The bitter truth is that sugar can ruin your skin! While it's been known for a while that sugar won't be doing the waistline or health any favors, the fact sugar affects the skin is less obvious since preventing skin aging is mostly linked to habits such as getting adequate sun protection and moisturizing. However, given the negative effects of sugar on the skin and aging, reducing sugar consumption might be one of the best things you can do for your skin. Here's why:
Sugar causes inflammation
Rapid raises in blood sugar cause changes in the cell's structure, which trigger inflammation throughout the body. The inflammation can exacerbate acne, cause the skin to lose its radiance and even deepen fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to the other types of health problems that inflammation is linked to.
Sugar damages collagen and elastin
When sugar enters the bloodstream it attaches to proteins and forms harmful compounds known as advanced glycation end products or AGEs for short. The more sugar you consume, the more such compounds are formed in the body, which means that the collagen fibers become stiff and inflexible and can lead to the formation of deep wrinkles.
Sugar changes the type of collagen you have
A diet high in sugar can even change the type of collagen you have. There are three types of collagen, depending on how stable they are: the first type of collagen is the weakest, while the third type is the most stable. It seems like the process of glycation turns type three collagen into type one collagen, which speeds up the aging process. The signs of skin damage usually become apparent after the age of 35.
Are all sugars the same?
Commercially processed foods which have added sugars are the main things that should be avoided in order to prevent premature skin aging or limit further skin damage. Foods which contain high fructose corn syrup increase the rate of glycation by 10 times compared to other foods, according to some studies. Foods that have a high glycemic index also contribute to the formation of AGEs. However, the same is not true for fruits. Fruits, which typically have high amounts of sugar, are still a good choice for preventing skin aging. Besides containing a variety of powerful antioxidants, most fruits tend to have a fairly low glycemic index thanks to the fiber they contain.
Also on the list of foods to be avoided in order to minimize skin aging are foods fried on high heat. The process of frying foods at high temperature increases a food's glycemic index and creates other harmful compounds which can facilitate premature skin aging.