The Surprising Link Between Obesity and Acne

Remember when your old folks would tell you not to eat chocolates, pizza, nuts, and junk foods to prevent acne breakouts? Well, there is now evidence that these foods can indeed cause acne. Although dermatologists place these dietary choices on the “myth list”, recent research has shown that there is a significant relationship between what a person eats and the risk of having acne.

The Acne-Obesity Research

overweight ladyAccording to a journal article published in Cutaneous Medicine for the Pracitioner (Cutis), a person’s diet may indeed cause skin breakouts or acne. The research was a Meta analysis that reviewed and compiled existing evidence about the association of diet with acne. According to the study, diet that causes insulin resistance may also cause acne.

The research went even further, suggesting that dermatologists should consider dietary factors in treating acne patients, and that they should be screened for it.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance happens when the body cannot process insulin effectively. The primary drivers for insulin resistance are foods with high a glycemic load. Insulin is a crucial hormone responsible for regulating fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Without insulin exerting this crucial role, there would be high amounts of fat and sugar in the body. This event in turn would cause conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, cardiovascular diseases and finally obesity.

High Glycemic Diet + Obesity = Acne

high fat high carbohydrate cakeAs stated previously, foods with high glycemic loads are found to be associated with acne, and surprisingly these foods are also associated with obesity. But what is glycemic load anyway? Glycemic load refers to an estimate on how much a particular food will raise an individual’s blood sugar level after consuming it. So if the food is said to have a high glycemic load, this means the food can raise a person’s blood sugar level significantly. Carbohydrates and fatty foods top the list of foods with a high glycemic load.

High glycemic load is associated with insulin resistance which in turn is associated with obesity and acne. There is other evidence that links diet (high glycemic load) to obesity and acne. In a survey done in New York City, 19 out of 100 obese teenage girls were found to experience more breakouts compared to teenage girls with normal weight. The preliminary evidence is said to suggest a possible connection between diet and acne. Experts also suggest that the connection might be due to levels of insulin, hormonal changes and high blood pressure. The said factors usually accompany obesity.

Editor’s Note: You might find this quick reference guide to the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of over 100 of the most commonly eaten foods useful. Published On the Harvard University Website, follow the link for this trusted source.

Prevent Acne and Obesity

There are now more reasons to exercise and eat healthy: a clear and healthy skin. With the association of obesity to acne, experts suggest that obese individuals (especially those affected with acne) must decrease consumption of foods with high glycemic load. Examples of foods that should be consumed in moderation are:

  • High Carb foods such as:Bread is a high Carb Food
    • <Pasta
    • Potatoes
    • Bread
    • White bread
    • Cereals
    • Biscuits
    • Dairy foods and milk products
    • Soft drinks
    • Chocolate bars
    • Beverages

eat more fruitConsume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber rich foods. These types of foods have a low glycemic index and thus do not raise your blood sugar level after consumption.

Also consider how you prepare your food. Boiled and baked foods have less oil and thus have lower fat content than fried foods.

Fresh foods also have less chemicals or preservatives than refined or processed foods; which may have more fats and carbohydrates.

Modifying your diet to prevent acne and obesity can be a difficult task when done alone, websites such as Medifast and Nutrisystem can help you with your goal to stay fit, healthy and beautiful.

Stay fit, healthy and pimple free!

Dr. Amarendra, the guest author of this article, blogs at, a site that provides vast information about weight loss and diet programs.

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