Can the way we eat, worsen our acne?
There is a strong link between our gut health, our microbiome and our skin!
We have previously spoken about the importance of balancing our microbiome, managing stress and reducing sugar intake to manage acne (you can read that blog HERE).
Let's quickly talk about sugar again before we expand.
We know that SUGAR is an obviously culprit when it comes to triggering acne. To put simply we know that high levels of sugar will cause an imbalance within the microbiome which will encourage a release of inflammatory molecules into the blood stream that will INCREASE INFLAMMATION!
But what other physiological process occurs when we eat sugar?
- Eat sugar
- Blood sugar (glucose) levels spike
- Stimulates the release of insulin in our blood
- Causes insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) to spike as well
- This increases our sebaceous oil flow and changes the texture to be sticky, waxy and thick
- We experience congestion, inflammation and acne
We know that an increase in blood sugar (glucose) and insulin levels when eating sugar can change our oil flow within our skin, dysregulate our microbiome and increase inflammation. This also includes fruits and although they contain some fibre, they are highly concentrated in sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) which also spikes our blood sugar levels. However, refined sugar and sweets aren't the ONLY culprit...
Carbohydrates - in particular starchy carbs - like pasta, potatoes, bread, rice and cereal are broken down into glucose will cause glucose spikes ESPECIALLY when eaten on their own or FIRST in a meal or snack.
Why is it important to avoid glucose spikes for an acne prone skin? Glucose spikes overwhelm the mitochondria of our body's cells, causing them to produce free radicals which will damage the cells DNA, increase oxidative stress and INFLAMMATION.
Balancing glucose levels can help to reduce inflammation, hormonal issues and skin conditions. We do this by incorporating fibrous vegetables, healthy fats and protein to make sure every meal AND SNACK is balanced.
Fibrous vegetables (especially when consumed BEFORE starchy carbs) can help to reduce glucose spikes. This is because fibre isn't broken down into glucose, but instead passes through the digestive system without affecting our blood sugar levels. When we eat fibre FIRST, it reduces the action of amylase - the enzyme that breakouts down starchy carbs into glucose - reducing the potential glucose spike that starchy carbs eaten afterwards can cause.
Healthy proteins and fats can also help to reduce glucose spikes by slowing down gastric emptying and how quickly glucose is released into our blood stream.
We now know that balancing glucose spikes can be beneficial for an acne prone skin. Studies have even show that eating to reducing glucose spikes for a period of 10-12 weeks can reduce the amount of inflamed and non-inflamed acne lesions present within the skin!
But did you know that these diet tips are not just beneficial for acne prone skins... but all inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and melasma.
Remember how glucose spikes overwhelm the mitochondria, causing oxidation and damaging the cells DNA? This cell damage can also be known as GLYCATION, which is the process of ageing within our bodies. We can also visibly see glycation in the skin whereby collagen fibres become glycated, resulting in advanced skin sagging and cross-hatched wrinkles.
How can you apply this information, to the way you eat?
- Ensure that every singe meal and snack is balanced! Containing a healthy fat, protein and ideally fibrous vegetable alongside starchy carbs.
- Try to eat fibrous vegetables first, then fats and protein BEFORE starchy carbs (and sweets).
- If you want a sweet food, eat ASAP (or within 90mins) after your balanced meal to reduce glucose spikes.
This blog has been hugely inspired by the incredibly information provided by the author of the Glucose Goddess, Jessie Inchauspe. I highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in learning more about why balancing glucose is so important for our health. If you need specific dietary recommendations and meal ideas to help balanced your glucose spikes, I also recommend her book The Glucose Goddess Method. Alternatively her Instagram @glucosegoddess provides engaging, bite-sized informative posts!
Disclaimer that what's right for one person isn't always right or SAFE for another! Always consult with your GP, nutritionist or naturopath when making changes to your diet or supplement choices!