Monday, October 16, 2006

Study: Lower Insulin Levels Generated By A Low-Carb Diet Naturally Reduces Acne

Got pimples? Then you may want to try the low-carb lifestyle!

How many of us grew up hearing the advice from well-meaning people to stop eating chocolate and fried foods to help cure our acne when we were teenagers? I know I did and I even tried doing it (with very little success!) thinking that made sense.

But now researchers out of Australia have recently conducted a study that found it wasn't the fat that was making all those zits pop up on our faces, but rather the overabundance of sugary, processed, high-carb foods instead!

Lead researcher Dr. Neil Mann, associate professor of Nutrition and Food Science at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, observed 50 teenage boys with a moderate to severe acne problem over a three-month period to see what impact diet would have on their skin condition.

The study participants were randomly divided into two groups:

HIGH-CARB: Typical teenage diet of refined carbs/processed foods.
LOW-CARB: Healthier diet with more low-GI whole foods.

Obviously, the LOW-CARB group ate more foods that took time for the body to digest and, thus, did not experience the wild swings in their blood sugar which dramatically raises insulin levels that is typical of a HIGH-CARB diet. In fact, most of the carbohydrates that would normally be consumed in a typical teenage diet were replaced with high-quality sources of protein such as red meat and fish in the LOW-CARB group.

At the end of the study, Dr. Mann found the acne among those in the LOW-CARB group had "improved dramatically, by more than half."

You hear that right--the low-glycemic index (GI), low-carb diet that was consumed by the LOW-CARB group reduced their breakouts by more than 50 percent! WOWsers!

"This new evidence suggests that a more natural diet, comprised of minimally processed foods, may serve as a defense against acne," he explained.

The results of this study were presented at a European dermatology conference earlier this month in Greece (have you heard about this study BEFORE now anywhere else in the mainstream media? Hmmmm?).

Dr. Mann said he was surprised by the incredible improvements that the LOW-CARB group saw that were seemingly based solely on their diet, something many dermatologists and health experts have long claimed has no effect on acne.

But Dr. Mann believes the high levels of insulin generated by the typical HIGH-CARB diet that most teenagers eat is the root cause behind their facial breakouts. Lowering the carbohydrate intake of the study participants resulted in a reduction of the insulin levels and a correlating improvement in the production of pimples.

"It's as clear as day," Dr. Mann boasted of the faces in the LOW-CARB group.

He said it is natural for teenagers to develop zits as their bodies go through the typical changes associated with that period in their life.

"When you go through puberty you produce a lot of growth hormone that actually makes you insulin resistant temporarily," he revealed. "With chronically high levels of insulin you're going to get blockages in the pores and extra oil building up under the skin."

Not surprisingly, the typical HIGH-CARB diet makes the problem that much worse which is why putting them on a LOW-CARB diet is an excellent, all-natural way to help bring about drastic improvements in the complexion of adolescents.

"We're convinced the results show that if people do suffer from acne badly this sort of dietary change is going to help them a great deal," Dr. Mann concluded.

Further studies will undoubtedly be conducted in the near future to test this theory regarding the correlation between insulin levels and acne even more which could make for yet another fascinating positive side effect of livin' la vida low-carb. This is yet another reason I wish I had started the low-carb lifestyle a long time ago because I've had BAD breakouts ever since I turned 13.

Before I started the Atkins diet in January 2004 at the age of 32, I was STILL having trouble with pimples. But the condition is 1000% better now three years after I stopped eating sugar and started eating more low-glycemic foods. This is yet another BONUS feature of low-carb living that you may not even realize. Yes, the weight loss is fantastic and I would do it all over again just for that. But I'm so glad to see there are many more reasons for me to keep on livin' la vida low-carb!

You can e-mail Dr. Neil Mann about his study at

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Blogger Newbirth said...

I commented on this at Dr. Vernon's blog. My adult acne cleared right up on low-carb, along with a couple other minor health problems.

Ask Dr. Vernon

10/16/2006 9:56 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

Oh other thing - every time I go back to eating sugar the zits come back. After eating a lot of sugar leading up to my glucose tolerance test (5 days off plan) I had a breakout, and after cheating with just a little ice cream for dessert on vacation (7 days in a row) I had another breakout.

I can't speak about grains, but sugar for sure sets it off.

10/16/2006 10:03 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

I noticed the same thing and this coming from someone who has had a history of acne, even to the point of taking prescription drugs as a teenager.

Before low carb only a few weeks ago, I was using an expensive cleaner/toner and medicine.
I noticed lately my skin is actually dry now and I need to back off on it.

I was always told it was probably from an acidy system.....hmmmmmmmm

10/16/2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

This is why Dr Perricone calls his diet the anti-inflammation diet. In his book, he explains how the insulin response leads to acne--he calls acne a disease of inflammation.

I need to go back and look at his book, because he's not just a dermatologist, he did his own research, and I think he's got papers on the subject of acne that parallels the European results.

10/17/2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger BillyHW said...

My acne has improved considerable since going on Atkins.

10/17/2006 11:58 PM  
Blogger teapotsgalore said...

I wish I could say the same! Low carb has improved many other conditions I had, but my zits show up like clock-work each month, indicating a more hormonal connection than a carb connection... for me, anyway :p

10/20/2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

Teapot - if you only get it once a month, yeah. Most of us with acne had it all the time, not just "that time of the month." Yours is hormonal if it's only once a month.

10/22/2006 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cured acne after reading a book called No Acne for Me. I thought there were no cure or treatment but apperently I looked the wrong places. Acne free and acne cure - get this book.

8/06/2008 8:59 AM  

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