How Sugar Causes Ageing
We all know that too much sugar in your diet has terrible effects on your health, leading to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
But did you know sugar it is also responsible for accelerating the ageing process?
Excess processed sugar in your diet, even in small amounts can cause dark circles, wrinkles, dehydrate skin and can fast track the ageing process.
Sugar is pretty hard to avoid, it’s in almost everything we eat. Processed foods such as sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, alcohol, pastries, cakes, are normally crammed full of sugar. But sugar is abundant in lots of food including those foods might normally think of as healthier options.
Sugar Issues In The Body
Some of the issues your body is faced with when confronted with excess sugar include:
- Glycation: “When sugar enters your blood stream, it binds to proteins,” Sydney endocrinologist Sophie Chan explains. Elastin and collagen are both proteins and building blocks of the skin. “During glycation, toxic compounds called Advanced Glycation End Products or AGEs are produced.” These can cause wrinkles, sagging, dark circles under eyes and a multitude of complications to your organs and blood stream, and fast-track diabetes.”
- Human Growth Hormone: Human Growth Hormone is injected by celebrities (and body builders) in an attempt to ward off aging (we’re not suggesting you do that), but we need to ensure our naturally occurring levels are high. “We know glucose suppresses the human growth hormone,” says Chan. “When we give people a glucose tolerance test (to measure how their body reacts with sugar) we measure the levels of HGH.” HGH helps regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth, fat metabolism and even heart function, without which you can look and feel older.
- Insulin: Every time you eat sugar, your pancreas produces insulin to counter-act it. If the pancreas is overworked it leads to insulin resistance (the pre-cursor to diabetes, where the pancreas slows significantly and diet and exercise needs to be addressed quickly to avoid diabetes).
- Inflammation: “Inflammation has been associated with a diet high in high GI foods,” explains Kara Landau, a spokeswoman with the Dietitians Association of Australia. Inflammation can lead to broken capillaries, loss of skin elasticity, and breakdown of cells. All of which fast-track aging.
- Immunity: “Eating sugar wont give you a cold,” Chan laughs. “And in fact many people believe in Manuka honey (a sugar) for treating colds. But in people with diabetes, immunity is significantly reduced.”
- Obesity: No-one looks younger when they gain weight. “Research has shown that when we eat sugar we tend not to eat healthy foods, so we deprive our bodies of critical vitamins and minerals.” Vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a youthful, complexion.
- Bone Density: “We know carbonated sugars (such as soft drinks) significantly increase osteoporosis,” Chan adds. Yet another condition that leads to premature aging.
- Alzheimer’s disease: In preliminary studies, researchers at The Fisher Centre in New York have found a link between heightened blood sugar and alzheimer’s.
Foods High In Sugar
- Yogurt and low fat yogurt
- Breakfast cereals
- Fruit juice
- Dried fruit
- Low fat diet foods
- Sauces like Ketchup, BBQ, Salad dressings
- Meat rubs and Marinades
Sugar comes in many disguises, food companies are very clever in how they list sugar in a food’s ingredients list. Hiding the total amount of sugar by listing it under several different names. Even for the most savvy shopper, who likes to read their food labels, can be caught out.
Wrinkles are a part of life as we get older, but most of us want to stay looking as young as possible for as long as possible. So they old saying “we are what we eat” has never been more true.
Excess sugar directly affects your skin by a process called Glycation. Glycation damages Collagen and Elastin (proteins that keep you skin firm) and speeds up ageing,
When we eat a diet high in sugar, glucose reacts with proteins in your body and produces toxic molecules called Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs).
AGEs have been found to have a direct link to the ageing process. Plus Glycation is accelerated when coupled with exposure to sunlight!