Glycemic Index – How Your Diet may be Affecting Your Acne

We often hear that food with a lower Glycemic Index (GI) is better for our health. With the growing media attention on foods with low GI, I decided that before I implement this into my lifestyle, I should read up on it.

But, before I get into it, allow me to give you a little biology lesson. Or is it chemistry? Chemical biology!

Foods with low glycemic index were first introduced for people who have diabetes. Basically, the science behind it has proved that it would help these individuals better manage their blood sugar levels. This is made possible by the ability of low GI foods to limit major fluctuations of one’s blood sugar levels. In turn, this limits the amount of insulin (a peptide hormone) released by the pancreas.

Insulin works at regulating carbohydrates and allowing your body to use the sugars (glucose) or to store it in order to use it in the future. Basically, Glucose is then absorbed by various cells in your body to be used as a source of energy after eating foods with protein or carbohydrates.

I think everybody’s ‘dream-list’ consists of having flawless skin. Although there have been discrepancies when it comes to the correlation of diet and acne, this one proves to be different. Researchers have come to the conclusion that diets which contain milk and a high glycemic index, could actually be exacerbating your acne.

Since Glycemic index is a measure of the effect of a certain food on blood glucose levels. High-glycemic load foods, including refined carbohydrates like pasta and fruits such as melon, produce a spike in blood glucose, spurring the production of excessive insulin. This referred to as ‘hyperinsulinemia‘ and is said to cause inflammation amongst a host of other conditions.


high: 70 – 100
medium: 56 – 69
low: 55 or less
Clearly, the solution here, if you’re struggling with acne, is to try and stay away from foods with a high glycemic index and see how it goes. In the mean time, indulge in these foods:

nuts and seeds
beans and legumes
SWEET potatoes
wholegrain wheat


white rice
box cereal
instant oats
white potatoes
Rice cakes
white bread
cakes and other baked goods


If you happen to want to cook some white pasta, know that cooking it through does increase the GI. Eating it al dente, could prove to be a much better option. Fruits that are fully ripe also contain more GI than partially ripened fruit.

Since high GI foods are linked to several health problems, I think it’s great to keep note of, whether or not one is acne prone. For a long time, I have been exposed to low GI Foods. But, personally, I am a refined carbs kinda gal and although us people who love refined carbs don’t see it, it may affect us in the future.

I mean, I think the best way to tackle this is to see where we can possibly include unrefined carbs (deliciously) into our diets. So, substituting those potatoes for sweet sweet potatoes *sobs* could be a step in the right direction.


However, I must say, I found this information quite interesting because for the whole month I have been reading about the link between diet and skin care. Although some dermatologist still insist that diet doesn’t determine whether or not your skin breaks out, a whole lot of them still do say that there is a significant link. I mean, obviously this depends on what you eat, how much of it you eat and how your body reacts to the food you eat. After all, we are all different, right?

Personally, I am a firm believer that what we put into our bodies plays a significant role in our skin. I mean, our body uses the food we eat as building blocks for cell regeneration. So, logic would have it that if you eat refined crap, your skin will look it. Right?

Although, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to lay low on the refined carbs just for 1 month. You know… Just to see what happens. Obviously if your skin starts behaving after you’ve done that, then you know that high GI foods are a trigger for you (sorry). If you lay low on the high GI foods, for a significant amount of time and still no difference, I don’t know whether you should jump and kiss the sky or frown. Personally, I love carbs, so I’d jump and kiss the sky.


Just realise, though, that in no way am I saying stop eating carbs. I don’t believe in cutting out any carbs, nutritionists designed a food pyramid for a reason. Basically, I just think that a well balanced diet is what your body needs to fully function. Unfortunately, some of us can indulge more than others. But, I mean, life’s fair… Right?

I hope this helps at least one of you. And if anybody is acne prone and tries this, please be sure to just let us know how it goes. If it actually did work for you.

If you end up having to commit to unrefined carbs for the sake of your skin, I’m sorry. But, look at it this way: you will be a whole lot healthier than us folk who eat the refined kind. So, I suggest that you look at it that way!

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