YMCA Healthy Living Magazine winter 2021 - Page 11

1 Dairy and hormonal acne
Over the years , there has been much speculation about the effect dairy products have on developing acne . Many studies have been done , however , the results rely on participants recalling their diet from previous years . I ’ m not sure about you , but most people struggle to accurately remember what they ate yesterday or last week – let alone years ago !
This data is not reliable enough to suggest eliminating dairy from your diet completely , as the benefits of the high quality protein , calcium , magnesium and vitamin B2 in the diet , currently outweigh the possible negatives .
If you have tried eliminating dairy and found that it works for you , fair enough . Our bodies are individual and different things work for different people . Just remember that dairy-free diets are often not adequate in calcium , so please speak to a dietitian to discuss alternate calcium sources or supplementation .
2 Whey protein and hormonal acne
Whey protein is one of the major proteins found in milk .
In 2013 , a study involving 30 participants found that the use of whey protein as a protein supplement led to the development of acne . However , this sample size was very small and the results are not reliable enough to discourage the use of whey protein powders to control acne .
My best piece of advice : try to eat whole proteins like eggs , fish and lean meats , and don ’ t rely on protein supplements all the time !
3 Sugar and hormonal acne
Recently , high glycaemic index ( GI ) diets have been the talk of the acne town . High GI carbohydrate foods are those that release glucose quickly and cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and an even quicker drop . These foods include chocolate , jasmine rice , lollies , refined sugar , soft drinks , white bread and more .
Did your mum tell you eating too much chocolate would give you pimples ? Was mum right after all ?
A 2016 study found that when participants ate more high GI foods , this led to a decrease in circulating adiponectin levels . Adiponectin is a hormone that has anti-inflammatory properties , which means it works to reduce the effects of
certain factors that cause inflammation . The study found that acne sufferers have lower levels of adiponectin in their blood and concluded that a low GI diet was preferable to a high GI diet in acne sufferers .
Another study found that when people drank soft drinks every day , their risk of acne increased . This was put down to the excess amounts of high GI refined sugar from those drinks .
The take away point here is yes , mum was right – it ’ s a good idea to limit refined sugar , excessively processed foods and those high GI foods if you want to control your acne .
4 Anti-inflammatory diets
The best piece of advice I can give to people wanting to control acne , is to eat a nutritionally dense , balanced diet which is rich in whole foods , such as : eggs , fish , fruit , lean meat , low fat dairy , meat alternatives , wholegrains and vegetables .
A diet like this is the best ‘ anti-inflammatory diet ’, because it provides plenty of nutrients that support your skin as well as protective antioxidants – which can reduce inflammation .
Omega 3 fatty acids have been associated with acne improvement . Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties , which can have an overall positive effect on acne progression . Good sources of omega 3 include chia seeds , oily fish ( e . g . mackerel , salmon , trout and tuna ) and walnuts .
Final thoughts
At present , there is no robust evidence that proves people with acne should be cutting out core food groups like dairy . The current science solution points to a balanced and varied diet which is low in sugary , highly processed foods .