Since Ponce de Leon first came to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth we have been obsessed with looking young. Anti-aging products fly out of cosmetic aisles in stores throughout the country. Americans spent two billion dollars in 2015 alone on products that give you that youthful glow. However, no matter how much you put on your skin to keep it young, what you put in your belly is undermining it. I’m talking about sugar. While you probably already know that sun damage is a major contributor to aging skin, what you may not know is that sugar is just as bad.
The 411 on Sugar and Wrinkles
When there is an abundance of sugar in your bloodstream it does a lot of bad things. You probably already know that it causes a devastating insulin spike which leads to deadly health issues including diabetes and obesity. You may even know that it creates a hormonal cascade that causes your skin to produce more oil (we’ll talk about that in next week’s article: Sugar Gives You Acne). What you may not know is that it binds to protein molecules to form a harmful new molecule that destroys your skin. This process of sugar binding to protein is called “Glycation”. The newly formed molecules are called “Advanced Glycation End products”, or “AGEs” for short (talk about an appropriate acronym). AGEs damage other proteins in your body. Most susceptible are collagen and elastin. These are the proteins that keep your skin springy and resilient. Damage them and you have saggy, wrinkled skin.
Your body normally produces enough collagen and elastin when you are younger to ward off these effects. As you age your body stops producing as much and the effects of aging begin to show. Many anti-wrinkle creams contain collagen and elastin in an effort to reintroduce them back into your skin. However, these ingredients are too structurally dense to be absorbed through the skin. Your money is better spent elsewhere, like on healthy food that stimulates collagen and elastin production. If only it was that simple.
Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine!
So, the answer is easy, right? Just stop eating sugar, and start eating healthy food instead. Well, yes! However, there’s one really, really big problem. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine! I wish I was joking, but I’m not. If you’re like me, you laugh with your friends and colleagues about your “sugar addiction” as you reach for another Teddy Graham. The truth of the matter is that it really is no laughing matter. Worst of all, you don’t even need to know about, nor even taste, the sugar you’re eating to get addicted to it. Hidden sugar in things like ketchup, salad dressing, baked beans, pickles, canned soup, and cereals create a dopamine response in the brain that gives you that awkward craving for donuts later. It’s not just limited to high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose (table sugar), either. Simple carbohydrates create the same response.
Sugar Detox Diets
All over the internet you’ll find sugar detox diets that are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, a sugar detox diet isn’t going to work the same as quitting cocaine for three weeks and then slowly introducing it back into your system isn’t going to work. (Seriously, would you ever tell a cocaine addict that they just need to go on a three week cocaine detox diet?!?) If you are really determined about improving your skin, and your health, then you need to start treating your sweet tooth the same as you would a cocaine addiction. That means that in addition to learning how to eat without sugar you’ll need to:
- Accept that you have an addiction.
- Keep sugar out of the house.
- Stay away from places that have sugar and develop strategies for when that is impossible.
- Get rid of sugar addicted friends and spend time with supportive people.
- Find ways to distract yourself when you have cravings. (After about two weeks they’ll become much weaker. Those two weeks are going to suck, though.)
Where Do I Start?
I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be hard. Sugar is everywhere and it’s more addictive than cocaine. Ever since the low-fat craze that started in the 1970s sugar has found its way into a lot of our food, and our expanding waistlines. It’s like trying to avoid the color blue.
Start by learning how to eat without sugar. This is a lifetime habit that you’ll need to follow, not a three week detox. There are many great resources for this, but I would recommend Precision Nutrition.
Then, start making new friends. Show me your five closest friends, and I’ll tell you who you are. Surround yourself with people who have healthy habits. They will help you make healthy choices.
Finally, once you’ve stopped putting unhealthy things in your body, stop putting unhealthy things on your body. Your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on it has an enormous influence on your health. Kaiya Naturals has a full line of skin care products made from natural ingredients that keeps your skin healthy, and looking amazing.
If there is anything that you would like me to talk about feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter @kaiyanaturals, or on Facebook @kaiyanaturals. Also please, please, please share or comment on this article. Seriously, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.