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Acne and Diet: How the Glycemic Index Affects Your Skin

ID-100360924If you are suffering from acne, you may want to consider changing your diet to see if eliminating foods such as cereal and white breads can reduce flare-ups.

Foods such as chocolate and french fries seem to get a bad rap when it comes to acne flare ups, a growing body of research indicates there may be a more specific link between acne and diet. In fact, one diet culprit may be how foods affect blood sugar levels.

Foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) can cause your blood sugar to rise. The glycemic index refers to the effect foods have on your blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index uses a rising scale to rank food as to how quickly the carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. White bread has a glycemic index of 70, and is often used as an example of food that has a high glycemic index. When there is a higher rise in sugars in the blood stream, more insulin is produced. This can, over time, lead to higher insulin levels that can cause inflammation, weight gain, and resistance to the insulin’s ability to store sugar.

And how does this affect acne? When blood sugar spikes, it can cause or lead to inflammation, which plays a big role in acne. Eating foods that have high glycemic index numbers can elevate the hormones that increase the activity of the skin’s oil glands and causes acne flare ups.

Another factor is the glycemic load, which measures the amount of carbohydrates in a particular food.

It can be time consuming to look up every food you eat; however, there are a number of foods, which are good choices, including:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Most fruits

Some of the foods that should be avoided include:

  • Most processed foods
  • Riper fruits

Says Dr. Thomas Wright, medical director of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center, “Even if you have clear skin, paying attention to the foods you eat can help keep you healthy. It can prevent diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular issues.” He continues, “A healthy diet can also help with weight loss and the prevention of obesity.”

If you are concerned with acne flare up, please contact the staff at the Laser Lipo and Vein Center for a complimentary consultation. We are happy to answer all your questions.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at