever had a zit in your whole life fact is obly people with high sebum production will get consistent acne

Exactly. Adult acne does exist, but the vast majority of sufferers are in their teens and early 20s. If the western diet "causes" acne, why is it that most people who maintain this very diet usually outgrow the condition as they age?

As far as people with healthy diets and acne go, just look around these boards. I've seen dozens of people come on here and talk about how they cut out all refined sugars/carbs, dairy, gluten, wheat, etc. for months at a time and it had very little impact on their skin. I myself have altered my diet drastically over the years, but the breakouts keep coming regardless.

I will always support the notion that being moderately diet conscious is essential for everyone, acne or no, but it does not "cause" acne, and as far as I can tell isn't even a contributing factor for many people with this condition. Like virtually every other acne treatment out there, it works for some and not at all for others.

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they consider it like 85% if youve ever had a zit in your whole life fact is obly people with high sebum production will get consistent acne

Exactly. Adult acne does exist, but the vast majority of sufferers are in their teens and early 20s. If the western diet "causes" acne, why is it that most people who maintain this very diet usually outgrow the condition as they age?

As far as people with healthy diets and acne go, just look around these boards. I've seen dozens of people come on here and talk about how they cut out all refined sugars/carbs, dairy, gluten, wheat, etc. for months at a time and it had very little impact on their skin. I myself have altered my diet drastically over the years, but the breakouts keep coming regardless.

I will always support the notion that being moderately diet conscious is essential for everyone, acne or no, but it does not "cause" acne, and as far as I can tell isn't even a contributing factor for many people with this condition. Like virtually every other acne treatment out there, it works for some and not at all for others.

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If the western diet "causes" acne, why is it that most people who maintain this very diet usually outgrow the condition as they age?

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Apparently the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has finally concluded that the western diet seriously contributes to the formation of acne through the Hi GI-insulin-testosterone-sebum path way. Not that new to most of us bust at least we wont have to put up with idiot derms telling us we can stuff our face with pizza and coke and it wont affect our skin.

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For the people who have identified the foods that trigger their acne, and eliminated them with success, congrats! That is awesome.

For the rest of us who still haven't found the triggers, studies like these continue to be frustrating. I haven't been on a "typical western diet" for years and years, yet still suffer acne. A medical condition prevents me from eating almost any manufactured food, and almost any sugar; my diet is unprocessed, organic, high in veggies and fiber and low GL and organic-local-hormone-free meats, yadda yadda yadda. And I'm still on these boards. I hate to think people look at my face and automatically make assumptions about my lifestyle (the medieval "God's Punishment" for dietary sin!)

Just seems like more evidence to me that the problem is very complex and has many different causes, and many different solutions for different people.

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For the people who have identified the foods that trigger their acne, and eliminated them with success, congrats! That is awesome.

For the rest of us who still haven't found the triggers, studies like these continue to be frustrating. I haven't been on a "typical western diet" for years and years, yet still suffer acne. A medical condition prevents me from eating almost any manufactured food, and almost any sugar; my diet is unprocessed, organic, high in veggies and fiber and low GL and organic-local-hormone-free meats, yadda yadda yadda. And I'm still on these boards. I hate to think people look at my face and automatically make assumptions about my lifestyle (the medieval "God's Punishment" for dietary sin!)

Just seems like more evidence to me that the problem is very complex and has many different causes, and many different solutions for different people.

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For the people who have identified the foods that trigger their acne, and eliminated them with success, congrats! That is awesome.

For the rest of us who still haven't found the triggers, studies like these continue to be frustrating. I haven't been on a "typical western diet" for years and years, yet still suffer acne. A medical condition prevents me from eating almost any manufactured food, and almost any sugar; my diet is unprocessed, organic, high in veggies and fiber and low GL and organic-local-hormone-free meats, yadda yadda yadda. And I'm still on these boards. I hate to think people look at my face and automatically make assumptions about my lifestyle (the medieval "God's Punishment" for dietary sin!)

Just seems like more evidence to me that the problem is very complex and has many different causes, and many different solutions for different people.

