Are we actually reducing our age due to Sugar Consumption? Humans love sugar and we can blame this habit on our ancestors. Many of us have had this feeling to have a piece of chocolate cake or a perfectly glazed doughnut that can give us energy, a feeling of happiness, and make things better around us even when it isn’t especially on a gloomy or miserable day. Sugar can provide an immense amount of energy, improve our mood and thinking skills.
With all these benefits of sugar there are a lot of disadvantages also.
Here are some disadvantages of Sugar Consumption.
- Weight Gain
- Increase the risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Deteriorateddental health
- Risk of cardiovascular disease
- Skin or acne problems
But here we are going to talk about the impact of sugar on a human’s age. Excess sugar intake in our diet even in small quantities can lead to bags under eyes, dark circles, creases on the skin, and then fastening the aging process. Sugar Consumptions harms our skin through a natural process called glycation, a process in which sugar in our bloodstream attaches to protein inside our body to produce harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products(AGEs). For example, if you keep a peeled banana for 1-2 days it will become brown. What happens here is the sugar present in bananas reacts with the protein in it, causing it to turn brown. Similarly, the same thing is happening in our body, the more sugar we eat these AGEs accumulate and damage the protein around them.
Our skin is made up of collagen and elastin which makes our skin soft and flexible.AGEs make our collagen and elastin inflexible, withered and rigid, wiping them out of strength and spring. The effects are seen on our complexion in the form of fine lines, sagging, and wrinkles. Sugar also affects the type of collagen a person has. Our skin contains three types of collagen i.e. Type I, II, III. The stability and flexibility of collagen build with each stage: Type I is the weakest and Type III the strongest. Glycation degrades Type III collagen into Type I, thereby diminishing our skin’s structural strength and stability.
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AGEs also make our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes inactive. Without protection from antioxidants, our skin is more exposed to the free radical damage caused by environmental attackers like pollution, blue light, and UV rays. Free radicals activate oxidative stress that contributes to premature aging of our skin.
How to prevent sugar damage:
- Avoid Sugar filled drinks and desserts: Most of the beverages and desserts a person likes are loaded with sugar. Swapping sweet beverages with green/herbal/fruits teas, detox water with cucumber and mint are always a good option. Similarly swapping sweet desserts with fresh and baked fruits, dates.
- Avoid Sauces: Commonly found sauces in any household like ketchup, barbecue sauce, sweet chili sauce contains high sugar content. So just to flavor our food we can avoid these sauces and instead we can use dried herbs and spices, vinegar, yellow mustard, pesto.
- Increase the water intake: It is Water which is required for the production of collagen and elastin in our body, keeps us hydrated, and can improve its ability to fight the aging effects. Incorporating a lot of water and water-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, tomatoes, and watermelon into your diet will help you to maintain hydration.
- Eat antioxidant-rich food: As mentioned above that AGEs also make our body’s natural antioxidant enzymes inactive, it becomes more important to incorporate foods that are rich in antioxidant like vitamin C(oranges, gooseberry, kiwi, lemon, sweet lime) and vitamin E(green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, olives, avocado, almonds) rich food.
- Eat Whole Food: Whole foods are free of added sugar and other additives commonly found in processed foods. Eating more whole foods will reduce your sugar intake.
- Get enough sleep: A good night’s sleep can mean good and healthy skin because when your sleep is disturbed, your body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol. A good sound sleep will help your body to detoxify and clear up skin.
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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash