Everyone wants to look their best, and part of that is keeping your skin looking youthful and bright. However, there are many factors at play when it comes to skin aging, and some are quite unexpected.
One factor which has been associated with the signs of premature aging is having too much sugar in your diet. Here, we take a closer look at the links between aging and sugar.
Does Sugar Make You Look Older?
It seems that the answer to this question is yes. Sugar can age us in several ways, both externally and internally, and this aging process can also include the skin.
If you’ve ever unpeeled a banana then left it out in the air for a day or so, you’ll be aware that it turns brown over time. This occurs because the sugar in the banana reacts with proteins and this causes cross-linking. As a result, the browning reaction takes place.
This reaction happens inside the body too, we just can’t see it in the same way. The sugar that we eat is made from a fructose and glucose molecule. The fructose speeds up this browning reaction sevenfold.
Skin is made up of elastin and collagen, both of which make the skin soft and supple. When we eat sugar, sugar causes the collagen to cross-link and as a result, the skin becomes less elastic and more stiff. The more we eat sugar, the more the skin suffers.
How Does Sugar Affect The Skin?
There are several ways in which sugar can harm the skin. These include:
- The exacerbation of acne
- Emerging wrinkles
- Sagging to the chin and neck
- Developing dark spots
- Slow healing of scrapes, cuts and wounds
The Role Played By Our DNA And Metabolism
Although the aging process is natural, it is made faster when we eat sugar. This is because there is a cap known as a telomere on the end of every DNA strand. This protects the DNA from being damaged. When the DNA is read then duplicated, the telomeres shorten.
Although the human body can replace telomeres, sugar speeds up the shortening and this advances the process of aging. The more sugar is consumed, the faster the aging process becomes.
As we get older, we process sugars in exactly the same way. However, there are differences in our metabolic rate.
When we are younger, we have higher metabolic rates and then they slow down as we age. This means it becomes harder to process sugars once we reach middle age and beyond and the damage becomes more noticeable.
How To Resolve The Sugar Problem
The best possible solution is to start reducing the amount of sugar you consume, preferably as early as possible in your life. Pregnant women should cut down or even eliminate sugar in their diet to help their baby to get the best possible start in life.
After all, sugar doesn’t just advance the aging process, it’s also a contributing risk to other chronic diseases such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer and dementia.
Even if you’re older, it certainly isn’t too late to stop eating sugar but unfortunately, it’s often easier said than done to cut sugar out of your diet completely. Sugar hides in many places in today’s foodstuffs, so reading labels is very important if you’re serious about cutting it out of your life.
How Can I Eat Less Sugar?
Experts recommend that the best place to start is to stop drinking sugary beverages. Drink coffee or tea (without added sugar) or water instead of sodas. Avoid fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks and carbonated beverages as all contain large amounts of sugar.
Next, read every label on the food you buy, especially when purchasing processed food. Around 80% of all processed food items contain some sugar.
To complicate matters further, sugar may not be an easy to spot ingredient. It comes under around 50 different names including maldextrose, fructose and corn syrup. This means you need to pay close attention when doing your weekly grocery shop.
Finally, give up eating desserts altogether, or if you simply must indulge your sweet tooth, switch to healthier options like fruit or yogurt instead of cakes, cookies and donuts.
Looking Younger And Feeling Healthier
Once you’ve eliminated sugar from your diet, you should find that you effectively slow down the aging process. Your skin will also look healthier and smoother, with fewer breakouts since these are also connected with excess sugar in the diet.
As an added bonus, you’ll also feel healthier overall and you’ll be less at risk of serious health problems such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
It’s clear that getting rid of sugar from your daily diet will do wonders, not only for your complexion, but also for your overall well-being.