Your Sweet Tooth Is Giving You Wrinkles
You are probably already well-acquainted with some enemies of youthful skin - such as sun exposure and smoking - that keep your skin from looking smooth and glowing. But did you know your sweet tooth a major culprit in accelerating skin’s aging process? Thanks to diabetes research, scientists are aware that excess glucose in the bloodstream causes damage to internal organs as well as your body’s largest organ - your skin. Having excess glucose in your bloodstream sets you up for an expedited aging process - think wrinkles, yellowing skin, brown spots, sagging, and more. So, before you reach for that next sweet treat, read this to find out what exactly that sugar is doing to your complexion and how you can break the sugar cycle.
Sugar —> Glycation —> Aging
The chain of events are pretty straightforward - sugar causes a process called glycation, and glycation causes skin aging. Glycation is when sugar binds to other molecules in your body, such as protein and lipids thereby creating a by-product. These sugar by-products do two things. First, they stop your cells from functioning properly, and then they create free radicals, which can further damage your cells. As a result, the molecules in your skin that keep your complexion looking tight and young—namely, collagen and elastin—are no longer able to do their jobs. Furthermore, you become more vulnerable to environmental stressors such as UV light, pollution and cigarette smoke.
Every time you eat sugar, glycation by-products flood your bloodstream. Most of us indulge our sugar habit daily, meaning your body never gets a chance to recover and is in a state of constant glycation. It’s no wonder that wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin start to show up and never go away.
Foods that cause glycation
The more glycation by-products present in your system, the faster your body will show the signs of aging, both inside and out. So, limiting sugar intake is the first line of defense against the aging effects of glycation. When you think of foods to avoid, think white bread, white pasta, chips, pretzels, dried fruits, cookies and cakes. These foods are quickly broken down in our guts, and our blood subsequently surges with sugar, leading to a cascade of destruction. Try substituting these foods with low-glycemic-index foods like multigrain bread, quinoa, barley, sweet potatoes, beans, veggies and lean proteins. I often get asked about sugar-rich fruits such as cherries, grapes, and mangoes - while it’s true these contain a great deal of sugar (albeit natural) and they can indeed cause glycation, remember that high-carbohydrate processed foods are the biggest threats.
As in anything that involves the skin, prevention is best. But what do you do once the damage has been done? Seeking a natural skincare and diet routine will help to reduce inflammation, maintain healthy skin pH, and can assist with skin-barrier repair. Cosmetic acupuncture and nutritional guidance fit this bill perfectly!
So don’t despair if your sweet tooth has already given you a head start on aging. With positive action, you, too, can begin to see some positive results.