Acne is one of the most common issues affecting the skin, afflicting more than 17 million adolescents and adults in the United States, according to Henry Ferdowsian, MD, MPH, of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Like many chronic diseases of the skin, acne is influenced by the foods in your diet. Grapes are one food that might affect acne development.
Diet and Acne
The typical Western diet -- rich in refined carbohydrates and low in antioxidants and healthy fats -- is largely responsible for high rates of acne found in developed countries, reports a review paper published in the December 2002 "Archives of Dermatology." The paper adds that a trio of factors that induce acne -- oxidation, activity of sweat glands and insulin levels -- are largely influenced by dietary factors.
Oxidation is a natural by-product of your body's energy-producing pathways. While low levels of oxidation are benign, high levels of oxidation can increase sweat gland activity and clog pores, notes the book "The Dietary Cure For Acne," penned by nutrition scientist Loren Cordain, PhD. Like all fresh fruit, grapes are a rich source of antioxidants -- compounds that can significantly reduce oxidation. Grapes contain a powerful antioxidant known as resveratrol -- the compound in red wine that promotes health. Opt to eat the skin of grapes as this is where most of the fruit's antioxidants are found.
Different carbohydrate-rich foods influence your body's insulin levels in different ways. Some foods cause a ripple of insulin release, while others induce a massive spike in blood insulin. How much a given food impacts insulin is known as the glycemic load. High glycemic load foods promote large amounts of insulin release, while low glycemic load foods don't result in a rapid insulin rise. According to Henry Ferdowsian, MD, MPH, a high glycemic load diet promotes acne development. Grapes are a high glycemic load food. Their glycemic load of 8 is significantly higher than that of other fresh fruits, such as apples and pears.
Although not dangerous, acne should be treated under the supervision of a dermatologist. No study has investigated the effects of grapes on acne development. In addition to following a healthy diet, you can reduce acne by washing your face twice daily, reducing stress and limiting your intake of dairy products.