Chocolate and Skin

On a Nutritionhelp protocol to support gut ecology we always recommend the complete avoidance of all stimulant foods and drinks - tea – including green tea, coffee, cola, alcohol and cocoa. The reason for this is that these substances stimulate a release of adrenalin and other hormones which activate the body’s own stores of sugar thus raising the amount of sugar circulating in the blood.

Rather than being helpful, this not only unbalances blood glucose – potentially impacting peaks and troughs through the day, but the sugar might be left circulating the blood stream, available to feed any resident yeast just as easily as a spoon of sugar. Stress of course has the same impact, hence the importance of minimising stresses while working to support the balance of microbes in the gut.

This explanation helps us to understand why green tea and dark chocolate, although reputed to have beneficial antioxidant properties, should not be included in a Nutritionhelp protocol.

With a lot of media coverage on the potential benefits of dark chocolate and an abundance of ‘health’ articles on the subject, I found a new piece of research documented by Time For Wellness (below) to be very helpful in demonstrating that it may not be the ‘wonder food’ that so many would like it to be.

Chocolate Makes Acne Worse

The link between chocolate and acne has long been controversial but a new study has found that pure cocoa, even without added sugar or fat, can indeed aggravate acne.

Although it might seem obvious to those who notice chocolate make their acne worse, there has been surprisingly little research on the link between chocolate and acne, and the few studies that exist had important flaws in their design (1).

In an attempt to set the record straight, a research group performed a pilot study (2) and then set-up a more rigorous trial to test the effects of single-dose of pure cocoa in a capsule against placebo in people with existing acne (3).

Administering pure cocoa helped to rule out the effects of added sugar and fat, often found in chocolate and cocoa containing foods. Independent of cocoa, concentrated sources of sugar and fat could exacerbate acne by affecting your gastrointestinal health and increasing your blood sugar (4,5).

So did cocoa make acne worse? Well, within just 4-days those who took the cocoa had a significant increase in acne lesions (comedones, papules, pustules, and nodules).

The study also looked at the effects of increasingly high doses, and found that there was a trend towards worse acne in those consuming more cocoa.

This discovery is further supported be a recent experiment suggesting that cocoa can increase inflammation in the skin of acne prone individuals (6).

So if you have acne, it might be best to skip the chocolate and avoid cocoa, especially if you are eating it with added sugar and fat.

And keep in mind that even cocoa products in the guise of health food are often still sugar laden and fat rich, hidden behind the health halo of ingredients like coconut oil and agave syrup.

References at


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