You have probably seen all the fuss about refined sugar and thought, surely it can’t be that bad for us, who doesn’t love a sweet treat? I used to have such a sweet tooth, Willy Wonka had nothing on me! But I learnt that sugar is responsible for an altogether more hidden and damaging consequence for us; it’s responsible for destroying collagen, the protein and building blocks of our skin.
Why is Refined Sugar bad for your skin?
I wasn’t going to cut down on my chocolate for no reason, so I thought I’d better start investigating.
For millions of years glucose was delivered to the body in complex packages known as starch or what we now call complex carbohydrates. Things like fruits, vegetables and grains were available sources for our ancient ancestors. The taste receptors on their tongues were very highly tuned to detect the sweetness as this was needed for life saving energy.
Our taste buds haven’t changed much and we still crave and seek out that sweet taste. However we now create sugar from either cane or beet, the original starches, which gives our taste buds instant gratification and this is where the problem lies.
This refined sugar increases glucose levels in the blood so quickly that the body works hard to produce enough insulin to process it. Meanwhile the glucose in your bloodstream attaches itself to proteins to form harmful new molecules that damage the collagen and elastin in your skin. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging!
Don’t just take my word for it, look at the hundreds of articles on-line about people who have cut down or given up refined sugar and seen amazing results in their skin! Our body creates new collagen everyday but as we become older this renewal process slows down, unfortunately the damage doesn’t unless we take steps.
How to cut down
Sugar is found naturally in many things but we are only concerned about the refined sugars like sucrose and glucose. Food labels like the traffic light system can be misleading. It is only added sugars we are interested in not total sugars as some may come from complex carbohydrates. I use my common sense, just read the ingredients and you will soon see where there is added sugar. Apart from the obvious sweets, cakes, chocolate look out for breakfast cereals and ready meals which can be packed with it.
Once I had this knowledge, I tried to think of sugar as a poison and something that was ageing my skin. I admit it’s really hard when someone is dangling a large cupcake in your face. Once you are in this mind set though it’s surprising how you come to feel guilty when you have a moment of weakness and so it happens less.
UK TV presenter Davina McCall has been a real trailblazer in this area, coming up with alternative sweet treats that replace the refined sugar-they are delicious! Check out her amazing sugar free recipes. I think you’ll agree she looks amazing.
When it comes to weight gain you will hear people reach for the cake and say, I will diet next month, but of course weight gain can be reversed. Long term skin damage is much harder to reverse. I’m no saint and enjoy the occasional treat but even by cutting back you will notice a difference to your skin tone.
Slowing down the destruction of collagen as we age has great benefits but we also need to speed up its renewal.
Find out how right here How Old is Your Skin-A Simple Test.