I've been on an extremely low GI diet for three weeks now, after being told by my College GP that "diet has no affect on acne" and not to believe everything I read. I feel that she insulted my intelligence, which is not low, so I've been sticking to the diet religiously with the double aim of clearing my skin and proving her wrong. I think it's working - you may have to be patient though. I had what would be considered moderate acne - although for a girl that's pretty life-disrupting, and the first two weeks I saw only mild improvement and new zits did pop up, although the inflammation was reduced. But the last few days I've had only two tiny un-noticeable pimples and the rest are completely healed up - except for the red marks my face looks clear again. I'm crossing my fingers praying that it lasts, so I can go to that GP's office with my clear skin and a copy of a study I found in the very legit and respected Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology linking acne to carbs -- and make her admit I was right.
As to the diet, extreme strictness in the beginning stages is what I recommend. You want to reduce your insulin levels by a lot, not a little bit, especially so that if you don't see the results you were looking for you know that it's low GI that isn't working for you and not simply that you weren't going low GI enough. I've been eating mostly fruits, (Apples and oranges, because that's what's available to me, although other things like peaches and berries would be good too, just no bananas or watermelons, too high GI), vegetables, cooked and raw, (other than potatoes, which are pure carbs, salads are great but watch out for the dressing, oil and vinegar is best), and nuts, beans and sunflower seeds for protein, although not too much as protein, especially beans, can give you an insulin response as well as carbs, which we want to avoid. I say, ditch all the grains, even the conventional whole grains have a high GI, and while pasta, because of its structure, releases sugars into the blood slower, it still releases the same amount in the end, and your insulin still reacts, although maybe not as drastically. If you are eating tons of pasta, even whole wheat, I would assume that your insulin levels are not getting very low, which is counterproductive. So I would advise you to ditch all grains for a month, just to be on the safe side. Sorry... Meat is also suspect, in my book, as it can trigger insulin with its protein and it is known to be chock full of hormones, as is dairy, which can cause acne as well. Eggs too, although I do eat a few bites of scrambled for breakfast occasionally. But I think it's best to go vegan for a month, and see where that gets you. I know my diet sounds restrictive, but you don't really have to starve on it - whenever I get hungry, I eat an orange or some carrots. And I find looking at the carby food I want to eat and thinking about what it will do to my face gives me tremendous willpower. I don't think I have to go on eating this way forever - I just want to find a sort of "bottom line" that I know will clear my skin - then when my face is clear and my insulin under control I can start adding things back - some meat or a little whole grain, and see how my face responds. I have a hunch that most people who suffer from acne are insulin resistant from overeating carbs, and that low GI eating can help that condition so that gradually your hormone response is "trained" to be more normal, and you can move back to a more reasonable diet. But I will eat the way I am for ever and ever if it is the only way I can have clear skin! I hope my take on the low GI diet doesn't sound too impossible to follow - really, I just want you to get the results I have! The link to that article is below. Have a great day!