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Low Glycemic Diet and Acne

Low Glycemic Diet and Acne Low Glycemic Diet and Acne


Acne vulgaris is a prevalent skin problem, especially in adolescents and young adults. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of pimples, hormonal changes surrounding the puberty period are probably involved. The best strategies available include maintaining a good hygiene of your skin, avoiding touching your skin with your hands and avoiding sun exposure. In addition, following a healthy diet can be helpful in reducing your acne.

Diet and Acne

Although acne is considered to be a normal part of adolescence, affecting 79 percent to 95 percent of adolescents living in Western populations, this skin condition is non-existent, or very rare, in nonwesternized populations. Genetics alone does not explain this discrepancy and it has been established that environmental factors, such as diet, are at play in the etiology of acne. Although greasy foods such as chips, chocolate and pizza used to be blamed as causes of acne, there is no evidence supporting this association. However, the glycemic index of the foods you eat could greatly influence your skin health.

Low Glycemic Index Diet

The glycemic index is a way to classify carbohydrate-containing foods according to their influence on your blood sugar levels. A high glycemic index food results in a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels, while a low glycemic index food helps you keep your blood sugar levels more stable in the hours following its consumption. A low glycemic diet is based on nonstarchy vegetables, lean sources of protein from legumes, lean meat, poultry and fish, healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and avocado, as well as low glycemic index grains like steel cut oats, sourdough bread, whole grain pasta, Basmati rice, barley, quinoa, sweet potatoes, plain yogurt and temperate climate fruits.

Glycemic Index, Insulin and Acne

Interestingly, the glycemic index usually correlates with the insulin index in most foods, which means that the higher the glycemic index of a food, the more it raises your blood sugar levels and the larger the release of insulin from your pancreas. According to Loren Cordain, researcher and professor at the Colorado State University, high levels of insulin resulting from a high glycemic diet trigger a hormonal cascade responsible for promoting unregulated tissue growth, according to the 2002 issue of "Archives of Dermatology. "

Low Glycemic Diets and Acne

A study published in 2007 in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" investigated the impact of following a low glycemic diet for 12 weeks by male acne patients. At the end of the study, participants eating a low glycemic diet had significant improvement in their insulin sensitivity and a decrease of 24 in the number of total acne lesion counts, compared to a decrease of 12 in the control group. Although more research is needed to better understand the relationship between diet and acne, reducing your dietary glycemic index appears to be a good strategy to not only reduce your pimples, but improve your overall health at the same time.

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