“Don’t eat chocolate!”
“No french fries!”
“Stay away from candy!”
This kind of dietary advice for dealing with acne has been floating around for years, but is there any truth in it? We’re here to help you separate fact from fiction.
Actually, it’s not the chocolate. It isn’t even the French fries! The hidden culprit is iodides. Foods rich in iodides include table salt, dairy, seafood, and seaweed.
Here is a list of foods typically high in iodides. We tell people to not go crazy around eliminating these foods, just be aware of eating too much of them. For example, we had a client who was almost clear. She then came into our clinic all broken out and we couldn’t imagine what was going on. We asked her if she was eating a lot of seafood or seaweed. She said, “Why yes, I’m sprinkling kelp on my food every day.” Kelp has the highest iodide content of any food on the planet. We got her off the kelp and helped her get rid of her acne again. (**Beware: miso soup is made by boiling kelp seaweed to make the broth).
Milk (and cheese) is another BIG culprit—not only does it contain iodides, it also has hormones in it that contribute to acne. Many teenage boys love to drink gallons of milk which is contributing to their cystic acne.
Health foods and supplements are not immune—vitamins almost always contain some form of iodide and/or biotin; it could be in the form of iodine, iodide, potassium iodide or kelp. Be careful with protein bars, they often have potassium iodides in them. Whey and soy protein powders for smoothies can be bad for problem skin, try hemp or pea protein powder instead.
You will notice that asparagus and broccoli are on the list. We are not saying to not eat these vegetables… just don’t eat them every day. The chart is meant to give you an idea of what foods are higher in iodides than others.
We know that you hear a lot about foods high in sugars and carbs causing problems with acne. To be honest, diets high in sugar and carbs aren’t good for anybody or anything. It’s just common sense to eat more fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein. We don’t want to restrict people’s lifestyles TOO much. A kneejerk reaction to too many limitations is to not do any of it.
We want you to be informed about what could be making your acne worse; these foods are not the “cause” of acne. The cause needs to be addressed by using the right products in the right way. But it’s good to know what can contribute to your breakouts.