Chocolate lovers, there’s no need to avoid the luscious pleasure of this formerly forbidden food: Dermatologists declare that there’s no direct evidence linking chocolate consumption with acne breakouts and pimples. They do note, however, that poor diet in general leads to skin problems.
The high glycemic index diet enjoyed by most Westerners is thought to be a culprit in acne breakouts. If your diet is high in sugar, refined carbs, and unhealthy fats and you can’t remember what an apple looks like, eating chocolate is only one of many dietary blunders. If your daily diet is high in fruits and vegetables, low in refined carbohydrates, and includes a balanced supply of protein and healthy fats, a little chocolate won’t cause breakouts and acne.
Dermatologists believe that each case of acne is unique to the individual and his or her circumstances. Heredity, environment, stress levels, diet, hormone cycles, and age all play a role in skin problems. Your dermatologist could recommend a combination of therapies including pharmaceutical medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements, and a washing routine based on your experiences with acne.
Curious which foods you should avoid if you’re prone to breakouts? High glycemic foods include:
Fruits such as raw bananas and watermelon
Vegetables such as pumpkin, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas
Sugars such as honey and table sugar (sucrose)
Grains such as most breads (including whole grain breads), all types of rice (including brown rice), breakfast cereals (cornflakes are especially terrible), and baby cereal
Other products such as energy drinks, Ensure, and meal replacement products
Bottom line? Eat a healthy diet and indulge in chocolate once in a while. Since chocolate doesn’t cause acne, you don’t need to avoid it completely.
Glycemic Index Foundation (2010). Foods with a glycemic index greater than 70. Search feature available from http://www.glycemicindex.com.
Magin, P., Pond, D., Smith, W., and Watson, A. (2005). A systematic review of the evidence for “myths and misconceptions” in acne management: diet, face-washing and sunlight. Family Practice 22: 62-70. PDF available from http://www.fampra.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/22/1/62.