Remember back in the 90's and early 2000's when it was pretty much the word of Utmost Totally For Real, Slap Bracelet Truth that sugar, chocolate and pizza caused acne? I can think of several teen magazines that used this as cover fodder for a few seasons (that and interviews with Brittany Spears). That teenage nutrition myth has been around forever! But no one has a good black or white answer, so I knew when this 2014 study came out on diet and acne, I had to share it with my brides and readers! Sorry to go all science-y on you, but now you have the facts and the bottom line!

So let's check this study out. When researchers looked at about 250 young adults, ages 18-25 in New York City they asked them to self-report acne severity. From there they looked at their diet and this is just one of the reasons why I am obsessed with my client's food logs. ALL OF THE DATA!  From those logs researchers delved into several factors:

  • dietary glycemic index
  • total sugar
  • added sugar
  • fruit
  • vegetable
  • saturated and trans fat consumption 
  • dairy
  • fish

Young adults classified as moderate/severe acne are MORE sugar, fruit/juice, saturated and trans fats and milk than subjects with no/mild acne. In general those with worse acne had higher glycemic indexes than those with mild or no acne (Want to know what has a low glycemic index? Vegetables, whole grains, beans and fibery goodness).  Subjects with better skin also ate a ton of fish! Omega 3's are thought to have acne-protective qualities. And I can just say from personal experience, when I take my NutraSea (Buy the lemon, total best. Use CARLENET for 25% off) fish oil, my skin totally glows.  Although there was no significant difference in vegetable intake, I really think vegetables make a huge difference in terms of beauty foods and general wellness.

Does sugar and fruit cause acne?


That being said, slow your roll... don't stop eating fruit and dairy. Yes, dairy sometimes does not play nice with some skin, so if that's you, keep a food log and track your skin and intake. Again, you know I'm obsessed with the food log detective work. If not? You know I love me some Greek yogurt. While this study DOES NOT prove a cause and effect relationship it is proving to us in a study that diet does effect your skin in some capacity (Duh. But now we have a published research article). 

So today, start eating more fish. Think about taking fish oil. Eat your veggies. Skip the added sugar. Your skin will thank you! 

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.