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Low Glycemic Diet Can Help Decrease Acne

Posted: November 20, 2007
The findings from a new study suggest another reason why diets that contain low glycemic loads may be of benefit. Not only can they improve insulin sensitivity, this type of diet also appears to clear up acne as well.

Data from earlier studies suggest that dietary factors such as the glycemic load are involved in the pathogenesis of acne. Therefore, changes in diet could impact symptoms of this common skin disease, the researches hypothesize.

Foods that produce a high glycemic load—or high levels of blood glucose—such as white bread and potatoes tend to cause a rapid surge in blood sugar. Conversely, other carbs, such as high-fiber cereals or beans, create a more gradual change and are considered to have a low glycemic index.

Dr. Robyn N. Smith, from the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues assessed acne symptoms in 43 male patients, between 15 and 25 years, who were randomly assigned to a low glycemic load diet or a normal diet for 12 weeks. The intervention diet consisted of 25% energy from protein and 45% from low-glycemic-index carbohydrates.

The findings are published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The low-glycemic diet was associated with a significant reduce in total acne compared with the normal diet. In addition, the low-glycemic diet produced significantly greater reductions in body weight and body mass and a greater increase in insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become insensitive to the effects of insulin, so the body’s response to a normal amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher amounts of insulin are needed for this hormone to work in the body.
Smith and her associates point out that this study is the first randomized controlled trial to examine the influence the effects of glycemic load on acne.

“Although we could not isolate the effect of the low glycemic load diet from that of weight loss,” they add, the findings support the hypothesis of a relationship between acne and high insulin levels.

Reuters, July 20, 2007