Does Eating Chocolate Cause Acne, or Is It a Myth?

Does Eating Chocolate Cause Acne?

I love chocolate. No, really, I looooooove chocolate.

If I could bring only one kind of food to an uncharted tropical island, it would either be ice-cream or chocolate. But since melted chocolate tastes way better than melted ice-cream, I’d pick the chocolate.

Obviously, I’m not alone with my love for this sweet, creamy and delicious cacao-based candy. Everyone loves chocolate!

But is it safe for our skin? Does eating chocolate cause acne? Why are some saying “yes”, and others saying “no”?

The answer is quite complicated. Maybe not as complicated as acne itself, but still… complicated.

Unsurprisingly, there are reasons for all the confusion. And it all dates back to 1969. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about chocolate, and how it could affect your acne!

Hot Cocoa

Where Did Chocolate Come From?

If you’ve ever been to the south of Mexico, chances are that you’re familiar with the beverage called Chilate. It usually consists of cacao, rice, sugar and cinnamon and is to be served ice-cold.

While the recipe has changed throughout the years, Chilate is actually the origin of what we today know as chocolate. The Aztecs of Mesoamerica (350 BC) looked upon the cacao beans as a gift from the god of wisdom – Quetzalcoatl.

Personally, I suspect chocolate is a gift from Adephagia – the god of gluttony.

The chocolate was believed to give the consumer power, and to act as an aphrodisiac. Perhaps that’s the reason why you should always include a box of chocolate when you gift flowers to somebody you really, really like.

Anyway. Many, many years later, during the industrial revolution, the Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten managed to reduce the bitterness of chocolate by introducing alkaline salts to it. In 1828, van Houten invented a press which could remove 50% of the natural butter from the cacao.

This increased the consistency and reduced the price of the manufacturing process of chocolate. Eventually this led to the modern era of the sweeter, solidified chocolate we know today.

M and M's

8 Quick Chocolate Facts

Before we go into the more important stuff, I’ve taken the time to list some quite interesting information about the world revolving this tasty candy. I never knew there was so much to know about a simple thing like chocolate.

  • It takes about 400 cocoa beans to make 1 lbs of chocolate.
  • Chocolate is a $130+ billion industry.
  • In America, 100 lbs of chocolate is being consumed every second.
  • Chocolate can be lethal for dogs and cats.
  • 220,000 tons of chocolate is being produced in Belgium each year.
  • Chocolate melts at 97F degrees.
  • White chocolate isn’t really chocolate.
  • The heaviest chocolate bar weighed 12,770 lbs.

Chocolate And Acne

Here’s the thing. As soon as you get your first pimple, you’ll start hearing that chocolate is a terrible thing to eat when you’re dealing with acne.

Everybody says that you’ll starting breaking out if you eat chocolate, so it’s got to be true. Right?

Well, yes, no… maybe.

While you may get acne from eating chocolate, it may not be the chocolate itself that’s the culprit. I know it sounds complicated, so let’s dive a little deeper.

Let’s think about what chocolate contains, for starters. Apart from cacao, what’s commonly the main ingredient in chocolate?

You guessed it – it’s sugar.

Sugar has been linked to running a higher risk of developing acne. In fact, studies have shown that those who consume sugar regularly run a 30% higher risk of getting acne.

30 percent! That’s three in ten! Or even 300,000 in 1,000,000!

No wonder why chocolate gets to be the scapegoat.

However, while sugar can increase your acne, it’s not the main reason why people stick to their belief that chocolate is causing acne.

There’s a study from 1969, which often gets dismissed by experts because they believe it was poorly conducted. It suggests that there’s a link between acne and chocolate, and it’s also this study that many are referring to when they want to prove their point of chocolate being bad for acne.

However, a more recent study also points towards this being true, as they asked 25 acne-prone males to consume 99% dark chocolate normally over a course of 4 weeks. Results showed statistical significance and they indicate that chocolate indeed can cause acne.

Acne-Friendly Alternatives to Chocolate

Since chocolate has a chance of affecting your acne negatively, I recommend that you try other kinds of snacks instead. Especially if you notice an increase of pimples overnight or 2 days after consuming chocolate.

There is a plethora of various natural snacks that are much, much healthier than your sweet bars of chocolate. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Antioxidant rich fruit, such as bananas, oranges and mangoes.
  • Mixed nuts.
  • Cucumber slices dipped in cream cheese.
  • Rice cakes.

Keep in mind that everybody is different. For example, I can eat cream cheese without breaking out in acne, but if you notice that you react to the stuff, just try something else.

As another example, some people love eating pumpkin seeds as snacks. Personally I can’t stand the taste. I can’t for the life of me figure out how somebody can enjoy putting those things in their mouth. But… if you like them – good! Because they’re super healthy and definitely worth a try as an alternative to chocolate.

Mix and match your snacks as long as you’re happy with what you come up with. Eventually it’s you who’s gonna eat them, so only you can really decide what’s good and what isn’t.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Final Thoughts

I was always under the impression that it was a myth that chocolate would somehow have an effect on acne. The reason for this is probably that I had heard of the criticism towards the 1969 study quite early in my life.

Growing up, the general opinion among people was that if you believed that chocolate caused acne, you were a fool. However, when I was out of town, I noticed that the attitude elsewhere could be completely different. There, people would think that “it’s obvious that chocolate has an effect on acne”.

There are studies pointing towards a positive result. Right now, they’re saying:

“Yes, chocolate can cause acne.”

But right now we’re missing a definitive answer, we are still to see something that tells us that chocolate DOES affect acne. Until then, people will keep discussing this subject endlessly.

So while people continue arguing over the chocolate’s effect on acne and whether it stimulates the development of pimples, I’ll just sneak in between them and grab the last chocolate chip cookie from the table. Yum!

What is your experience with chocolate? Does your skin break out after enjoying a piece of your favorite brand? Share your story in the comments below!

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