Acne is one of the most common skin problems in teenagers and adults, affecting approximately 40 million people in the United States alone, the American Academy of Dermatology states. Diet plays an important role in the development of acne. Greek yogurt is a popular dairy product that may influence your acne symptoms.
Like all yogurt, Greek yogurt is the product of fermented milk. Greek yogurt is a form of yogurt where the whey is strained during processing, making it creamier and thicker than most commercial yogurt brands. Additionally, Greek yogurt contains more dietary protein than normal yogurt.
Dairy and Acne
Dairy products -- including Greek yogurt -- can contribute to acne formation in certain people, dietitian Leyla Muedin states. Foods that increase insulin levels in the body, known as high glycemic index foods, can contribute to acne formation. While Greek yogurt has a low glycemic index, dairy products boost insulin levels to a similar degree of high glycemic index carbohydrates like soft drinks and candy, Meudin adds. A review paper published in the June 2005 "Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery" notes that several human research studies have linked dairy consumption with acne prevalence.
Probiotics are found in high concentrations in fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Probiotics are strains of "good" bacteria that live in your gut and provide a number of potential health benefits. According to the January 2011 issue of "Gut Pathogens" strains of bacteria commonly found in yogurt, including L. acidophilus, can help reduce symptoms of acne. They note that probiotics improve acne symptoms by reducing inflammation, improving mental health and boosting the levels of good bacteria in the body.
There have yet to be any studies directly investigating the influence of Greek yogurt and acne. Include Greek yogurt in your diet and note any differences that it makes. When choosing Greek yogurt, opt for fat-free or low-fat versions. The fat found in Greek yogurt is predominantly saturated, which can increase heart disease risk. Also avoid sugar-rich Greek yogurt varieties as these can spike insulin levels. Consider sweetening your Greek yogurt with artificial sweetener or fresh berries.
- Acne.org: Acne Statistics
- ThatsFit.ca: Is Greek Yogurt Healthier Than Regular Yogurt?
- Psychology Today: Dairy, Acne and Autoimmune
- "Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery"; Implications for the Role of Diet in Acne; L Cordaine; June 2005
- "Gut Pathogens"; Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future?; W Bowe et al.; January 2011