I don't believe that diet is the "cause" of anyone's acne, but I do believe that it is an important factor for some individuals. However, it seems like these people are generally able to identify specific, fairly obvious triggers that, when removed from their diets results in a noticeable reduction in acne. We're talking severe, cystic, constant acne. That isn't the case for all of us, though. I maintain a consistent, well-balanced, relatively high protein/low GI diet and my acne is fairly mild and comes and goes seemingly at random. I should also note that even when my diet was fairly high GI, my acne remained roughly the same. In my case, and apparently in many other people's as well, there is no evidence whatsoever that diet is responsible for breakouts. All that is accomplished by generalizing and assuming diet is the primary factor for all of us is we get to feel like shit as if we are somehow to blame for our acne. And quite frankly, we aren't. At all. It is a genetic condition and this is exemplified by the fact that acne, while common, only affects a minority of individuals beyond a certain age despite holding to a consistent lifestyle.

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For the people who have identified the foods that trigger their acne, and eliminated them with success, congrats! That is awesome.

For the rest of us who still haven't found the triggers, studies like these continue to be frustrating. I haven't been on a "typical western diet" for years and years, yet still suffer acne. A medical condition prevents me from eating almost any manufactured food, and almost any sugar; my diet is unprocessed, organic, high in veggies and fiber and low GL and organic-local-hormone-free meats, yadda yadda yadda. And I'm still on these boards. I hate to think people look at my face and automatically make assumptions about my lifestyle (the medieval "God's Punishment" for dietary sin!)

Just seems like more evidence to me that the problem is very complex and has many different causes, and many different solutions for different people.

I don't believe that diet is the "cause" of anyone's acne, but I do believe that it is an important factor for some individuals. However, it seems like these people are generally able to identify specific, fairly obvious triggers that, when removed from their diets results in a noticeable reduction in acne. We're talking severe, cystic, constant acne. That isn't the case for all of us, though. I maintain a consistent, well-balanced, relatively high protein/low GI diet and my acne is fairly mild and comes and goes seemingly at random. I should also note that even when my diet was fairly high GI, my acne remained roughly the same. In my case, and apparently in many other people's as well, there is no evidence whatsoever that diet is responsible for breakouts. All that is accomplished by generalizing and assuming diet is the primary factor for all of us is we get to feel like shit as if we are somehow to blame for our acne. And quite frankly, we aren't. At all. It is a genetic condition and this is exemplified by the fact that acne, while common, only affects a minority of individuals beyond a certain age despite holding to a consistent lifestyle.

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I've seen dozens of people come on here and talk about how they cut out all refined sugars/carbs, dairy, gluten, wheat, etc. for months at a time and it had very little impact on their skin.

And I have seen way more, hundreds, say that they saw that it was clearly improving their skin, sometimes drastically.

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if i have one criticism of these boards it is that people have a tendency to misread what people have said to suit their own polemic, and also that every one is so combative. if you would read the first statement posted it sights that this study shows diet as a major contributing factor, not a cause. this is also what it says in the article, if you would care to read it. Further more, it is all very well telling us what people do and do not experience as a result of the diet changes they have made and then post on here, but it is impossible for anyone to know to what extent you followed these diets and what other factors may have come into play during that trial period. if i am to believe on view point over another, i will tend err on the side of the one done under test conditions by practitioners who have taken every extraneous factor into account when compiling their results.

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"dark 70%-cocoa chocolate, a relatively low-GI food because of its low fat and protein content, is far from the worst food for acne-sufferers"

MAYBE they gave the task to the wrong reporter... obviously a low GI-food does not depend on it´s fat nor protein, but sugar and carbohydrates as most of us already know. What about contacting the Australian scientitian and let him know what diet takes away all acne, instead of just "51% fewer pimples", which is good, but I wouldn´t be able to keep up with my diet, knowing that I still have half a face of acne. This clearly shows that the diet that the test group that did some progress is not a perfect one, in fact it´s the diet I was following for a long time without almost no improvement, the diet that has helped to get rid of acne (and a lot of other people here) is the low carbohydrate high fat diet, which does NOT include 70% cocoa chocolate, brown rice, lentils, porridge, apples nor dried apricots. As if all the people who suffers from acne did not try this diet, which is the diet that is suggested for a lot of ailments, however, it is still very high in carbohydrates.

