Observational evidence suggests that dietary glycemic load may be one environmental factor contributing to the variation in acne prevalence worldwide. To investigate the effect of a low glycemic load (LGL) diet on endocrine aspects of acne vulgaris, 12 male acne sufferers (17.0 +/- 0.4 years) completed a parallel, controlled feeding trial involving a 7-day admission to a housing facility. Subjects consumed either an LGL diet (n = 7; 25% energy from protein and 45% from carbohydrates) or a high glycemic load (HGL) diet (n = 5; 15% energy from protein, 55% energy from carbohydrate). Study outcomes included changes in the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), free androgen index (FAI), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and its binding proteins (IGFBP-I and IGFBP-3). Changes in HOMA-IR were significantly different between groups at day 7 (-0.57 for LGL vs. 0.14 for HGL, p = 0.03). SHBG levels decreased significantly from baseline in the HGL group (p = 0.03), while IGFBP-I and IGFBP-3 significantly increased (p = 0.03 and 0.03, respectively) in the LGL group. These results suggest that increases in dietary glycemic load may augment the biological activity of sex hormones and IGF-I, suggesting that these diets may aggravate potential factors involved in acne development.