It was an old wives’ tale worthy of medical research. Researchers managed to prove way back in 1969 that your chocolate noshing wasn’t causing you to break out, and that was a relief. In fact, science has since proven that certain foods can get rid of your acne. But that’s not to say that said old wives weren’t on to something, because what you eat really does make a detrimental difference when it comes to your complexion, according to Men’s Health.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ventured to figure out exactly what the problematic pimple-causing foods were. The research involved two groups of 32 participants; one group had clear skin, the other had moderate-to-severe acne. Each group was asked to complete a five-day food diary and then get blood work done.
Of all the participants, 61 percent believed that their diets were affecting their skin, and they were correct. But it wasn’t necessarily the greasy foods, strictly speaking, that were causing the issues. Participants who saw the worst acne flare-ups had diets high in carbs and high in foods with high glycemic loads.
The glycemic load of a food is determined by how sharply a person’s blood sugar spikes after consumption. The glycemic load index is measured from one to 100, and foods above 20 on the scale are considered to have a “high” glycemic load. Foods which have a score of 10 or less are considered to have a “low” glycemic load.
Some notable foods with high glycemic loads and high carbohydrate contents include white rice, baked russet potatoes, spaghetti, white bagels, and instant oatmeal. Some foods with low glycemic loads and low carbohydrate contents include apples, grapefruits, kidney beans, cashews, and carrots.
The researchers theorize that these factors play such a large role because they stimulate excessive insulin production. This increases the concentration of a hormone known as insulin-like growth factor-1, which causes the androgen hormones to be released, which then prompts your skin to overproduce oil. After countless processes, the human body eventually grants you the gift of acne.
That’s not to say that you can never eat a bagel again. You just need to cut your weekly bagel budget back a bit, maybe at the cost of your russet potato habit. Everyone’s skin is different, and ultimately, listen to what your dermatologist tells you if your skin situation gets serious.