5
Oct
2014

How sugar is impacting your skin health

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I will divide this article in two parts, the first talking about how some types of sugars are bad for your skin and how they are depleting your body from good nutrients, while the second part will talk about the importance of good sources of sugar in your diet. You have probably heard that sugar is bad for your waistline, but what about your skin? There is so much mixed information out there that it is difficult to make a good decision about what is healthy, which types of sweeteners to use, how much fruit you should eat and whether honey is allowed or not .

How sugar is impacting your skin health

 

PART 1

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Why Is Sugar Bad For Your Skin?

 

First of all, let’s clarify which sugars are bad for your skin. Processed sugars such as white sugar, refined flours, bleached flours, simple carbohydrates, soda, basically foods that are high on the glycemic index will be converted into glucose by your body very fast.  This will cause your insulin levels to spike. Over time, if this process happens a lot, inflammation will be caused and the body won’t be able to cope with it for too long before symptoms start appearing. Why is this bad for the skin? Very simple: inflammation.

Inflammation produces enzymes that do break down the collagen and elastin in your skin. Sugar attaches itself to proteins and also to the collagen in the skin and can be the cause of multiple skin issues such as irritation, acne or rosacea. In the long run this will result in wrinkles, sagging skin and the aging process will be accelerated resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles.

 

What Types of Sugar You should Avoid for Good Skin Health?

 

Simple carbohydrates and foods that are pro-inflammatory can be your skin’s enemy, since they rapidly break down into glucose and result in insulin spikes. Similarly, a high sugar diet will deplete the body in the long run from vital minerals and vitamins and this will be affecting the skin. Not only acne and dermatitis are signs of poor intestinal health. Cellulite, dry skin, dark patches on arms or creases of skin and more are also symptoms that could be related to diets high in sugar. Try and avoid foods such: white bread, candy, fried food, ice cream, fruit juice, pasta, ketchup, cream cheese, jam, pizza, sugar (white and brown), packaged snacks and sodas. We are all human and want to have a treat once in a while and that is perfectly fine if your body is very healthy but it is better to be cautious about the treats you choose. If the body is under stress and suffers from inflammation it will actually give signs that something is wrong in your diet through your skin (it does not mean that if you skin is perfect, there might be nothing wrong elsewhere).

 

PART 2

 

honey

 

Why your body needs sugar

 

In order to heal specific conditions many try low carbohydrate diets and eliminate almost all forms of sugars, whether these are bad types or good types of sugars. I tried eliminating all types of sugars as well and boy I was wrong. I put more stress on my body. I felt more exhausted, my energy levels were up and down, I was more moody and my body was not really happy overall. I thought I was doing something beneficial but I was quite doing the opposite. I did not listen to my body’s signs and I lost a lot of weight. It was not the right thing to do since I was quite underweight to begin with.

When I actually decided to listen to my body and I researched more about why our bodies need sugar, I understood that this is the main food for our cells. If we do not nourish our cells with high quality “food” (aka good sugar) we will stress our bodies. In the short run you may feel energetic but it will not last for a long time. Afterwards, the spike may cause real problems and your sugar balance will be very hard maintained. This can cause diabetes and other diseases as well later on.

Therefore, it is important to eat the right kinds of sugars so that your cells are nourished and as a result your body will be in balance and you will have glowing, healthy skin.

 

What sugars to eat?

 

Look more for complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, brown rice, beans, nuts and vegetables, which are broken down into glucose at a slower rate. Accompany these foods with healthy fats (such as olive oil avocados), and antioxidants (like berries) if you want youthful skin since these help combat inflammation and keep maintain the collagen in your skin.

 

Ripe fruit Ripe fruit is the best since in its composition it comes with fiber as well. The sugars will be broken down along with the fiber which helps the absorption in the bloodstream and it will lower the impact it will have on your sugar levels. Always look for the fruit to be ripe. Otherwise, the starch content will be high, the vitamin and mineral content too low and in the end this unbalance will have the same result on your sugar blood levels: spikes of ups and downs.

 

Natural sugars. Honey, maple syrup, dates, figs, raisins are best since they are natural and unprocessed and they still have the minerals required for the body to break down the sugars. Try to find the least processed kinds and always look for local or organic sources.

 

Unrefined sweeteners. Coconut sugar would be the best one. Stevia might be an option as well, but I recommend eating the actual plant more than the processed version found in most stores. Very processed stevia can actually have quite the same result in the body as white, refined sugar so be aware of your choices.

 

It all comes back to balance. Sugar-free diets will leave your cells depleted of their favorite food, your body weakened and your metabolism stressed. Too much sugar will create insulin resistance and can create a wide variety of skin problems and inflammation which will accelerate the aging process while decreasing collagen. What is your experience with sugar? Did you try quitting sugar before?

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