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What are the effects of sugar on skin and aging?

by Emily Linehan on March 06, 2020

Most everyone knows excessive sugar in our diets isn’t great for our health. But… What are the effects of sugar on skin and aging? 

Did you know that sugar directly affects our skin in a negative way and is a major cause of premature aging? It’s true!

Normally, sugar we digest is converted to fuel for our bodies. However, an overabundance of sugar causes an inflammatory response in our skin called Advanced Glycation End (or AGE, for short). 

This inflammation begins when excess sugar molecules attach to the protein in our skin. This attacks our collagen & elastin fibers (the tissue that keeps our skin young & firm) and begins to accelerate the aging process. 

Wrinkles are just the start. You can also expect a loss of radiance and sagging skin. These signs begin to show up around 30 or 35, as the damage from the sun and environmental factors begin to show. 

We can slow down glycation to help reverse and prevent premature aging with some simple dietary changes. 

Make these changes to prevent the effects of sugar on skin and aging: 

  • Eat less (or no) refined sugar.
  • Say no to high-fructose corn syrup. (It speeds up glycation to 10x the rate of simple glucose!)
  • Stick with good carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grains. They produce less glucose and they’re absorbed more slowly, so your body isn’t bombarded with excess sugar.
  • Avoid highly processed food that’s full of refined sugar.
  • Get lots of fiber, especially from raw vegetables. It helps absorb AGEs.

Do your best to minimize the sugar in your diet...  you are sweet enough!

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