The effect of a high-protein, low glycemic-load diet versus a conventional, high glycemic-load diet on biochemical parameters associated with acne vulgaris: a randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Aug;57(2):247-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2007.01.046. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Background: No previous study has sought to examine the influence of dietary composition on acne vulgaris.

Objective: We sought to compare the effect of an experimental low glycemic-load diet with a conventional high glycemic-load diet on clinical and endocrine aspects of acne vulgaris.

Methods: A total of 43 male patients with acne completed a 12-week, parallel, dietary intervention study with investigator-masked dermatology assessments. Primary outcomes measures were changes in lesion counts, sex hormone binding globulin, free androgen index, insulin-like growth factor-I, and insulin-like growth factor binding proteins.

Results: At 12 weeks, total lesion counts had decreased more in the experimental group (-21.9 [95% confidence interval, -26.8 to -19.0]) compared with the control group (-13.8 [-19.1 to -8.5], P = .01). The experimental diet also reduced weight (P = .001), reduced the free androgen index (P = .04), and increased insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (P = .001) when compared with a high glycemic-load diet.

Limitations: We could not preclude the role of weight loss in the overall treatment effect.

Conclusion: This suggests nutrition-related lifestyle factors play a role in acne pathogenesis. However, these preliminary findings should be confirmed by similar studies.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / blood*
  • Acne Vulgaris / diet therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin