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Zits: diet.

Contrary to researchers' long-held Belief, a ssurprising new study suggests chocolate may in fact cause zits--as might gummy bears, crackers, bread, and other foods high in simple carbohydrates, or easily digested refined sugars. "Bread, cakes, sugars, and soft drinks may contribute to the acne suffered by 95 percent of westernized teens," says physiologist Loren Cordain of Colorado State University. His study points to a lack of acne in parts of the world among teens whose diet consists of largely unprocessed foods.

When people eat simple carbohydrates, a gland called the pancreas secretes insulin--a hormone that helps muscle cells absorb sugar. Insulin also prompts the skin to produce sebum, the greasy substance that clogs pores and attracts acne-promoting bacteria (single-cell organisms). In order words, U.S. teens' glut of simple-carbohydrate foods may be hazardous to the skin. As a follow-up to Cordain's findings, Australian dermatologists plan to test how a low-carbohydrate diet affects acne. Stay tuned!

Fact facts.

* HOW COMMON IS ACNE? About 85 percent of teens get pimples at one time or another, according to the American Dermatological Association.

* THE CULPRIT? In adolescence, hormones cause oil-producing sebaceous glands in the skin to shift into overdrive.

* WHAT'S A ZIT? Sometimes the opening of a sebaceous gland, or pore, plugs up with a lump of oil and dead skin cells-that's a zit.

* POP YOUR ZITS? Popping pimples lets bacteria and dead cells spill onto the surface of surrounding skin, which can trigger more blemishes.
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Publication:Science World
Date:Feb 7, 2003
Words:242
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