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Sugar and Your Skin

sugarWe all know sugar can affect heart health and obesity rates but did you know that it can also do a negative number on your skin? Here’s why…

When we eat sugar or high glycemic foods that quickly turn into sugar, the body will break these carbohydrates down into glucose which will raise insulin levels, creating inflammation throughout the body. That inflammation in turn produces enzymes that break down the collagen and elastin causing wrinkles and sagging skin. Sugar can permanently attack collagen in a process known as glycation which can increase the effects of aging. Also the more sugar you eat, the more likely you are to develop insulin resistance, which can cause excess facial hair growth and dark patches on the neck and body creases.

Understanding the glycemic index- the scale which determines how quickly blood sugar levels rise after ingesting particular foods – is key to making the right choices for your skin when it comes to sugar.

Simply put, simple carbohydrates are your skin’s biggest enemy because they create insulin spikes. Foods that are high glycemic or high in saturated fats like, white bread, candy, fried foods, fast foods, ice cream, fruit juice, pasta, pizza, brown and white sugar, packaged snacks and sodas, are all going to create problems.

In an effort to slow down skin aging and keep insulin levels balanced, it is best to look for high quality complex carbohydrates that are broken down into glucose at a slower rate. Foods such as nuts, whole grains, beans and high fiber vegetables can delay sugar absorption and help control blood sugar levels. Healthy fats like olive oil and avocados, lean protein like organic chicken and antioxidants like berries will help keep skin youthful.

Other ways to counteract the effects of sugar on skin include getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, eating frequent, balanced meals and trying to eat some high protein foods every three hours to avoid insulin spikes to keep your body from triggering an inflammatory response. Healthy fats, like omega-3’s, are also important for soft, supple and radiant skin. Supplements that keep your blood sugar in check are also helpful to support your efforts in maintaining great skin.