“Paleo” Type Diet May be Linked to a Reduction in Teenage Acne
Researchers in Germany have recently published a paper exploring the link between a typical western diet and the prevalence of teenage acne in developed nations.
In one recent study, researchers noted that acne is a disease most found in Western civilization with over 85% of adolescents exhibiting some form of acne. Previous studies have indicated that the western diet may be a fundamental nutritional factor promoting the acne epidemic.
The typical western diet, according to the authors of the study, is full of dairy products such as milk and cheese, and also consists of foods that have a high glycemic index. High glycemic foods include most grains (rice, bleached wheat flour, potatoes, corn, etc.), and specifically processed foods such as donuts, instant mashed potatoes, and breakfast cereals. Sugary drinks and sodas also have a high glycemic index.
Instead, researchers pointed to a Paleolithic-type (Paleo) type diet as a way to help manage acne. Paleo diets encourage consumption of low glycemic foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean animal protein (such as beef or fish), seeds and nuts, and eggs. Paleo diets stay away from dairy products, legumes (such as peanuts or lentils), potatoes, sugar, and processed cereals and foods. Researchers also pointed out that normalizing calorie intake may also benefit acne sufferers.
The paper examined the molecular pathology of nutrient signaling of a western diet in the pathogenesis of acne. Placebo-controlled studies and epidemiological evidence have previously demonstrated that diets high in dairy consumption and abundant high glycemic foods can aggravate acne. High glycemic foods are known to raise insulin levels in the body and increase serum levels of free insulin growth factors.
Researchers concluded that dermatologists who counsel acne patients, especially preteens and young adults, should not only focus on the treatment of existing acne, but should also strive to educate their patients on other aggravating factors of acne, including a diet high in sugary and starchy foods and dairy products.
Source: Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 311–315, May 2013
[image by Ginny]