Diet and Acne...Uh Duh!

In the spring ParentDish blogged about research suggesting that milk consumption can actually make teenage acne worse. Here’s a bit of the post:
According to the research, teens who drank a pint of milk or more a day were nearly 50% more likely to develop pimples that those who rarely or never drink milk. Analysis of over 47,000 teenage diets revealed that skim milk drinkers were at most risk for acne (raising the risk by 44%), followed by whole milk drinkers who were 12% more likely to develop the unsightly stuff.
For more, get check out this excerpt from The Daily Mail. It broke the story in May. Take a look:
The US researchers looked at the teenage diet of more than 47,000 women and then compared dairy product intake with cases of acne.

Analysis of the results revealed a clear link between milk and skin problems.

Worst off were those who regularly drank skimmed milk, with two half-pint glasses a day raising the risk of the condition by 44 per cent.

Those who drank a pint of whole milk a day were 12 per cent more likely to develop acne, while semi-skimmed milk increased the risk by 16 per cent.

Overall, those who regularly drank milk were 22 per cent more likely to have suffered from acne than those who rarely or never drank the white stuff.
Clearly, diet has A LOT to do with the development and severity of acne, but, not everyone agrees. Get a load of this commenter to the ParentDish post:
I can't believe that we are still discussing dietary issues relating to acne. I thought that went out in the 60's. If the Harvard researcher doesn't believe in human consumption of milk that's his choice. We have teenagers allready drinking too much soda and other empty caffeine bererages. I had serious acne as a teenager my brother didn' tand we ate the same diet. Acne is genetically related as to the size of the pores and amount of oil secreted. Nurse in Dairyland.
Yeah—spell check much! That’s all we need is more talk about diet having nothing to do with disease, and, the genetics is all to blame. Very silly thinking! I now quote Dr. Fuhrman:
Patients are told that food has nothing to do with the disease they develop. Dermatologists insist that food has nothing to do with acne, rheumatologists insist that food has nothing to do with rheumatoid arthritis, and gastroenterologists insist that food has nothing to do with irritable and inflammatory bowel disease. Even cardiologists have been resistant to accept the accumulating evidence that atherosclerosis is entirely avoidable. Most of them still believe that coronary artery disease and angina require the invasive treatment of surgery and are not reversible with nutritional intervention. Most physicians have no experience in treating disease naturally with nutritional excellence, and some physicians who don’t know about it are convinced it is not possible.
Sounds a lot like the “Nurse in Dairyland.” Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, genetics are a factor, but, they’re not all that. He explains:
Both patients and physicians act as though everyone’s medical problems are genetic, or assumed to be the normal consequence of aging. They believe that chronic illness is just what we all must expect. Unfortunately, the medical-pharmaceutical business has encouraged people to believe that health problems are hereditary and that we need to swallow poisons to defeat our genes. This is almost always untrue. We all have genetic weaknesses, but those weaknesses never get a chance to express themselves until we abuse our body with many, many years of mistreatment. Never forget, 99 percent of your genes are programmed to keep you healthy. The problem is that we never let them do their job.

Most chronic illnesses have been earned from a lifetime of inferior nutrition, which eventually results in abnormal function or frequent discomfort. These illnesses are not beyond our control, they are primarily genetic, and they are not the normal consequence of aging. True, we all have our weakest links governed by genetics; but these links need never reveal themselves unless our health deteriorates. Superior health flows naturally as a result of superior nutrition. Our predisposition to certain illnesses can remain hidden.
Now, how about some current events? DiseaseProof reader Anet sent this article over. Dermatoligists contend diet has nothing to do with acne, but, research seems to prove otherwise. Cynthia Graber of The Boston Globe investigates:
Dr. William Danby, a dermatologist in Manchester, New Hampshire, and an assistant professor at Dartmouth Medical School, had been conducting his own investigations. From 1973 to 1980, he kept a detailed log of his patients' diets in a quest to understand the root of their acne. After compiling thousands of patient surveys, he noticed a trend: Those who consumed the most dairy also had the most severe acne. "I had some serious cases," he says. "One was a gal who was an identical twin. She and her sister were raised in Scotland. She took the creamy top of everything; she loved milk and had awful acne. Her sister would drink minimal amounts of the bottom and had no acne."

Without waiting for a peer-reviewed scientific study - though that, too, would come - Danby began counseling patients by the late 1970s to avoid all dairy for six months. Danby says it has worked for many of his patients: "Another guy was 61, the son of an ice cream dealer. He had acute acne all over his back at 61. When I told him he had to stop dairy, he nearly cried. A year later, he was free of fresh lesions…"

…SO WHY HAVE DOCTORS been taught for so long that there's no link? The anti-diet hypothesis that Treloar and Danby struggle against arose solely from two studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s. "I got the papers, and I reviewed them," says Treloar, "and they wouldn't be published today. They just don't meet the standards."

One compares real chocolate bars with fake ones and was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with funding from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. But that's comparing sugar with sugar, as Treloar says, and the fake chocolate bars were also loaded with trans fats known to trigger inflammation. The other study examines sugar in the diet of a small group, but, Treloar says, does not take into account what we know now about how glycemic loads from other foods such as white flour and potatoes affect insulin levels.

At the time, the studies seemed to debunk two popular theoretical culprits - chocolate and sugar - and so they stuck. By the 1970s, all dermatologists were being inculcated with the prevailing view that food has no relationship to acne. Since then, most research about food and acne other than the dairy studies has been conducted outside the United States.
Hey, I’m just a know-nothing blogger, but dairy farming is big business and we all know how big business influences government—right? I don’t know, just saying.
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F.W.Danby - December 18, 2007 11:54 PM

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