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Global Network

Week of November 26, 2012
Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

AICR HealthTalk
Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Does diet have any effect on acne?

A: Whether or not diet might affect development or treatment of acne is controversial, with few well-controlled studies on which to base answers. The latest evidence suggests if you have no family history of acne, dietary habits (even high fat consumption or chocolate) are not linked to acne. However, some evidence now suggests that for people with a family history of acne eating habits could affect hormones and growth factors in ways that promote acne. The strongest evidence suggests a link to diets high in glycemic load – meaning lots of sugars and refined starchy foods like white bread. This kind of eating pattern tends to be low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and is not healthy, so cutting down on sweets and refined grains is a great idea for overall health whether or not it helps acne. Evidence is less clear whether high consumption of dairy products increases development of acne in some people. If you are considering a trial of avoiding or severely limiting dairy foods to see if your acne improves, take special care to include fortified foods or supplements to meet calcium needs, since this mineral is important to bone health. For women and teenage girls whose acne is related to polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight loss, moderate physical activity and a healthy diet high in fiber from vegetables, fruits and whole grains may help.

Q: Are biscotti as low-calorie as they seem?

A: The crisp Italian cookies called biscotti have become a popular accompaniment to coffee. Double baking makes biscotti dry so although they seem low-fat and low-calorie, most are not. They contain enough butter or oil to make a one-ounce biscotti contain about 130 calories, with four to seven grams of fat and six to twelve grams of sugar (1.5 to 3 teaspoons). That’s essentially the same as having one serving of a popular sandwich cookie (two or three), although biscotti have a lower sugar content. The secret is to eat slowly and truly savor biscotti – or any cookie – now and then as a treat.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.


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