How the Glycemic Index Affects Your Skin

We’ve been told many times that “greasy french fries and chocolate cause acne” but in reality the cause of acne in regards to nutrition is how certain foods are affecting your blood sugar AND YOUR HORMONES. Foods that have a High Glycemic Index (GI) are quickly broken down by the body and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.  When blood sugar spikes it can lead to inflammation AND INCREASED OIL PRODUCTION, which plays a major role in acne.

Spoiler Alert: DARK Chocolate that has no added sugar does not cause acne and is actually really good for you! We love the Midnight Chocolate by Eating Evolved.

When you eat high glycemic foods it can also quickly increase hormones AND TRIGGER AN ENZYME PROCESS INVOLVING SOMETHING CALLED 5-alpha reductase- this in turn gives us thick acne that forms deep under the skin in our hair follicles (mainly near the chin, mouth, and lower jaw). DAIRY AND WHEAT PRODUCTS CAUSE THIS REACTION WITHIN A FEW HOURS OF CONSUMING.

If you are prone to acne or looking to clear your skin, ditching foods that are high on the glycemic index is imperative, ESPECIALLY AT YOUR FIRST MEAL. RULE OF THUMB- MAKE SURE EVERY MEAL IS AT LEAST 50% protein : Carb. This will ensure minimal blood sugar spikes. Best snacks are ALMONDS, AVOCADO, APPLES, Organic jerky, ROASTED BEANS FROM ENLIGHTENED, to name a few. Being more mindful about the glycemic index of the foods you eat will help you take control of your own skin and reduce acne flare ups.

So what is the Glycemic Index?

The glycemic Index is a system of measuring how fast your blood sugar rises after eating specific foods. The index ranges from 0-100. The higher the glycemic index, the more prone you are to acne, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and other inflammatory related diseases. Foods with a zero-glycemic index are those without carbohydrates such as eggs, meat, fish, and nuts. High-glycemic index foods (ranked 70 and above) are those such as table sugar, heavily processed foods, breads.  

What foods have a high GI and lead to breakouts?

High Glycemic foods (70-100): bread, bagels, white rice, cereal, crackers and rice cakes, instant oats, sweetened desserts, candy, pastries, and baked goods, foods containing white flour, processed foods, ice cream, canned beans, sugars such as table sugar, maltodextrin and maltose, pretzels, fruits such as dates, watermelon, kiwi, and vegetables such as white potatoes, parsnips, and pumpkin.

If you are struggling with acne, what foods are good to eat?

Low glycemic index foods take a longer time to digest causing only a small, slow increase in blood sugar. This makes them a great choice for clear skin!

Low glycemic foods (55 or less): apples, oranges, berries, organic grass fed protein, chickpeas, lentils, and other vegetables such as cauliflower, butternut squash, greens, zucchini, quinoa, non-canned beans, nuts such as cashews and almonds.

Medium glycemic foods (56-69): sweet potatoes, peaches, oranges, pineapple, rolled oats, wild rice.

Be mindful when consuming medium glycemic foods, you can certainly include these in your diet but we recommend no more that 1-2 medium glycemic foods a day.

Glycemic Index Chart

If you feel confused just google search the glycemic index of your food or create meals around the chart we made below for you! This is an easy way to create low glycemic meals to keep your skin clear!  

LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX (Less Than 55)

