Why Sugar (Not the Sun) May Be Your Skin's Worst Enemy

February 2015, Xtend-Life Expert

Summary

So we all know that really excessive exposure to the sun and its UV rays causes premature skin aging; but what about overexposure to sugar? Did you know that excess sugar causes just as much damage, if not more? Now, I know for a fact that sugar scrubs make my skin look beautiful and glowing - I make myself a new batch every couple of weeks. But what I am talking about here is the consumption of too much sugar.

So we all know that really excessive exposure to the sun and its UV rays causes premature skin aging; but what about overexposure to sugar? Did you know that excess sugar causes just as much damage, if not more?

Now, I know for a fact that sugar scrubs make my skin look beautiful and glowing - I make myself a new batch every couple of weeks. But what I am talking about here is the consumption of too much sugar.

When digested, sugar triggers a process called glycation. It happens when the sugar we eat - quickly transforms into blood glucose for energy - attaches to proteins, forming harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products, also rather tellingly known as AGEs.

The more sugar we eat, the more AGEs develop.

Proteins and amino acids serve critical functions in our bodies such as cell repair, transport and storage of nutrients and supporting organ health. However they need to be free agents to do their jobs, and when sugar attaches to a protein, this causes the protein to become sticky and bind to other proteins. This in turn affects the functioning of protein in the body.

The proteins that sugar is most attracted to are collagen and elastin - the two protein fibers that keep skin looking firm and elastic, so it bounces back rather than sags.

AGEs not only makes collagen more fragile and less able to keep skin looking good; they also damage the body’s ability to generate antioxidants, leaving skin more vulnerable to further damage. This results in a structural weakness in the skin that leads to wrinkles and fine lines.

Some glycation is normal, of course, but given the amounts of sugar we eat these days - according to Forbes magazine, Americans eat on average 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, almost two and a half times the 9.5 teaspoons per day recommended by the American Heart Association - we are speeding up this aging process without even realising it!

Refined white sugar and the equally problematic corn syrup - both high in fructose - are the biggest culprits because they are processed quickly, causing blood sugar levels to spike. With high blood sugar levels come high levels of AGEs. On the other hand, foods that are broken down slower by the body such as whole grains and fiber-rich fruits lead to lower blood sugar levels, and fewer AGEs.

There is also a compound known as carnosine - a protein building block that is naturally produced in the body - that can neutralize AGEs, acting much in the same way an antioxidant fights a free radical.

Essentially, it may slow the aging process, which is why we include L-Carnosine it in our Total Balance formulas. So the good news is... we can slow this process and care for our skin by firstly, watching what we put into our body.

How much sugar are you and your family eating each day? Have a close look into your pantry and fridge – let’s face off against this sweet enemy together.

In good health.

Reference:

  1. http://www.prevention.com/beauty/beauty/how-sugar-ages-your-skin
  2. http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/amino-acids/what-are-amino-acids.html
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18996880
  4. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/08/30/how-much-sugar-are-americans-eating-infographic/
  5. http://www.xtend-life.com/popup/info/Glycation.aspx

8 Comments

  • “Thank u  for   the  info. On  sugar    and  artificial  sweeteners.”

    Xtend-Life Expert - February 23 2015

  • “Hi Katherine,It is great to hear from you! Yes, our Restorative Night Cream is fabulous one of my favourites!  We hope you continue to enjoy our Daily Sugar Allowance blogs.  In good health, Madelynn”

    Customer Relations - February 17 2015

  • “Oh my goodness thats rather enlightening!!! I love the look of the night cream, sounds just what  I need for my tired skin!! Loving the information on My daily sugar allowance, great gentle reminders why its important to read those pesky labels!! ”

    Katherine Ryan - February 16 2015

  • “Hi Lori, Thank you for your question. Artificial sweeteners (while they dont have the same calorie count), do cause glycation, just as sugar does.They are worse than real sugar as even though they dont have the calories, they generate responses in your body that set up the expectation of calories, so they can trigger cravings and make you eat more.This is known as calorie dysregulation; your body loses its ability to calibrate the degree of sweetness in food with the amount of calories you are consuming, which sets you up to overeat.On top of this, there are have been many studies showing the harm that artificial sweeteners cause, including increasing risk of degenerative disease.If you do feel a sugar craving coming on, try some sweet fruit, or a teaspoon of honey.  I occasionally use honey or coconut sugar in my tea, both of which are lower in fructose than regular sugar. Do let me know if you have any further questions. In good health, Madelynn”

    Customer Relations - February 17 2015

  • “Does artificial sweeteners do the same thing?”

    Lori Yarbrough - February 14 2015

  • “Great information!  Thanks1”

    M. King - February 09 2015

  • “Is Stevia as harmful as the other artificial sweeteners?  Also,  how would I calculate the equivalent of 9.5 teaspoons of granulated sugar in other foods, such as juices, fruits, candy, etc..?”

    Jeannette Adams - February 20 2015

  • “Hi  Jeannette, Stevia is different to artificial sweeteners in that it is natural, Stevia is a plant. Artificial sweeteners on the other hand are synthetic and just that artificial. This amazing plant is something like 200 times sweeter than sugar without the calories. Research also shows it may have other associated health benefits in balancing blood sugar levels and blood pressure amongst others. There will be a blog coming soon regarding the use of Stevia in our Zupafoods range so do stay tuned for further information! With regards to the second part of your question. 1 teaspoon of sugar is approximately equivalent to 4 grams of sugar. This means that 9.5 teaspoons gives approximately 38 grams of sugar (9.5 teaspoons x 4 grams). Keep in mind that you want to be taking in no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per day (thats 20 grams). Pay attention to the nutrition panel when buying pre-packaged foods as a guide. It is best to go for foods that contain less than 10g of sugar per 100g. I hope this was helpful. Do let us know if there is anything else we can do to help. Regards, Joanna ”

    Customer Relations - February 25 2015

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