Image: Mathilde Langevin via Unsplash

What Does Eating Excess Sugar Do to the Skin?

Learn more about the process of glycation.

Is sugar damaging our skin from the inside out? Our taste buds adore sugar but what about the rest of our bodies? The average person consumes around 14 teaspoons of white sugar hidden in our food and drink. That’s more than double the recommendation from the World Health Organization, which suggests only six teaspoons a day. How can this delicious white stuff impact our skin and general well-being? Well, research shows it’s not looking good. We did some research to figure out what eating excess sugar does to the skin and how we can prevent the process of glycation from happening. Keep reading for more on the topic of glycation!

sugar causing anxiety
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What Does Eating Excess Sugar Do to the Skin?

A Cause for Glycation

Let’s talk about glycation. Research has shown that glycation is one of the main causes of accelerated skin aging. Glycation is a process where the sugar we ingest attaches itself to other molecules like protein and fats. This forms advanced glycation end products (also known as AGEs). This can cause the molecules to become stiff and malformed. Some of the proteins that are affected by this process are collagen and elastin. These proteins in our skin give us our plump, youthful complexion. When sugar attaches to collagen and elastin, it results in a loss of elasticity in the skin.

According to Isdin, “Glycation is a process caused by excess glucose in skin fibers. This excess triggers an internal reaction in which sugar molecules adhere to the collagen and elastin proteins, which normally help keep skin firm and supple”.

Additionally, glycation causes immense inflammation and free radical damage, accelerating your body and skin aging. As the AGEs molecules damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, it can reduce the skin’s plumpness. Tissues and skin start to sag. This is when wrinkles are formed prematurely, and skin loses its glow and vitality. It sounds all doom and gloom for our skin, but there is so much we can do to combat the attack of glycation on our skin. We’ve listed some of the ways that you can prevent glycation below.

Here’s how you can prevent glycation:

  • Reduce your sugar intake daily: This will greatly decrease the amount of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). A diet containing many whole foods, like fruit and vegetables, has powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from glycation. Foods high in antioxidants, are blueberries, raspberries, kale, and even dark chocolate, are beneficial.
  • Drink more green tea: This wonder tea is a powerhouse regarding anti-aging and longevity. It contains powerful antioxidants that delay the natural breakdown of collagen in your skin plus been proven to disrupt the glycation process.
  • Regular Exercise: The most powerful impact you can have on glycation is diet, but studies have shown that exercise will boost the effectiveness of a low-AGE diet.
  • Start cooking your meals at a lower temperature: These methods can contribute to glycation. Food cooked at higher temperatures for a shorter period produces AGEs than those cooked at a lower temperature for longer. The high temperatures scorch the sugars naturally found in the food and create glycotoxins. Cooking methods like slow cooking, steaming, poaching, or boiling are preferred over barbecuing, sauteing, or toasting methods.
  • Take some longevity-boosting supplements: Vitamin C is an important nutrient and antioxidant vital for natural collagen production. It also plays a protective role against glycation. Zinc is a key mineral in skin health, and there is a lot of research on how it combats the glycation process.

By following some of these tips, you will not only improve general wellness, but your skin will remain healthy and vibrant by keeping glycation at bay. These tips can also help you lead a healthier lifestyle, leading to longer longevity and a bigger health span. What’s on the inside is also on the outside.

Meet Our Expert

Natalie McGrath is a qualified naturopath with nearly 20 years of clinical experience specializing in skin and women’s health. She is the founder of the leading women’s optimal health brand GLOWSO. Today’s modern woman values true radiance and beauty when they are full of vitality & wellness. They understand the importance of beauty that radiates from within.

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