Ditching sugar not only helps your waistline but also the appearance of your skin. Put simply, sugar damages skin. Experts have long suspected a link between nutrition and the health of our skin, but they now know that sugar has a negative effect on your skin’s collagen and elastin. Heard about glycation but not sure what it is? Read on…
A natural process called glycation causes sugar in your bloodstream to attach to proteins which then form harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs for short). The more sugar you eat, the more damaging AGEs you develop. As AGEs accumulate, they damage the proteins around them.
Collagen and Elastin
Collagen and elastin, the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic, are easily damaged by AGEs, causing skin to dry and become brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
Sugar Damages the Type of Collagen You Have
There are different types of collagen and a diet high in sugar affects what type of collagen you have.
The most abundant collagens in the skin are types I, II, and III.
Type 1 is the most fragile and Type III is the most stable and longest lasting. Glycation transforms type III collagen into type I. The skin then starts to look and feel less supple. AGEs also deactivate the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, so you are more vulnerable to sun damage which remains the main cause of aging skin.
People with diabetes, often show signs of skin aging earlier because they can suffer from undetected high blood sugar for years. Depending on how well their disease is treated, diabetics can have up to 50 times the number of AGEs in their skin compared to those who don’t have diabetes.
The good news about sugar-damaged skin is that it is never too late to begin to turn back the clock.
Help prevent new AGEs from forming!
- Sugar Damages Skin, so replace the sweet stuff in your diet with xylitol.
Start kicking the sugar habit by just replacing the sugar that you add to your cup of tea or coffee with Perfect Sweet™ xylitol, a100% natural, sugar free alternative. You can then introduce xylitol into your everyday cooking and baking. It is that easy, it looks and tastes just like sugar with no nasty aftertaste.
- Avoid foods with hidden sugar. Read labels. Many prepared foods contain large amounts of sugar but it’s hidden under aliases—including honey, barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado—on ingredient panels. These are all still sugar!
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup. This type of sweetener, which is made by changing the sugar in cornstarch to fructose (another form of sugar), is believed to produce more AGEs than other types.
- Eat Well. Add a selection of the 12 foods below to your diet and you too can head towards healthier and clearer skin.
As more is learned about how diet affects the body, it’s becoming increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin.
1. Fatty Fish – such as salmon, mackerel and herring are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, necessary to keep skin thick and supple, also helping to reduce inflammation and keep skin moisturized. A good source of high quality protein, vitamin E and zinc.
2. Avocados – contain vitamins E and C, are high in healthy fats all of which are important to maintain healthy skin.
3. Walnuts – are a good source of essential fatty acids that the body cannot make for itself, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium and protein, all of which are nutrients that your skin needs to stay healthy.
4. Sunflower Seeds – are an excellent source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant for the skin. They also contain linoleic acid, a type of fat which helps your skin from thinning and helps keep it flexible and moisturized
5. Sweet Potatoes – are an excellent source of beta-carotene which converts into Vitamin A in the body. This acts as a natural sunblock and protects the skin from sun damage.
6. Red or Yellow Bell Peppers – contain plenty of beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which are important antioxidants for the skin. Vitamin C is also needed to create the structural protein, collagen, that keeps skin strong.
7. Broccoli – is a good source of vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, it also contains lutein, which protects the skin from oxidative damage, that can cause skin to become dry and wrinkled and sulforaphane, which may help prevent skin cancer and protect the skin from sunburn.
8. Tomatoes – are a good source of vitamin C and all of the major carotenoids, most importantly lycopene. Protecting the skin from sun damage and helping to prevent wrinkling. Carotenoids need fat to be absorbed, so be sure to eat something like cheese or olive oil with your tomato.
9. Soy – contains plant compounds called isoflavones. Shown to improve wrinkles, collagen, skin elasticity and dryness, as well as protect from UV sun damage.
10. Dark Chocolate – Cacao and cocoa contain antioxidants that may protect the skin against sunburn. It may also improve wrinkles, skin thickness, hydration, blood flow and skin texture.
11. Green Tea – The catechins found in green tea are powerful antioxidants that can protect skin against sun damage and lesen redness of the skin. It may also improve hydration and the thickness and elasticity of the skin.
12. Red Wine – Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, may help slow the aging process of the skin by quenching damaging free radicals.
What you eat does have a marked effect on the health and appearance of your skin. Make sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients to protect your skin, the foods on this list are great options to include into your diet to keep your skin at its best.