December 7 2007
Low-glycemic diet found to prevent acne
by David Gutierrez
(NewsTarget) A diet with a low glycemic load may reduce the occurrence of acne in men, according to a small study conducted by researchers from the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Researchers divided 43 men with acne into two groups. The men in one group (high glycemic load) were encouraged to eat plenty of carbohydrates; the men in the other group were told to replace the high glycemic load foods in their diets with other foods that had a lower glycemic load and more protein.
Glycemic load refers to the effect that a food has on a person's blood sugar. High glycemic load foods cause blood sugar to spike, while low glycemic load foods cause a more gradual, longer-lasting increase. High glycemic load foods are those high in low-fiber carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and grains. Low glycemic foods include complex carbohydrates high in fiber.
After 12 weeks, the number of acne lesions among men in the low-glycemic load group dropped by approximately 22. Among the men in the high-glycemic load group, the number of acne lesions dropped by approximately 14.
"The results of this study open up the prospect that nutrition-related lifestyle factors may affect the [development] of acne," the researchers wrote.
In addition, levels of the male sex hormone androgen decreased and insulin sensitivity increased more in the low glycemic load group than in the high glycemic load group. Men eating the lower glycemic diet also lost weight.
The researchers said that with the way the study was set up, it was impossible to know what exactly led to the decrease in acne. The weight loss or the improved insulin sensitivity -- or both -- are the most likely, but "these results should be considered preliminary and larger scale studies are needed to confirm the effect of dietary intervention on acne."