Sugar, while being absolutely delicious, is known to cause a number of health problems. Every time you eat your favorite cookies–like these soft butter cookies–you are filling your body with more sugar than is good for your health. Perhaps it’s time to stop eating sugar…?
Skin glycation is the name given to the damage done to your skin by too much sugar. How does sugar damage your skin?
Understanding Sugar Glycation
When you consume sugar, your body turns it into glucose along with all of the other carbohydrates you consume. Too much sugar in your body can lead to the production of certain protein molecules mixed with sugar molecules. These molecules are cross-linked, and these new sugar proteins become something called AGEs (advanced glycation end products).
The problem is that AGEs aren’t recognized by the human body as being healthy or normal. As with anything else your body perceives as a threat, it produces antibodies to fight off or counter the AGEs. The antibodies not only attack the AGEs, but they damage your skin in the process. This is because the AGEs tend to collect in the elastin and collagen in your skin.
What happens is that the antibodies break down the AGEs, but they also break down the collagen and elastin. These two nutrients are needed by your skin in order to stay healthy, fresh, and elastic. Without them, your skin starts to age. As you grow older, your skin can only produce and replace so much collagen and elastin, which is why your skin looks older. The more of these proteins that are eaten away by the AGE-fighting antibodies, the faster your skin ages.
Of course, it’s not just your skin that can suffer from these AGEs. You may find yourself suffering from:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Alzheimer’s disease
All of these problems are caused by too much sugar in your body, which lead to the formation of AGEs.
Preventing AGEs with a Low Sugar Diet
If you want to keep your skin healthy, it’s time to get tough on sugar. You don’t have to get all drastic and eliminate sugar completely, but you should definitely look for ways to reduce your sugar intake. You especially want to focus on the sources of sugar that rapidly turned into glucose, including anything with white sugar, white flour, or high fructose corn syrup.
The best way to prevent AGEs is by reducing the amount of not just sugar in your diet, but also any foods that can cause inflammation. Foods with high doses of chemicals, toxins, artificial ingredients, and preservatives are known to cause swelling in your body’s cells, which can lead to serious damage on the cellular level. To prevent the aging of your skin, it’s time to go on a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet.
You SHOULD eat:
- High quality proteins such as fish, chicken breast, legumes, tofu, and some red meat
- Low GI carbohydrates like fruit, legumes, and potatoes
- Lots and lots of vegetables–particularly high fiber cruciferous vegetables
- Heart smart fats like nuts, avocadoes, coconut, olive oil, seeds, and wild salmon
- Antioxidants in the form of green tea, red wine, and black tea
When you are preparing your food, try to avoid searing or barbequing the meat. You want to cook on low heat to avoid the formation of acrylamide, a chemical that promotes the production of AGEs and increases your risk of glycation.
With these healthy diet tips and a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet, skin glycation and AGEs is one thing you’ll never have to worry about again!