The chocolate question returns

Dermatologists have long fought against the belief that a person’s diet can increase the number of pimples that she gets. There have never been any scientific studies that link diet with acne. Now this accepted dermatological fact is being questioned by a study presented at American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting.

The study shows that there is a causal relationship between consuming 100% pure cacao and getting acne, something that dermatologists have long dismissed as inaccurate folk wisdom.

The study, however, has some serious limitations, so it can only hint at future possibilities.

During the study, doctors encouraged young men between the ages of 18 and 35 to consume up to 12 ounces of 100% cacao. Each of the participants had minor acne prior to eating the chocolate. When they returned a week later, all of them were experiencing worse acne. Even more convincing is that those who ate more chocolate experienced worse acne symptoms.

The researchers claim that their study differs from previous efforts because earlier doctors used chocolate candies that contained milk and sugar in combination with cacao. The current study, however, used 100% cacao– pure chocolate.

Now on to the study’s limitations.

The sample size is ridiculously low. Only ten men participated in the study. It’s impossible to apply the results of such a small study to a larger population. Also, the study had no control group. To determine whether chocolate actually caused the breakouts rather than some other factor, the researchers would need a control group that consumed a placebo.

The researchers, however, know that the study has significant limitations. It was just a preliminary step towards bigger research. It will be very interesting to see what they discover in upcoming years.

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