We tend to sugar coat the negative impacts of sugar focusing instead on the instant gratification of the indulgence. But it’s costing us…GREATLY!
Sugar is one of the leading causes of premature ageing for our skin.
Did you know that blood sugar levels are a strong indicator as to how your skin will age? This is how sugar interacts with our body; Sugar converts to glucose. Glucose is used to fuel the body. Excess sugar molecules do not play nicely with our body’s cells. They latch themselves in a negative and tenacious way to the proteins in our skins structure. This process is known as Glycation.
Healthy, supple skin is rich in the proteins that create our skins’ matrix – Collagen and Elastin. This matrix of protein fibres gives structure, elasticity and strength to our skin keeping it firm and plump. Through the process of Glycation, AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products) are produced through sugar molecules bonding with proteins. The vice like grip from glucose causes protein fibres to lose their elasticity and they become hard and rigid, weakening the matrix and the skins structure. The result? Saggy, thin, wrinkly, sallow skin.
The process of Glycation is not unlike the how we attempt to get the best out of a cut of meat. We age, sear, cook and then rest meat to maximise flavour and seal in moisture. The scientific community refers to this as the Maillard Reaction. This is the exact same chemical process that takes place in our body tissues when we expose them to excess sugars. Glucose slowly “cooks” the tissues to advance the ageing process. And the skin is just the beginning.
Glycobiology is researching the effects of excess sugar on cognition and brain function, organ damage, chronic disease, malaria and all types of cancer. Scary finding. Advice? Avoid most of the aisles containing processed foods at the local supermarket. Sugar comes in the form of simple (bad) and complex (good) carbohydrates, which means foods containing processed grains (flour), cereals and sweeteners should be limited and replaced with good oils and fats, fresh vegetables, legumes, good cheese, eggs, seeds and protein. A diet rich in antioxidants helps combat the stress and damage caused by age.
Antioxidants neutralise the effects of Glycation within the skin. It is not only important to consume foods rich in antioxidants but to ensure these ingredients are in your skincare. Personal and professional skin care products rich in vitamins and the active ingredients are your best defense otherwise it’s the same as consuming empty calories…might feel good (temporarily) but no benefit whatsoever.