Balancing Glycemic Load

Emblem for Skin Support Module - Low Glycemic Index Foods for Skin Health

Executive Summary

Eating foods with a low glycemic index can improve blood sugar stability, hormonal stability, and lipid metabolism; leading to more balanced sebum production and improved sebum composition.


The glycemic index is the standard measurement system used to evaluate a given food’s effect on blood sugar (glycemic response) relative to it’s carbohydrate content.

It’s scale ranges from 0 to 100. With 100 being the effect of pure glucose (sugar) and 0 being the effect of something that either has no effect on blood sugar.

This means, that if we compare two foods that have the same impact on blood sugar, the one with the higher total carbohydrate content would always have a lower GI index.

Most importantly, you don’t need to exclude all foods with a GI index to benefit from understanding this concept.

Eating a food with a low GI has been shown to reduce the effect of your next meals impact on blood sugar, resulting in more stable blood sugar levels (this phenomenon is referred to as the Second Meal effect) [1, 2].

Foods that typically have a low GI (lower then 55) include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Most fruits
  • Sweet potato and yam
  • Peas, legumes and lentils
  • Oatmeal and oat bran

And foods that typically have a high GI (above 70) include:

  • Commercial cereal (corn flakes, puffed rice, granola)
  • Wheat products*
  • Potatoes*
  • Melons

  • Glycemic index can be decreased based on preparation method

Documented Benefits

Studies have shown that low glycemic index diets can:

  • Improve the fatty acid composition of the skin surface [3]
  • Improve hormonal stability [4]
  • Improve cognitive function [5] and stress resistance [6]
  • Decrease the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease [7]
  • Improve acne [8]

Why It’s Important for Inflammatory Skin Disease

Characteristics most important for individuals affected by inflammatory skin disorders:

  • Improved lipid metabolism
  • Improved blood sugar control

Expected improvements:

  • Balanced sebum production
  • Improved sebum composition and stability

Ideas for Integration

Simply adding ample raw vegetables to your meals is a great way to ensure low GI foods are a regular part of your daily diet. And if your not used to eating vegetables during meal time, force yourself to eat at-least one vegetable prior to your meals.

Additional Notes

  • A food’s soluble fiber content has one of the most clear and significant influences on the food’s impact on blood sugar levels [9]
  • Food processing and food storage have a strong impact on a food’s glycemic index (more processing and more cooking increase GI)
  • If we compare two foods that have the same impact on blood sugar, the one with the higher total carbohydrate content would have a lower glycemic index
  • Glycemic load may be a better indicator of a food’s impact on blood glucose as it takes into consideration the overall portion size and not just the carbohydrate content [10]
  • Simply cutting out wheat products can drastically lower the glycemic index of your diet and this may potentially be the primary reason many report skin improvements from going gluten free

Share Your Thoughts

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2 Responses to “Balancing Glycemic Load”

  1. Kaka1902
    Kaka1902 -

    Hey michael what do you think about fruits and their glycemic index how fruits like banana melon and high glycemic fruits affect your skin

    • jake
      jake -

      For me, fruit hasn’t had much of an impact on my skin. I’ve tried zero fruit and then this summer I was eating 5-6 servings a day without any change in skin. I am very active in the summer, so I think that allows for me to operate better on more fruit. Now that it is fall and I am less active, I noticed 5-6 servings of fruit doesn’t feel as good digestion-wise, so I have decreased it to 3-4 servings and feel good.

      If you are active or live somewhere sunny year round where you can get fresh fruit, I’d experiment with eating more of it and see how things go. Your body will give you signs on how much it needs.

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