Low glycemic load, high protein diet lessens facial acne severity

Smith, R.; Mann, N.; Braue, A.; Varigos, G.
December 2005
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition;2005 Supplement, Vol. 14, pS97
Academic Journal
Background -- Acne vulgaris is a multi-factorial skin disorder which affects the 85-100% of the adolescent population in Western civilizations. Despite its high prevalence in the West, acne prevalence is extremely low or rare in non-westernized societies. It has been proposed that refined, high glycemic foods common in Western societies may accentuate underlying causal factors responsible for its proliferation. Objective -- To determine whether a low glycemic load diet, comprised of high levels of protein and low GI foods, can alleviate the severity of acne symptoms in young males. Design -- Male acne sufferers [n=43, age=18.3 ± 0.4 (mean ± SEM)] were randomly assigned to either the dietary intervention (n=23) or control groups (n=20). The intervention diet consisted of 25% energy from protein and 45% energy from low glycemic index carbohydrates. The control group received no information about diet nor were they given dietary instruction. The efficacy of dietary treatment versus control was clinically assessed by a dermatologist using a modified Cunliffe-Leeds acne scale. The dermatologist assessed facial acne by means of lesion counts and was blinded to the subject's group. Outcomes -- Dietary intervention resulted in a reduction in total lesion counts (-23.1 ± 4.0 lesions, P <0.001) and inflammatory counts (-16.2 ± 3.0 lesions, P <0.001). The control group also showed a reduction in total lesion counts (-12.0 ± 3.5 lesions, P <0.01) and inflammatory counts (-7.4 ± 2.5 lesions, P <0.05). However, between group analyses showed that the reduction was significantly greater in the intervention group for total counts (P <0.05) and inflammatory counts (P <0.05). Conclusion -- These data indicate that a low glycemic load diet, comprised of high levels of protein and low GI foods, significantly decreased the mean number of facial acne lesions, therefore alleviating the severity of acne symptoms. However, the multi-factorial nature of this condition is reflected in the fact that the control group also showed a decrease over time, thereby suggesting that other factors are at play.


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