Few of us don’t mind adding that extra sugar in our cup of coffee and neither do we hesitate in trying out the sugary sweets in parties. Well, clearly we are not among those stay worry about our weight management. But, do you know that sugar is also responsible for wrinkly skin? Experts now all over the world believe that overeating of sugar can make your skin look dull and wrinkled.
Research has revealed that sugar plays a pivotal role in aging your skin through a process called glycation. So this is how it works: When we have sugar molecules in our system, these molecules assail our body’s cells like meteors. This forms advanced glycation end products (aka AGEs), which causes protein fibers to become stiff. This proteins in skin are the most prone to glycation and are the ones responsible to give you a youthful looking skin, and we also know them as collagen and elastin. However, when these proteins hook up with sugar, they not only become discolored but also weak and supple. This weakness and suppleness is then reflected on skin in the form of wrinkles and sagginess.
Let us run through two of the predominant reasons for why sugar makes you look old.
1. Spikes inflammation process
When you over eat sugar or consume high-glycemic foods that rapidly convert into sugar, your body will break down its carbohydrates into glucose, which in return raises insulin levels. When the insulin level rises due to consumption of foods such as white bread, soda, and refined sugar, your body will experience a burst of inflammation.
And, of course, inflammation produces enzymes that further break down collagen and elastin, thereby producing wrinkles and sagginess.
2. Affects collagen type
It is scientifically proven that a high-sugar diet not only damages collagen but also affects the type of collagen you have. We have type I, II, and III collagens of which, type III is the most durable and long-lasting. Unfortunately, the glycation process very easily transforms type III collagen into type I, which is more flimsy. This transformation becomes the number one cause of making the skin look and feel less supple. In addition, it also deactivates our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, which makes our skin more susceptible to skin damage and causing skin aging.
The Good News:
We certainly cannot stop the process of aging and completely eradicate premature signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines that develop on our skin. But, of course, we can slow down the process by employing corrective measures such as the following:
1. Limit sugar intake
Firstly, and quite obviously, limit your intake of sugar in every day foods and drinks. Keep an aim of not consuming more than 100 calories per day and that’s about 6 teaspoons.
2. Avoid processed and packaged foods
The processed and packaged foods have high amounts of sugar in them, which perhaps we are not even aware of. For instance, foods such as salad dressings, readymade soups, condiments, pizza crusts, and spaghetti sauces, all of them have sugar.
3. Wear SPF+35 sunscreen daily
As per the British Journal of Dermatology, more AGE’s occur in a sun-exposed skin than in protected skin. Therefore, protect your skin by wearing the best and most effective sunscreen.
4. Sleep well
Having a good sleep is profoundly significant as when you don’t get enough or good sleep, your body releases stress hormones that mobilizes sugar stores and also causes the insulin to spike.
5. Develop smart cooking skills
How you prepare your food is a vital aspect in controlling the sugar levels of yourself and the ones who eat your cooked food. Remember foods that are prepared in the presence of moisture by boiling, steaming and poaching suit better to the skin as compared to foods that are fried.
Finally, Know sugars well
Lastly, it is imperative to have complete information on sugars. Nutrition education is vital and should be learnt from a very young age. If you look at the packaging of few food products, you will come across words such as lactose, glucose and dextrose. Read more about these words and know what happens in your body when you consume them. Understand any health risks associated with them, if any.
References: 1. Adams R; “Why Sugar is Just as Bad for Your Skin as It Is for Your Waistline”; ‘The Huffington Post’ 2. “The Other Causes of Wrinkles: Sugar”; http://www.skininc.com/skinscience/ingredients/The-Other-Cause-of-Wrinkles-Glycation-217592831.html 3. Olson S; “Sugary Sweets May Cause Sags and Wrinkles; 5 Ways to Cut Sugar out Of Your Diet”; http://www.medicaldaily.com/sugary-sweets-may-cause-sags-and-wrinkles-5-ways-cut-sugar-out-your-diet-247235