We have all heard the old adage "You are what you eat", but that has never stopped me from eating double chocolate cake. That is until I found out that the sugary foods I love so much can be adding decades to my skin! If you are like me and have a soft spot for sweet stuff the sweet then this blog post is for you. No matter what you put on the outside if you're not taking care of your insides skincare products can't help you.
WHAT IS SUGAR INDUCED AGING?
Sigh...The link between sugar consumption and aging is real. When we eat sugar the glucose that is released attaches itself to lipids and proteins such as collagen and elastin. This process of forming these new glucose/protein molecules is called Glycation. Once the Glycation process has been completed the new molecules then erodes these proteins by hardening and loosening elasticity in the skin. The end result is skin that sags and is at a higher risk of lines and wrinkles. It also leads to having a rough, callus-like skin texture similar to an orange and who wants that!?
Keep in mind that as we age we deplete our collagen and hyaluronic acid stores. Glycation speeds up depletion by further depleting the skin of natural moisture. But it doesn't just stop at depleting these vital skin nutrients - it also significantly limits the skin’s ability to produce and regenerate quality collagen and hyaluronic acid. But wait...theres even more! Free radicals, oxidative stress, and inflammation are all created as a byproduct of Glycation.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY SKIN INTERNALLY AGAINST SUGAR INDUCED AGING?
There’s no getting around the fact that diet and lifestyle have the biggest effect on glycation and human skin cells.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Getting enough sleep is imperative. Sleep deprivation is also known to impair insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Aim for at least 6-8 hours every night.
I also highly recommend finding mindful ways to manage stress because excess cortisol has a major negative impact on your body and can increase oxidative stress and free radical regeneration, which accelerates the aging process.
Eat The Right Foods
In your diet, focus on consuming only fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. You want to “eat the rainbow” (no, not Skittles, which just like most candies contain high levels of fructose) to ensure you are getting variety and filling your body with all the nutrients and antioxidants it needs from an array of fruits and vegetables.
Low sugar fruits like berries are best though, remember sugar is sugar, no matter its source. While natural sugars are digested slower in the body than processed fructose, too much of it can still lead to skin age formation, a loss of elastin. I recommend following a diet similar to someone with diabetes; shying away from foods and drinks that translate into sugar in the body.
Even healthy foods can be high in sugar (such as these fruits) and should be avoided if possible. Also, be sure to avoid foods like pasta, cereal, oatmeal, sweetened yogurt, juice, chips, crackers, and all bread to avoid a spike in insulin levels and the process of glycation from occurring.