Fruits

Apples

38

Apple juice

40

Apricots, dried

31

Bananas

54

Blueberries

25

Cherries

22

Coconut

45

Cranberries

45

Cranberry juice

50

Figs, dried

40

Grapefruit

25

Grapes

53

Orange juice

53

Oranges

44

Pears, fresh

53

Plantains, raw

45

Plums

55

Strawberries

41

Vegetables

Artichokes

20

Asparagus

15

Bamboo shoots, raw

20

Beet greens

20

Broccoli

15

Broccoli rabe

10

Brussel sprouts

15

Butternut squash, baked

50

Cabbage

10

Carrot juice

45

Carrots, raw

47

Cauliflower

15

Celery

15

Collard greens

20

Cucumber

15

Eggplant

15

Garlic

30

Green beans

15

Hubbard squash, baked

50

Kale

15

Leeks

15

Lettuce

15

Lima beans

46

Okra, raw

15

Olives

15

Onions

15

Peppers

15

Pickles, dill

15

Turnip greens

10

Turnips, boiled

30

Snow peas

15

Summer squash

15

Tomato soup

54

Tomatoes

15

Spinach

15

Summer squash

15

Watercress

10

Zucchini

15

Grains, Breads & Cereals

Barley

25

Basmati rice

50

Brown rice

50

Chickpeas

33

Matzo bread

40

Quinoa

53

Vermicelli

35

Nuts and Legumes

Almonds

15

Black Beans

30

Broad beans

40

Butter beans

43

Cashews

23

Chickpeas

33

Fava beans

40

Horse beans

40

Kidney beans

41

Navy beans

54

Peanuts

14

Pinto bean

39

Split peas, yellow, boiled

45

Snacks & Sweets

Honey

55

Hummus

6

MEDIUM GLYCEMIC INDEX (between 56 and 69)

Fruits

Apricots, fresh

57

Cantaloupe

65

Fruit cocktail

55

Mango juice, unsweetened

55

Mangoes

56

Oranges

63

Orange juice

55

Papaya, fresh

55

Peaches, fresh

60

Peaches, canned

67

Pineapple

59

Raisins

64

Vegetables

Marrowfat peas, dried

56

Peas, green

68

Sweet potato

61

Oatmeal, rolled

58

Pita bread

57

Quick-cooking porridge

65

Wild rice

57

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

Mayonnaise

60

Nuts and Legumes

Black-eyed peas

59

Chestnuts

60

Lentil soup, canned

63

Pinto beans, canned

64

HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX (70 and higher)

Fruits

Dates

103

Kiwifruit

75

Watermelon

72

Vegetables

Parsnips

139

Pumpkin

107

Rutabaga

103

Potato, instant

121

Potato, mashed

100

Potato, microwaved

117

Potato, white, baked,

85

Grains, Breads & Cereals

Bagel

72

Bagel, white

103

Barley flour bread

95

Bran buds

77

Bran Chex

83

Bread stuffing

106

Cheerios

106

Cocoa Pops

79

Corn Flakes

81

French baguette

136

French bread

95

Gluten-free bread

90

Gnocchi

95

Golden Grahams

102

Grape Nuts

75

Hamburger bun

87

Kaiser roll

104

Life cereal

94

Muesli

80

Muesli bars

87

Oat kernel bread

93

Oatmeal, instant

79

Pita bread, white

82

Pumpernickel bread

71

Rice cakes

82

Rice Chex

127

Rice Krispies

117

Rice, brown

79

Rice, instant

128

Rice, white

83

Rye flour bread

92

Shredded Wheat

75

Special K

77

Tapioca, boiled with milk

115

Total

109

Water crackers

102

Waffles

109

Wheat bread

97

White bread

70

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

Ice cream, full-fat

87

Ice cream, low-fat

71

Tofu, frozen dessert, non-dairy

164

Nuts and Legumes

Black bean soup

92

Green pea soup, canned

94

Kidney beans, canned

74

Lentils, canned

74

Split pea soup

86

Snacks & Sweets

Cake, angel food

95

Cake, pound

77

Corn chips

105

Corn syrup

90

Croissant

96

Doughnuts

108

French fries

75

Gatorade

78

Glucose

138

Graham crackers

74

Jelly beans

80

Life Savers

70

Maltodextrin

95

Maltose

152

Nutri-Grain bar

94

Oatmeal cookies

79

Pastry

84

Popcorn

72

Pretzels

83

Shortbread

91

Stoned Wheat Thins

96

Sugar, table

89

Vanilla wafers

110