What sugar is doing to your face
Sugar is has become nutritional public enemy number one. But quite aside from making you fat, evidence suggests it could also affect the skin. Nutritionist Rick Hay explains what too much could do to your face
When you eat lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white rice, bread and pasta, levels of blood sugar in the body become high and remain so. As a result, sugar molecules permanently bond to proteins, including the collagen in the skin – a process known as glycation. This produces a chemical reaction in the skin, that makes its surface more stiff and inflexible, leading to premature ageing making skin tougher and more wrinkled.
sugar molecules permanently bond to proteins, including the collagen in the skin
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, in which researchers studied the diets of 453 adults living in different countries and found that those who consumed more fish, olive oil and legumes were less prone to wrinkles than those who ate more meat, butter, high fat dairy and sugar.
In particular, processed meat, soft drinks and pastries were associated with more skin wrinkling, while beans, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, nuts, olives, apples and pears were associated with less skin ageing.
Advanced glycation end products or (appropriate acronym of the century) AGEs not only cause protein fibers to become malformed they also contribute to connective tissue damage, chronic inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.
Intrigued by this information I spoke to Ron Cummings, CEO ofAminogenesis skin care who told me that he believed that glycation was even more detrimental to skin health than is oxidation, which we’ve all been talking about for the last decade as skin’s number one health enemy.
Diet and lifestyle choices can affect how quickly the effects of Glycation can be seen on the skin so avoid a high glycemic load diet that’s high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, smoking, processed foods and meats, excess alcohol and foods that have been deep fried.
It’s all about limiting excess sugar intake and reducing both oxidative stress and oxidisation. Try too to stay away from high-fructose corn syrup as studies have shown that when this sweetener significantly increases the rate of glycation – it’s in fizzy drinks and many processed sweets.
The good news is that it that once a protein has been glycated it can be repaired.
You can use a serum that will fight Glycation when applied topically: Age Control is one formula that helps break the chemical bond between the sugar molecule and the protein which allows the protein to recover. This formula uses an extract from the mimosa plant due to its anti-glycation properties.
A Mediterranean Diet that focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein will help to reduce inflammation and provide high levels of the free radical fighting vitamin trio – A C and E. My Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan is another option as this combination of nutrient rich foods and simple exercise routines will help fight the glycation process.
You should drink a cup or two of green tea each day as this is a powerful skin protector that stimulates collagen production and consume more tomatoes as they are high in Lycopene which has an anti-glycation action. Right now, the Healthista team are loving Choi Time’s Sacred Hearts real green tea buds £19.90.
You can increase dietary levels of the amino acid carnosine by consuming more fish, organic cheese and eggs. Carnosine has been shown to protect against the damaging effects of AGEs.
Other foods to consume to help tighten that saggy glycated skin includes avocados, mackerel berries and garlic.