June 20, 2013
Facts About Sugar: The Not So Sweet Truth
It’s our guilty little pleasure. Our little pick-me-up. Our harmless little reward at the end of a hard week.
That decadent indulgence sends delicious shivers up and down our tastes buds while wreaking havoc on our bodies– and still we can’t help but eye the doughnut trays at the bakery or sneak a small bite of chocolate for dessert.
We know sugar’s bad.
But it turns out, sugar may be aging us beyond our years. We’ve asked the experts to give us some basic facts about sugar, and the more we learned, the more we realized that our sweet tooth can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging.
What is Glycation?
Studies have shown that consuming too much sugar can trigger the process known as glycation, a chemical reaction in which sugar attaches itself to proteins in the bloodstream, forming molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGE).
The more sugar we eat, the more AGE molecules that accumulate in the body, damaging proteins such as elastin and collagen that are essential for keeping your skin firm and smooth. As we age, the production of elastin and collagen decreases, and once damaged, the elastin and collagen in the skin won’t be enough to prevent wrinkles and fine lines.
According to Peter T, Pugliese MD and Skin Expert, “Glycation makes you older faster, and makes the skin look just plain awful. . .it accounts for accelerated aging, yellowing, and stiffness of the skin, and decreased circulation.”
Dr. Nicholas Perricone contributes to these facts about sugar by saying, “eating sugary and starchy foods shows up on the skin as a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, the loss of tone, puffiness, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, the loss of facial contours and increased pore size. . .Sugar can rob you of your youth, health, and beauty.”
What You Can Do
Fortunately, it’s not too late to save your skin from a sugary fate. Although you may have years of damage caused by poor food choices showing up around your eyes, you can make a dramatic impact in the overall health of your skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles by making simple changes to your diet.
Go for Fruit: Cutting back on the soda, ditching the brownies, and swapping out refined foods is the first step for revitalizing and rejuvenating your skin. Double check the labels for hidden sugars such as syrup, dextrose, maltose, and fructose.
If your sweet tooth is screaming for attention, grab a piece of fruit instead. Although the sugar in fruit can still result in AGE, it won’t cause nearly as much damage on your skin.
Additionally, the fiber found naturally in fruit can help push unwanted wasted and toxins through your digestive tract, so you can give your liver a rest.
Don’t Forget Your Vitamins: Consuming a wide variety of vitamins is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Vitamins B1 and B6 can inhibit the production of AGE and Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant. Add a little vitamin E to protect against sun exposure and vitamin a to keep skin hydrated, you have a recipe for younger looking skin.
Detoxify with Antioxidants: Antioxidants can eliminate harmful molecules known as free radicals which can damage your skin while inhibiting sugar’s ability to attach to proteins. Antioxidants can be found in a wide variety of foods such as green tea, and can help slow the damage caused by AGE.
Although it may seem difficult to face the facts about sugar and overhaul your diet your skin will thank you for your efforts. By eating a healthy, well-balanced diet you can give your skin the nutrients it needs to stay healthy while trimming down your waistline.