PUT IT DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM THE DOUGHNUT!
When it comes to thinking about which foods are aging our skin- one food comes to mind: sugar. I love sugar. I’m a sugar addict like most people our bodies naturally crave it. You could say the relationship is bittersweet. I don’t even notice when I gobble down a whole candy bar.
But there’s a limit and the American people are over it, way past it. I’ve learnt that sugar is harmful to skin which was enough to make me take a step back from my diet and start reading labels on food. I know- reading labels is not fun but if you’re serious about getting that youthful glow you once had back, you most probably need to cut down on sugar.
Throughout my nutrition course I was warned about the health effects of sugar. I was so shocked to learn about what sugar does on your inside but this is information we hear about on a daily basis- diabetes, obesity etc which is the most important of all. But I was even more shocked about what it does to your outside- your skin.
You may be sitting there reading this thinking I don’t even eat that much sugar.But…sugar is hidden in foods where you don’t even expect. For example, “healthy” cereals and cereal bars can contain as much sugar as your favorite chocolate snack. Pasta sauces, alcoholic drinks, ready-made soups, ready-made meals, salad dressings, your beloved Starbucks go juice that we are all too fond of are lurking with sugar and harmful additives too.
So I’m writing this post to explain what sugar is doing to our skin- making us age prematurely, break out in zits and pack on the pounds increasing visible cellulite. This is new information because nowadays there is an abundance of sugar- 50 years ago this wasn’t an issue. Read on to know the 7 assaults sugar does on your skin!
THE 7 SUGAR SINS:
1. BREAKS DOWN COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN
Before you go blaming your parents for your premature aging, take a look at your diet. A process called glycation occurs when we induldge at that office party. Once sugar enters your body and is in your bloodstream it attaches itself to proteins and forms new molecules called advanced glycation end products. Eventually these end products ruin other proteins surrounding it including the skin’s building blocks- collagen and elastin. When these proteins are damaged it causes skin to thin making it much more susceptible to wrinkles.
2. INCREASES FREE RADICALS
The end products that sugar creates also make skin susceptible to free radicals which make skin thin, wrinkled and saggy. There is no point in getting all your antioxidants in from eating healthy and rich creams but also eat a mountain of sugar. It is counterproductive and might be why you can’t achieve youthful skin.
3. RUINS CELL TURNOVER
Poor old collagen. Sugar is so mean to it. The dermis is made up of lovely proteins keeping our skin youthful and it also creates new cells and sheds old cells. Damaged collagen due to glycation cannot regenerate as quickly. No new skins cells and lots of dead ones makes skin look dull, bumpy and causes wrinkles.
4. CAUSES CELLULITE
Sugar is stored as fat as many of us don’t burn it off down the gym. Fat deposits start to appear on our thighs, bums, tums and arms but also… the face, yes! Especially the neck and jaw. This causes the skin to look bumpy and saggy. So if you are going to indulge in that slice of cheesecake, make sure to burn it off.
5. CAUSES SKIN DISCOLORATION
Ummm yes. You can blame the sun but you can also blame your sweet tooth for an uneven skin tone, again, due to damaged collagen and elastin. This can make us look older than our years because our skin looks shadowy and dull. It can also irritate the skin making it pink or red in color- often seen on people who have an unhealthy diet.
6. ACTUALLY MAKES YOU TIRED- THE SUGAR SEDATIVE
You might get a great rush when you eat your satiating sugary snack but your high will be temporary. Eventually, you will crash and feel worse, more fatigued. Meaning you will look and feel tired. It is better to eat slow-release foods for energy such as oatmeal which will last much longer.
7. LOVES TO GIVE YOU SPOTS
Lastly, you may be into your 30’s and 40’s and while you left your braces behind in 8th grade, your zits are here to stay. Sugar directly messes with your hormones which cause acne. So curb your sugar cravings to get clearer blemish free skin. You don’t often see those zit-free stars with a candy bar in hand do you? So next time your teenager isn’t scared of getting diabetes, tell them about the effect it has on their skin!
How Much Sugar Should We be Consuming Daily ?
How to Cut Back?
So what’s your sugar sin? Identify what your sweet spot is and how you can replace it with a healthy alternative. Read these great tips about cutting down on sugar:
Cut back on refined sugar (white) and pick up a fruit
Snack on dried fruits (small amounts)
Opt for dark chocolate
Replace sugary cocktails with Gin & Slimline Tonic or Vodka Soda.
Cook your own meals and sauces (canned tomatoes are a great replacement for sugar-laden sauces)
Make your own fruit juices rather than sugary store-bought fruit juice
Always read labels (you’ll be stunned at the hidden sugars!)
SHOCKER: When sugary food snacking try eating with your non-dominant hand. Studies show people eat less that way because you have to think before you eat!
If you’re a sugar snaffler, cut back on sugar for 2 weeks and post your before and after pics in the comment section!