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Can High Glycemic Foods Cause Acne Breakouts?

Can High Glycemic Foods Cause Acne Breakouts? Can High Glycemic Foods Cause Acne Breakouts? Can High Glycemic Foods Cause Acne Breakouts?


Acne is something that almost every adolescent seems to suffer from. However, according to a study published in "Archives of Dermatology" in 2002, acne appears to be a disease associated with Westernized societies. Populations eating traditional diets free of processed foods, like Inuit, Okinawan Islanders, Ache hunter-gatherers as well as Kitavan Islanders do not have acne at any stage of their life. Environmental factors, especially dietary choices, are likely responsible for the higher prevalence of this skin problem in modern societies.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index was developed in the early 1980s to help people with diabetes better predict how carbohydrate-containing foods influence their blood sugar levels. Since that time, many studies have shown that low glycemic index diets are associated with a healthier body weight, enhanced athletic performance and a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, in addition to contributing to the management of diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. On the other hand, high glycemic foods result in large fluctuations in your blood sugar levels and could lead to the development of many health problems, including acne.

Hyperinsulinemia and Acne

Insulin is an hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to raising blood sugar levels. According to researcher and professor Loren Cordain at Colorado State University, a diet leading to consistently elevated blood insulin levels, or hyperinsulinemia, is involved in the pathophysiology of acne. Hyperinsulinemia causes imbalances in other hormones and results in higher levels of androgen bioavailability and insulin-like growth factor, two hormones implicated in the etiology of acne.

High Glycemic Diets and Acne

The glycemic index of a food, or its blood sugar raising capacity, is almost identical to its potential to stimulate insulin release by the pancreas, for most foods. The quicker and the higher your blood sugar levels raise, as observed with high glycemic foods, the more insulin is secreted. Eating high glycemic index foods results in hyperinsulinemia, which can then result in acne breakouts, especially if you are prone to acne.

Avoiding High Glycemic Foods

To prevent acne breakouts, try to avoid consuming high glycemic index foods. For example, breads, whether white or whole wheat, most breakfast cereals, bagels, granola bars, white rice, potatoes, french fries, pretzels, rice cakes, donuts and candies have high glycemic index values. Instead of these foods, choose low glycemic index carbohydrates, such as sourdough bread, steel cut oats, legumes, barley, quinoa, whole grain pasta and whole fruits.

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