Contrary to popular belief, a certain type of diet can cause acne, according to a study by a CSU professor.
Loren Cordain, a professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, worked with a group of professionals around the world and found that diets consisting of refined grains, sugars and potatoes, typical ingredients in many Western diets, contribute to high acne levels.
“(The study) is going to revisit the idea that diet and acne are unrelated,” Cordain said. “This is a disease now that we’re beginning to understand.”
Cordain and others reached the conclusion that diet affects acne by studying the Kitivans of Papua New Guinea and the Ache people of Paraguay. In studying these people, who have diets uninfluenced by Western tastes, the researchers found not a single case of acne among the adolescents.
Cordain said the lack of acne could not be explained by genetics, so he knew the difference must be a result of environmental factors.
“Personally, I agree with (the findings),” said Brian Meythaler, a freshmen construction management major. “My acne comes and goes, depending on my intake of food.”
The acne findings will be published in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology. Cordain believes they will have a large impact on dermatology practices.
“It gives us an alternative way of ameliorating the disease symptoms and making them better,” he said. “Things change with changing information.”
When people eat foods with a lot of carbohydrates, such as white bread, cookies, candy and chocolate, this causes their blood sugar level to go up, which also makes insulin levels increase. The increased insulin contributes to acne.
“Everybody’s looking for more natural ways to prevent things (like acne),” said Anne-Lise Hultsch, a dermatologist at Dermatology of Northern Colorado who also works at Hartshorn Health Center. “(Cordain) really got it accepted by people like me. It suggests this is credible research.”
Cordain discusses his acne findings as well as how healthy eating can prevent heart disease and other chronic illnesses in his new book, “The Paleo Diet.”
“We’re helping people understand the cellular basis and the hormonal basis for acne,” Cordain said. “We’re saying that diet is probably a healthier alternative (to prescription drugs).”