ORLANDO, Fla. -- Here's a question to ponder: Why is acne common in the Western, industrialized world, while the pimples that plague American kids are rare in developing countries? It's a puzzler -- and one that prompted Australian researchers to ask whether changing the diet of teenagers would have any effect on acne.
The results could change the way dermatologists think about diet.
To test their theory, the Australian researchers recruited 50 young men between the ages of 15 and 25 with mild-to-moderate acne. They split the volunteers into two groups: One group was instructed to eat a diet of lean meat, poultry and fish, along with fruits and vegetables. They replaced foods such as white bread and highly processed breakfast cereals with whole grains. Meanwhile, the other group ate a typical Western diet.
After 12 weeks, researchers found that the group eating more protein and whole grains experienced dramatic results, according to the researchers.
"The acne of the boys on the higher-protein, low-glycemic index diet improved dramatically, by more than 50 percent, which is more than what you see with topical acne solutions," wrote senior author Neil Mann, an associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.