"Each patient carries his own doctor inside him." Norman Cousins
Sugar is well known for being bad for one's health, but it extends far beyond obesity and diabetes. In fact, it may even devastate your skin health, making you appear much older than your chronological age. Take that in mind when you bite into your next doughnut!
What is sugar?
Sugar is the simplest type of carbohydrate, and it is what activates the sweet-tasting part of the tongue. It manifests itself as glucose, fructose, or lactose. Table sugar is the most common form of sugar, which is a combination of glucose and fructose.
The most abundant sources of sugar in a person's typical diet is soda, fruit juice, ice cream, cookies, and pastries. If you go on a diet to lose weight, you would likely cut these foods out anyway. Even though fruit is rich in skin-enriching vitamins, it should also be limited since most fruits are high in sugar.
Glycation of the skin
With the modern diet saturated with processed sugar, glycation is a real risk, and it affects skin health. Advanced glycation end products may develop if sugar levels get too high and start linking up with protein molecules. These end products will degrade the collagen in the skin, leading to more wrinkles and hindering reparation of damaged skin.
If you live in a sunny climate, it is even worse since glycation also makes you more susceptible to skin damage. The effects are compounding, and a high-sugar diet will become quite apparent in the wrinkles on your face.
High fructose corn syrup is one of the most popular ingredients in refined food, and although producers will not disclose the fact, it can contain some nasty chemicals. Most notably, HFCS will contain traces of mercury, which is not suitable for human consumption.
Mercury, along with some other chemicals used in food refinement, has a host of health issues and that includes affecting your skin. Acute poisoning of the compound can cause inflammation that may lead to rashes and dermatitis, making your skin look not-so-beautiful.
As a more indirect effect of sugar addiction, eating refined sweet products are void of antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin. Natural carbohydrate sources will often be rich in skin-fortifying vitamin A, C, and E without containing the toxins of refined food. Eating a doughnut or cookie will have absolutely no nutritional value, making your fight against wrinkles and acne even more despairing.
It's in the hormones
Food is one of the factors that can change hormone levels in the human body, and sugar is one of the most devastating in that aspect. Much like the highs and lows in energy levels from sugar consumption, your testosterone or estrogen levels have similar patterns. Specifically, insulin spikes from sugar suppress sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is what reduces excess hormones found in the bloodstream.
With your hormones high and probably erratic, you may feel like you are reliving your teenage years. The hormones will stimulate sebum production on your skin and pores, which leads to hormonal acne. This particular form of acne is quite nasty since it may lead to large cysts, papules, nodules, blackheads, and the possibility of scarring.
As if it wasn't so obvious by now, sugar should be avoided as much as possible unless it comes in a fiber-rich package known as fruit. If you keep the refined sugar out of the diet and replace it with fiber and healthy fats, you should easily quash your sugar cravings. Give a low-sugar diet a try, and it won't be long before you see a transformation in your skin.
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INHALE EXHALE SMILE® / LIFESTYLE MEDICINE
This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.