What Is the Link Between Your Diet & Acne Breakout?

Today, there seem to be two types of people: those who are health conscious and those who are not.  Those who are very mindful of what they put into their body firmly believe that a poor diet is the root cause of the majority of both mental and physical health issues.  Those who are not as cautious about their diet tend not to hold any stock in those ideas. But, can our diet exacerbate some problems or reduce others from occurring?

When it comes to acne breakouts, is there a correlation between an increase in acne and what you eat?  Or are there no scientific facts to back up that claim?  As with most issues, the answer to these questions is not precisely cut and dry, but there is scientific information that seems to agree that you are what you eat in the case of acne breakouts.

What Science Says About Your Diet Causing Acne Breakouts

At present, most medical experts agree that there is not a definitive diet that should be followed to prevent acne breakouts from occurring.  While that may be the case, they also agree that food in moderation and paying attention to how your skin responds when you eat particular foods is wise in determining whether or not you are subject to specific foods causing breakouts.

They are hesitant to reach a definite conclusion on this issue because there are too many variables for the science to be reliable.  For example, if you are very conscientious about your food intake, you may recall having a particular food and then breaking out shortly thereafter.  However, if you do not pay attention to everything you consume, you might not remember having a food that could cause your acne.

Is There Anything Scientists Can Agree On When it Comes to Your Diet Causing Acne?

While there is still debate surrounding this issue, most doctors and scientists can agree that there seems to be a correlation between several different types of food and acne breakouts.

Refined Carbohidrates

Foods that are high in refined carbohydrates show to contribute to skin breakouts. Some foods that contain refined carbs include:

  • Foods made from white flower
  • White rice
  • Sweetened beverages
  • Sugar sweeteners

The science backing this theory is sound.  Carbs like these cause issues with your body’s insulin levels.  When these foods break down, they raise your insulin levels, and, in turn, they tend to block the glands on your face that secrete oil.  Because those glands can’t “breathe,” they clog your pores with oil, causing acne.

One study conducted in the US showed some interesting results in this regard.  Around 2,200 patients were put on a low-carb diet for other health-related issues.  87% of those patients claimed a reduction in acne breakouts during the study.

While this would seem to be definitive evidence to prove that a diet high in carbs causes acne, the study also says that there needs to be further research conducted before that conclusion can be drawn.

Cow’s Milk

Another frequently ingested substance that seemed to make all of the acne-causing foods and beverages list was cow’s milk. In these cases, it did not matter the type of cow’s milk, as all types (whole, 2%, skim) seemed to affect skin breakouts.

One study showed a 44% increase in acne breakouts in women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day.  Another showed that people who drank milk or ate ice cream regularly had breakouts at a rate of four times higher than those who did not. 

The flaw with this theory is that there is no proof as to WHY milk causes breakouts.  Most believe that cow’s milk contains a high amount of hormones, and an imbalance in hormones is a proven factor contributing to acne breakouts. However, it is still not verified that the excess hormones in cow’s milk cause acne.

While the possibility is excellent, most studies agree that more research must be done on the topic before concluding.

What is the Final Recommendation Concerning Diet and Acne Breakouts?

Most doctors and scientists agree that eating a healthy, balanced diet will always be the best answer for any issue regarding your health.  Beyond that, they recommend tracking your food intake and taking note of what you eat and drink (by doing something like keeping a food journal) just before an acne breakout.  Those foods and beverages are probably personal triggers for your skin’s inflammation, and they should be avoided whenever possible.  

While the jury still seems to be out on whether or not your diet can cause acne breakouts, the evidence seems to support that it can.  So eat healthily and avoid trigger foods in excess to prevent unnecessary acne.

 

4 Beginner Steps to Clean Eating

If you’re one to keep up on the latest trends in health and wellness, chances are you’ve heard the term “clean eating” a lot recently. Different from popular diets like keto and paleo, clean eating is less about a restrictive diet and more about a lifestyle. It’s about fueling your body with whole foods that are minimally processed, if at all, that provide you with the best nutritional benefits. So how does one start to eat clean? Aside from eating a diet rich with fruits and vegetables, there are other ways to eat clean without eliminating entire food groups. Keep reading for four easy steps that you can implement in your daily life as you start out on your new health journey. 

 

1.  Read Nutrition Labels

There’s no denying that the easiest way to eat clean is to avoid packaged goods entirely, but that’s just not realistic in this day and age. Instead, if you’re reaching for that box of crackers and maybe a dip to pair with them, take a look at the ingredients listed on the package. A rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it, it’s not clean. The shorter the ingredient list the better! 

Don’t fall victim to “all natural” marketing claims either. Natural does not always mean minimally processed, so it’s always best to do some digging of your own to make sure there are no added sugars, unhealthy fats, or preservatives. 

2.  Set Yourself Up for Success 

Once you’ve made the decision for yourself to eat clean, make sure you’re not regularly putting yourself in tempting situations. Refrain from buying too many “cheat” snacks or foods that do not support your new lifestyle. It is easy to tell yourself at the store that these foods will only be for special occasions, but we all know how a late night sweet tooth can catch up with you. 

Instead, look for clean alternatives to your favorite foods. You’d be surprised how many brands have emerged that offer products with whole food ingredients that are better for you. Don’t worry, eating clean does not mean that you’ll have to say adios to those post-dinner cookies, they’ll just be healthier!

3.  Cook at Home 

The easiest way to get off track with your new lifestyle is eating out too much and not knowing what the food you’re eating is made with or how it’s prepared. The healthy-looking salmon on the menu could easily be smothered in butter or unhealthy oils which are hard to keep track of! When you’re starting off on your journey aim to scale back on eating out and when you do, select entrees that are more whole food based like a salad. If you really want to impress your friends and family with your new commitment, bring a side of dressing from home so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

If you aren’t used to cooking on your own, try making an experience out of it. Spend some time each week looking up clean recipes online and invite friends over to try them out on the weekends. You won’t have to say goodbye to your social life and your friends will get some delicious, healthy food at the same time. Who knows, you may inspire them to join you on your journey! 

4. Implement an 80/20 Mindset

Everything in moderation, right? As people we are creatures of habit, and it isn’t always easy to make a major lifestyle change. For the best chances of making a change and sticking with it long term, drop the “all or nothing” mindset and instead opt for 80/20. 80% of the time you will follow your new lifestyle, while giving yourself flexibility the other 20%.That’s not to say you should do a complete 180 during your flex time, but showing yourself grace and treating yourself to a small treat here and there will keep you more motivated along your journey. Over time you may even surprise yourself and stop craving processed foods all together!

After all is said and done it’s safe to say clean eating isn’t just the latest fad diet, it is here to stay. Increasing your awareness of the foods you eat will not only help your physical health, but your mental health as well. The mind body connection is very powerful and eating clean is the first step to optimizing your overall health.

 

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