The claim:

Sugar in the diet can lead to acne


The facts:

The correlation between acne and sugar has long been discussed, disputed and dismissed. The food and drinks that we consume everyday contain different levels of sugar. Consuming sugar in large amount can reduce your immunity and increase your insulin production leading to hormonal imbalance. This imbalance increase the production of sebum and cause acne.

Recent studies have indicated that what really matter may not be the sugar but a food’s glycemic index, which is the speed and extent it raises blood glucose levels.
When we consume food with high glycemic index, it raises glucose levels rapidly and forcing the body to release a large amount of insulin and other hormones. Scientists believe that this occurrence stimulate oil production and cause inflammation of the skin.

To test this theory, scientists recruited 50 men and boys aged 15 to 25, all of them with acne, and monitored their progress for 12 weeks.
Some subjects were given only diet that included high-glycemic foods like sweetened cereals, muffins, pasta and white bread. The rest were given food with low glycemic index and high in protein, like fish, wholegrain breads and fruits.

At the end of the study, which was published in 2007, the subjects on the low-glycemic diet had far greater reductions in skin lesions and other symptoms of acne than the control group. They also showed a decrease in their levels of free, circulating androgens, the male hormones known to cause acne, suggesting that hormones played a role.

Though more studies and research are needed to confirm this,
Other researches have found similar correlation between high-glycemic food and acne, but scientists generally agree that more studies are needed.


The bottom line:

There is some evidence that foods high in sugar can worsen acne.