In a recent study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Australian researchers have found that boys who followed a low glycemic-load diet for 12 weeks had better clearing of acne lesions compared to adolescents who followed a conventional high glycemic-load diet. According to the study, there was no previous investigation in regard to the influence of dietary composition on acne vulgaris (common acne).
The recommended diet was composed of 25% energy from protein, 45% from low glycemic index carbohydrates, and 30% energy from fats.
Smith and colleagues enrolled 43 teens and young men, ranging in age from 15 to 25, in a 12-week, parallel, dietary intervention study. The low glycemic load diet group were taught to substitute high glycemic index foods for those high in protein, such as lean meats, poultry, or fish, balanced with other low glycemic index foods such as whole grain bread, pasta, and fruits. The control group (non-intervened group) ate a carbohydrate-dense diet and were instructed to eat these or similar foods daily.
Researchers found that, after 12 weeks, the decrease in total lesion counts in the low glycemic load diet group was significantly greater than among controls, at -21.9 versus -3.8 (control group).
Acne lesions are commonly referred to as pimples, spots, or zits. Acne Vulgaris is defines as an inflammatory disease of the skin, caused by changes in skin structures consisting of a hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland known as the pilosebaceous units.
The formation of a plug of keratin and sebum in the pilosecaceous units leads to the enlargement of sebaceous glands. Then, the unit becomes prone to infection. The immune system attacks the bacteria and filters the pus into segregated pockets that can be from 0.2mm up to 10mm underneath the skin. Zits (superficial lesions) an or pustules (deeper lesions) are formed.
People with acne vulgaris experience itching and discomfort due to swelling and bacterial overgrowth inside infected glands and adjacent cells.
Even though investigators were looking at the effects of diet on Acne, they found that they recommended low-glycemic diet had other beneficial effects on their teen patients such as: greater weight loss, lower body mass index, reduced body fat percentage, and reduced waist circumference. Authors do not preclude the role of weight loss in the overall effect on the acne disease.
Also, researchers looked at the endocrine effects of the diets. The investigators found that the high glycemic load eaters had significantly increased free androgen indices and significantly decreased levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 than low glycemic diet participants
The study concluded that “This suggests nutrition-related lifestyle factors play a role in acne pathogenesis. However, these preliminary findings should be confirmed by similar studies.”
Smith RN et al. (2007) The effect of a high-protein, low glycemic-load diet versus a conventional, high glycemic-load diet on biochemical parameters associated with acne vulgaris: A randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol Volume 57: pages 247-56.
Abstract URL: http://www.eblue.org/article/PIIS0190962207004148/abstract?browse_volume=57&issue_key=S0190-9622%2807%29X0233-0&issue_preview=no&select1=no&select1=no&vol=