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(As published on TheTownDish.com, March, 2012)
We have all heard the story...sugar is bad for you!
We receive similar health messages through the wide variety of mediums we enjoy in the modern world: TV, internet, twitter, blogs, magazines, newspapers. In the face of all the evidence pointing to added sugar and health problems such as obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and more, why do we never seem to change our eating habits? If you find cutting back on sugar hard to do, here is an incentive that may work where all others have failed: too much sugar can cause wrinkles and premature aging of your skin.
Surprised? Intrigued? Read on.
In a study published in Clinics in Dermatology in 2010, it was reported that sugar damages the proteins in the skin called collagen and elastin, causing them to become dry and brittle which, in turn, leads to wrinkles and sagging.
How does it work? Through a natural process called glycation. During glycation, the sugar in your bloodstream attaches itself to proteins, forming new molecules that are harmful to the body. These "enemy molecules" are called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs). When AGEs build up, they cause damage to nearby proteins, especially collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body and once damaged, it loses its resilience. The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs build up and consequently, the more damage to your skin.
Unfortunately, that's not the end of the story. High-sugar diets not only damage collagen, they also change the type of collagen you have. We have three abundant types of collagen in our skin: types I, II, and III. Type III is a very stable and long lasting form...the kind we want for young-looking, firm skin. Type I collagen is the fragile kind that is more susceptible to becoming brittle and making the skin look wrinkled. During glycation caused by increased sugar, the resilient type III collagen is turned into the fragile type I collagen, causing the skin to look and feel less supple. Finally, AGEs make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, the main cause of skin aging, by deactivating your body's antioxidant enzymes. Convinced?
Is healthy skin a lost cause? No way! It is never too late to minimize or even reverse the damage caused by too much added sugar. You can use products such as serums and lotions that contain retinoids to help build new collagen, or you can save yourself some money and just start eating healthy. Cut back on the amount of added sugar you eat daily using the simple steps below. Your skin will thank you!
Fun facts about sugar:
Last Updated: 9/7/2012