A good way to improve the health of your skin is to eat in a manner that keeps your blood sugar steady, she tells WebMD. Some foods make your blood sugar quickly soar. This triggers your body to make a burst of the hormone insulin to help your cells absorb the sugar.
If throughout the day you’re “eating a cookie, you’re eating a granola bar, and you’re drinking a sweetened beverage, you’re pushing your blood sugar up high and fast, and you’re going to have more insulin circulating in your bloodstream,” says Treloar, who co-authored The Clear Skin Diet.
Some research suggests that insulin may play a role in acne. In a 2007 study, researchers explored a possible link. The study included 43 teenage boys and young men with acne. For three months, some ate a diet including foods with a low glycemic load (which is a measure of how foods affect people’s blood sugar), and others ate a carbohydrate-heavy diet without being concerned about their glycemic index. Those who ate the special low glycemic load diet had more improvement in their acne.
On the other hand, a study published in a dermatology journal later that year didn’t find an association between acne, insulin levels, and measurements of glycemic load. So the matter isn't settled yet.
- Focus on foods with a low glycemic index (GI), a measurement related to glycemic load These cause smaller increases in your blood sugar, as opposed to the steeper jump from foods with a high glycemic index, or GI. Identifying low and high GI foods may take some time. You can find a good introduction here.
- Eat small meals often. Eating every two and a half to three hours will help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steadier, Treloar says.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Treloar recommends 10 fist-sized servings of vegetables daily. Choose veggies across a range of deep and bright colors. These will provide a variety of antioxidants that dampen free-radical (or “oxidative”) damage and inflammation. But keep in mind that some vegetables have a high GI.