Dermatology

How does the Glycemic Index of Foods Affect Your Skin?

Many out there are doubtful…how much does what you eat matter when it comes to your skin? The answer is that it matters a lot. Here’s a closer look into how food’s glycemic index impacts your skin.

Glycemic Index

First, let’s define glycemic index: glycemic index is the value that is assigned to a food that is determined by how rapidly the food increases blood glucose levels. So rather than just looking at carbs, fat, or protein levels, the glycemic index gives a more specific picture of how food affects our blood sugar.

Glycemic Index and Skin

The following image pretty much sums up the relationship between glycemic index and the effect on the skin:

Increased blood sugar leads to increased insulin levels which increases fat storage. This results in insulin and leptin resistance which triggers inflammatory molecules to be released throughout the body, including within the skin. This leads to glycation of collagen which breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin

How can we Utilize Diet to Maintain Healthy Skin?

A low glycemic index leads to less inflammation in the skin via less insulin product and less fat storage. This can help improve skin conditions ranging from acne and psoriasis to helping prevent continued aging of the skin and collagen breakdown.

  1. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index (examples include wheat, fruit juices, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, skim milk)
  2. Prevent glycation of the skin and subsequent collagen and elastin breakdown by avoidance of cooking foods at high temperatures and cooking with acids such as lemon juice or vinegar. Poaching, boiling, or steaming are healthier options for cooking food.
  3. Know your produce source and try to avoid fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides which can increase inflammation in our bodies
  4. Eat fruits and vegetables as your main carbohydrate source
  5. Healthy fats such as avocados, Coconuts, peanuts, and tree nuts as well as olive oil and wild fish have been shown to be beneficial to the skin

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