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These Foods Can Cause Acne, According to Research
PHOTO BY wellmindness.com
  • On a holiday like today, there’s one thing that’s more annoying than having to wake up early in the morning – waking up early in the morning and finding a pimple staring back at you in the mirror. Could it be something you ate last night? Research says it may be something you’ve been eating since 3 months back. 

    A study presented at this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference Expo found that foods that have a high glycemic index (GI) are more likely to cause an acne breakout than those that have low GI. "High glycemic index foods are typically processed foods, high in white flour," study author Jennifer Burris, PhD, RD, of New York University told NPR. The glycemic index is a number assigned to food to determine how slowly or quickly it raises the sugar in your blood. Hence, sugary food like soda and cakes are on the list too.

    The study involved analyzing 27 studies on nutrition and acne, and asking participants ages 18 to 35 with mild to severe acne to cut back on foods with high GI. Severe acne is defined by the study as having 15 active pimples at any given time. Results showed a decrease in inflammatory acne lesions, but with slow effects, with noticeable difference taking as long 12 weeks, says Burris. 

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    So how does it happen? According to the study, eating high GI food causes an increase in blood sugar. When your blood sugar is high, it ramps up oil-producing hormones and, as you may already know, this extra oil now causes an increased chance for your skin to break out in pimples.

    The index is a tool primarily used by those with diabetes whose bodies cannot process sugar efficiently. This way, they're able to stay away from a high blood sugar level by controlling their diet. Not just for those managing diabetes however, everyone should steer clear of a high blood sugar level. According to Harvard, it can cause blindness, kidney failure and an increased cardiovascular risk.

    Harvard also provided a list of 100 common foods and their GI. We've taken a look at it and found that out of the top 10 on the list, three were foods common in the Filipino diet: 


    1. Gatorade brand of sports drink (GI of 89)
    Mayo Clinic still says that water is the best way to replace lost fluids. Sports drinks are okay for athletes or for those who have been exercising for more than 60 minutes as "sports drinks can help maintain your body's electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates," says Mayo Clinic. However, for those who don't fit those categories, it's ill-advised as sports drinks are loaded with sugar -- as much as 9 teaspoons in a 600 mL serving, according to Nutrition Australia. 

    2.  Boiled white potato (GI of 82)

    Potatoes are packed with carbohydrates. The body needs carbohydrates as a source of energy but it may be wiser to turn to whole grains for carbohydrates rather than potatoes and refined grains like rice and white bread, says Dr. Jon Ebbert on Mayo Clinic. "They are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium." 

    3. Rice cakes (GI of  82)

    Rice, like potatoes, are sources of carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar) which the body uses for energy. Filipino rice cakes include suman, maja blanca, kutsinta, sapin -sapin and pichi-pichi. When you don't use up the energy you've gained from these rice cakes, however, they're stored as fat instead. Again, it's better to switch to whole grain alternatives like wheat bread and brown rice. 

    Sources: NPR, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Oprah

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