Acne-Causing Foods to Avoid

Chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting sit on a baking rack.
(Image credit: Cupcake photo via Shutterstock)

One condition seems to be rampant in our society today. It affects millions of Americans and the costs associated with treating it exceed $2 billion, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The condition?  Acne. It seems to be a growing problem, and although it isn’t life-threatening, it can have a major effect on your quality of life.

If acne is going to rear its ugly head, it usually does so during puberty. However, it can also appear well into adulthood. So why do we get acne, and more important, what can we do about it?

The AAD lists three causes:

·Enlarged oil glands in the skin that produce too much oil.

·Blockage of the hair follicles that release oil.

·Growth of bacteria within the hair follicles.

Notice that two out of three acne causes are related to oil production. According to a study published this month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some of that excess oil production may be diet-related. This study found that high-glycemic foods and dairy products can cause changes in the body that lead to increased cellular growth and oil production, which can increase the chances of developing acne. Yikes! Better cut back on that cheddar. But, what’s a glycemic index?

The glycemic index is a measure of the speed at which sugar in food enters your bloodstream. High-glycemic foods are those that have the fastest blood sugar response. So, things like cupcakes and white bread are considered high glycemic. It’s important to note, though, that the glycemic index isn’t a measure of a food’s nutritional value, fat content, or anything else. It simply indicates how it will affect your blood sugar levels. It can be confusing, to say the least.

Here are some tips for eating a low-glycemic diet without stressing out:

Avoid processed foods. Whole foods are usually lower on the glycemic index than processed foods. Apple juice will spike your blood sugar at a much faster rate than eating a whole apple.

Try a protein pairing. Because protein is harder to digest, it can bring down the overall glycemic index of a meal. Just don’t use cheese or other dairy products as your protein. Remember, those may also cause acne.

Choose fiber. Since it can’t be digested by the body, fiber is low on the glycemic index. Eat foods that are high in fiber, and there’s a good chance you'll steer clear of high GI foods.

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.