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Can You Get Acne From Eating Sugar?

Can You Get Acne From Eating Sugar? Can You Get Acne From Eating Sugar? Can You Get Acne From Eating Sugar?


Acne is the result of an overproduction of oil, also called sebum, an irregular shedding of dead skin cells causing irritation of your skin and buildup of bacteria. The exact cause underlying cause of these problems has yet to be identified, but high insulin levels may contribute to the hormonal imbalances, predisposing some people, especially adolescents and young adults, to acne. Foods leading to high levels of insulin, such as sugar, may therefore promote the apparition of pimples in sensitive people.

Sugar and Insulin

Foods that are high in sugar, like fruit juices, soft drinks, candies, granola bars, cookies, muffins, desserts, jams, syrups and added sugar in your coffee, cause your blood sugar levels to increase, which triggers the release of insulin from your pancreas. The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood insulin levels go. However, sugar is not the only nutrient in your food that has the potential of raising your blood sugar levels. Eating carbohydrate-containing foods, such as starchy foods like bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes, as well as milk also lead to elevated insulin levels.

Insulin and Acne

The hyperinsulinemia, or high insulin concentrations, resulting from the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates is responsible for increasing the bioavailability of androgens and elevating the free concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1, two hormones involved in acne. This explains the discrepancy between the prevalence of acne in different societies. For example, the prevalence of acne is significantly higher in modern societies, where sugar and refined carbohydrate intake constitute a large part of the diet. In comparison, nonwesternized societies with a low sugar and refined carbohydrate intake have low rates of acne, even among adolescents and young adults.

Keeping Insulin Levels Low

The best way to keep your insulin levels low and get control over your acne is to reduce your sugar and carbohydrate intake. A randomized-controlled trial showed that a diet based on foods that minimize blood sugar fluctuations and keep insulin levels at lower concentrations was effective at significantly reducing the number of acne lesions within a 12-week period among a group of young male suffering from acne, as published in July 2007 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Reducing Your Sugar Intake

To reduce your sugar intake, stop adding sugar to your coffee, avoid eating candies and desserts and eliminate soft drinks and fruit juices. For most people suffering from acne, these simple changes can greatly benefit their skin health and appearance. However, if you still have acne after decreasing your sugar intake, you may benefit from lowering your total carbohydrate intake by cutting back on your servings of bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and baked goods. Try maintaining these changes for a period of at least four weeks to see if it benefits your acne.

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