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Do foods with a low glycemic index improve skin?

Glycemic Index and Skin Health

Maintaining a Balanced Diet
If you're going to restrict what you eat, make sure you balance your diet by eating healthy food that gives you nutritional benefits similar to the foods that you eliminate. The trick to managing a low-glycemic-index diet while maintaining healthy skin is moderation and a focus on good nutrition. For more information, visit [sources: USDA, WebMD].

You may have heard that a certain diet caused your friend's skin to break out or become dry and scaly. While the low-glycemic index diet doesn't typically have the same extreme effect on your skin as some other diets, it does have its own pros and cons.

On the positive side, new research shows that a low-glycemic-index diet may help prevent or alleviate acne. First, you should know that contrary to popular myth, eating certain foods, such as chocolate or greasy pizza, won't make you break out. However, recent research suggests that modifying your overall diet to eat more low-glycemic-index carbohydrates can result in fewer zits. While this study has generated a lot of interest, further research is being conducted to verify these results [sources: American Academy of Dermatology, Science Daily].

On the negative side, the low-glycemic-index diet restricts foods that can benefit your skin. For example, oranges are high on the glycemic index, but they contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and a collagen booster. Antioxidants repair damaged skin and protect skin from free radicals that can cause wrinkles, and collagen is an essential protein that helps keep skin tissue strong and firm [sources: Magee, Real Age].

Although maintaining a healthy diet promotes a healthier complexion, relying on a low-glycemic-index diet to do this probably isn't the best solution. Following a low-glycemic-index diet may reduce acne, but eating too many of these foods and avoiding certain foods, such as fruit, could cause other skin problems by depriving your skin of important nutrients.

If you want to try a low-glycemic-index diet, read on to learn how to use a glycemic-index chart.