A recent New York Times article alleged that the sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and instead, throw shade on fat.
With the sugar-heart disease connection in the spotlight today, sugar’s effects on the skin is also getting some much-needed attention and fat is getting a bit of a reprieve.
Sugar has always been on the “most-wanted” list when it comes to skin saboteurs. Sugar contributes to chronic inflammation, and that can age our skin more rapidly. Put another way, sugar equals wrinkles.
Here’s the deal: Sugar and high glycemic ingredients, which are also found in refined grains such as pasta and bagels, convert to sugar which causes blood sugar to spike. This in turn raises insulin levels and puts a burden on your body to handle the food you ingested. This leads to an inflammatory response that produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of healthy, youthful and resilient skin. They give young skin its bounce factor.
There’s more: undigested sugar attaches to the collagen in your skin through glycation, forming harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This process can accelerate aging and exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. This is another good reason to minimize your sugar intake, aside from just managing your waistline and cellulite.
Among the worst skin offenders are all of the simple carbohydrates (and there are a lot of these), including candy, fried foods, ice cream, fruit juice, pasta, sugary jams and jellies, pizza, processed foods like packaged snacks, cookies and chips, and sodas. There is also a long list of foods that may contain hidden sugars that you aren’t even aware of, like ketchup and cream cheese.
3 Ways To Save Your Skin
- Go for complex carbohydrates. Switch over to whole grains like brown rice and wheat bread alternatives to their less healthy white rice and bread counterparts. These break down at a slower rate (and won’t cause a blood sugar surge).
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet replete with healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and salmon. Healthy fats keep your skin aglow.
- Choose and use products regularly that contain potent retinoids such as our hero anti-aging products: ZO® Skin Health’s Ossential® Advanced Radical Night Repair and ZO® Medical Retamax Vitamin A Micro Emulsion. Retinoids have been clinically proven to help build new collagen to undo the negative effects of sugar from the inside out.