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in fact the fat and protein content do make it a low GI food. 70% chocolate has a high level of carbohydrate, but because it also has high levels of protein and fat, the way it is digested and absorbed means that the sugar is released over a period of time as opposed to very quickly, which causes and insulin spike. that is exactly why you see so much advice about eating protein with carbohydrates because it slows the rate at which the sugar hits your blood stream.

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On the question of why everyone doesn't have acne all the time, why do we "grow out of it"? It has to do with the relationship between several different hormones.

Growth hormone triggers insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes elevated insulin levels overall, particularly in circumstances like the western diet which can induce insulin resistance on it's own, GH or not. Growth hormone, when combined with Insulin, increases the production of Insulin-Like Growth factor-1 (IGF-1).

IGF-1 triggers the increased production of androgens. IGF-1 also makes androgens much more potent than they would be in the absence of IGF-1. Androgens stimulate oil production, and IGF-1 stimulates hyperproliferation of skin cells. Oil + skin cells = pore plug = acne.

Growth hormone slows down to normal levels after puberty and after pregnancy ends. This is also usually when acne ends. Without GH, the process can't get started. But without excess insulin, the process gets short circuited as well. And, no one, in the absence of androgens, gets acne, which is why children and castrated males, never get acne. But androgen levels often remain elevated after puberty even when acne has cleared. The retreat of acne follows more closely the reduction of levels of IGF-1, even when androgens are still present. This makes sense because even if 1) androgen levels are still high (like in the case of all males), and 2) the diet has stayed the same (most people don't change their diet, they just assume they'll grow out of it), GH levels do drop after puberty. Since you need GH + Insulin to trigger IGF-1, and IGF-1 hyperpotentiates androgens, you can see how a reduction in GH would greatly reduce insulin levels and therefore IGF-1, and therefore also reduces the potency of circulating androgens, even if the androgen levels stay the same.

So for example, in the case of western children, they have GH, Insulin, and IGF-1, but no androgens, so no acne. In the case of the western adult who has outgrown acne, they have androgens, and insulin, but very low GH and therefore lower IGF-1 (since you need GH+Insulin to trigger IGF-1), and so lower potency androgens, so no acne. In the case of a person going through puberty in a non-western culture, they have GH, and androgens, but they have normal insulin levels because there are no refined carbs/sugars in the diet and so their IGF-1 levels are lower as well. This in turn keep the overall potency of their androgens at normal levels. You can see from those examples, a person starting off with a diet free of refined carbs/sugars will essentially never get acne because three of the four hormones needed for acne are not elevated. This matches observational studies of non-western cultures, where not a single case of acne can be found. You can see, the difference between a person who has had acne, and the person who grew up in a non-western culture who never had acne has one thing that differentiates them: insulin levels. This is why I believe that acne is diet related, and is completely preventable, if a proper diet free of refined carbs/sugars were to be started in childhood before the onset of puberty.

So the hormonal ingredients needed for acne are:

GH, Insulin, androgens, IGF-1. If you remove any one of those four hormones from the process, you don't get acne. Genetics probably plays a role there in how the body produces these hormones in response to the environment, which is why you see people eating crap, but have perfect skin...they may just produce lower levels of any one of those four hormones.

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Great info LiliVG, your posts are always thorough and appreciated among others. I posted a link a while back (too lazy atm to find it) to a site where a guy gives you his life history dealing with acne and how eliminated it. Upon his own experimentation along with his dermatologist he determined "sugar" to be the culprit. He said he was so sensitive to it that just 1/4 gram would cause him problems. He lists all the foods he eats and describes how this changed his lifestyle.

Ok, what the hell, here it is again:

Acne Prevention

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