As if having a face full of greasy pimples weren't bad enough, now acne ridden teens looking to clear up their skin should avoid eating carbs. People with acne may have hyperinsulinemia and foods low on the glycemic index, otherwise known as refined carbohydrates, may contribute to the hormonal control of acne, found Dr. Alan R. Shalita. That means no bread, pasta, cake, cookies, or mashed potatoes. But that's just the beginning of the no-list, depending on which studies you're following.
Carbs aren't the first food linked to acne. Milk products could also be contributing to the problem, found a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Researchers from the University of Miami have linked chocolate to breakouts. And dermatologist Valori Treloar, co-author of The Clear Skin Diet, believes eating "bad" fats causes acne, explains Scientific American's Cynthia Graber.
Of course if you want to continue eating these treats you can listen to some of the other literature on acne and diet. As is often the case, different studies offer conflicting evidence. The chocolate link has been refuted, for example: "One study that compared Hershey chocolate bars with carob bars found no difference in acne risk," explains Shalita. "There is sugar and fat in both, so for people that do react to chocolate, it has more to do with the sugar than the cocoa." And while Treloar points to studies linking eating fatty foods and pimples, "this specific food connection, however, has not been confirmed in controlled studies," says Graber. "The fat you put in your mouth does not reappear on your skin."
And some foods actually make your face look clearer. "The acne of the boys on the higher-protein, low-glycemic index diet improved dramatically, by more than 50 percent" found senior author Neil Mann, an associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. At least you can still eat a nice steak dinner.