Into my Google Reader account popped this Korean acne-diet study. The researchers investigated the effect of dietary glycemic load (GL) to acne.
They put 17 acne patients on a low GL diet and another 15 acne patients on a control diet. Here’s the composition of the low GL diet:
- 45% of energy from low GI carbohydrates
- 30% from fat
- 25% from protein
That diet is very similar to what I recommend people to start with, so I’m happy to see my recommendations validated.
People in the control group were asked to eat more carbohydrates, but mostly they maintained their normal diet.
Here are the results the low GL group got.
- Acne severity dropped 27%
- Non-inflammatory lesion count down by 28%
- Inflammatory lesion count dropped by 29%
- Sebaceous gland size reduced by 25% (indicating reduced sebum production)
- Inflammation in the skin reduced by 40-50% (depending on the marker measured)
In pretty much all the measurements the low GL group did better than the control group.
OK, these results aren’t groundbreaking. About 30% reduction in acne severity and pimple count is great, but it’s a far cry from getting completely clear. This isn’t that surprising given the limited scope of this study.
- The study period was 10 weeks. The researchers noted, and I agree, that had the study been longer the results would have gotten even better.
- The study focused on glycemic index as a factor but ignored other dietary factors, such as dairy, allergic effect of foods, etc.
- The low GI treatment diet still included lot of grains and other potentially problematic foods.
- Diet is just a part of the solution. Acne is also affected by stress, gut health, sleep patterns and external skin care. So you can’t really expect to get perfect results with diet alone.
In conclusion, nothing that new here. This study just adds to the evidence that diet does affect acne. And that you should treat acne with both internal (diet and lifestyle) and external means.