It’s an age old question, does chocolate give you spots? Does a once weekly, caramel filled chocolate bar cause your skin to breakout in pimples? Does a cube of chocolate keep the doctor away but bring your dermatologist closer?
Scout the internet for answers and you will quickly come to the conclusion that yes, chocolate does give you spots and therefore, should be avoided at all times.
This is sad news. However, luckily my friend, the answer is a little more complex… and while some chocolate will ramp up your risk of an outbreak, others won’t.
This is how you choose the healthy kind…
Why might chocolate give you spots?
Chocolate is a taste-bud tingling mixture of 3 to 4 key ingredients; cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar and sometimes milk. Some of these ingredients are great for you. Others should come with a ‘may cause pimples’ health warning.
Can you guess which is which?
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Cocoa powder is great for your body and your skin, especially the raw cacao kind, which due to its unroasted nature has an extra high content of healthy nutrients. Ever had a hard day at work and wanted nothing more than a whole bar of the dark stuff? The feeling you’ve experienced is because cacao powder contains a mood boosting ingredient named Phenethylamine. But the good news, doesn’t stop here. Cocoa or cacao powder also makes your body feel good. With a complex mixture of heart healthy antioxidants and immune boosting minerals, cocoa powder is a clear skin winner.
Now comes the key to picking the good skin chocolate from the bad skin chocolate…
Sugar makes chocolate sweet. It also gives your body a swift blood sugar high. Sugar, is extremely close to pure energy. Your body needs do almost nothing to break it down. This is a challenge as such quick shifts in blood sugar, cause immediate surges in insulin release.
Did you know insulin is a hormone?
Insulin and its partnering side-kick, insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) are known to increase sebum production. The oily lubricant skin naturally creates to moisturise itself. When too little sebum is made, skin becomes dry, when too much is made skin becomes overly oily and prone to spots.
Oily skin creates the perfect habitat for spot causing bacteria to thrive. Exfoliating away excess sebum and dead skin cells helps, as does avoiding sugar high chocolates.
Which brings us to… milk.
Milk is used to turn plain chocolate into milk chocolate. If you find milk chocolate exceedingly addictive, it’s because milk is an insulinotropic food. It also provokes quick releases of insulin and IGF-1 helping to curb blood sugar buzz. Consuming milk, is therefore similar to consuming sugar, it makes skin oilier and prone to spots.
Bottom line: Milk chocolate and plain chocolates packed with sugar increase your risk of spots, however dark chocolate, the kind with 70% cocoa solids and above, is skin safe and body healthy. Which will you choose?
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