Sugar and Your Skin


We’ve all heard about the health risks associated with sugar, but if like me, you find hard to kick this habit, you never really give it much consideration. I was recently reading a magazine article on how bad sugar can be for your skin. I was shocked at the amount of damage alone sugar can wreak on your skin. I knew it played a part in bad skin, but apparently I didn’t know the half of it!

Besides potentially giving you a catalogue of skin ailments, consuming too much sugar puts you at the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

So How Can Sugar Adversely Affect Your Skin?

  • Inflammation

Sugar causes a spike in blood sugar levels causing them to surge and then plummet rapidly. This then leads to the sugar content in your system irritating your blood vessels, which in turn leads to inflammation. Inevitably, this causes damage to the skin, which can appear puffy, red, very oily or dry. Any sign of inflammation can lead to break outs. So if you are prone to acne, you may want to cut right back on refined sugars including both white and brown sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup. All of the above bar white and brown sugar came as a shock to me, because I thought I was being good by cutting out sugar and sticking with these substitutes!

Experts urge you to stock up on foods rich in fibre, protein and healthy fats to guard against a sharp drop in sugar levels.

  • Furthermore, high blood sugar levels can also accelerate the signs of aging by clotting collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, obstructing the normal skin renewal process. Sugar is believed to attack the healthy, supple collagen responsible for keeping your skin wrinkle free. This subsequently leads to dehydrated and dull skin. Your skin becomes depleted of collagen, and when this happens, wrinkles form.
  • Free radicals cause inflammation and disease in your body. Studies have shown a diet rich in sugar to lead to free radicals in your body. To fight free radicals, you need to have a diet rich in antioxidants like fruit and vegetables, in place of sugary snacks and other food items.
  • Sugar can lead to skin rashes as well as yeast imbalances, which are often accompanied by inflammation and redness. Try cutting right back on sugar, and chances are you’ll soon see a marked improvement to your skin health!
  • Sugar is known to draining your skin of all moisture by sucking the water out of your cells. This can lead to dry skin, puffiness and the dreaded dark under eye circles that a lot of women suffer with.
  • Too much sugar plays havoc with your digestive system, and is usually part of the reason behind cramps and excessive gas. Sugar inflames the gut, ferments and isn’t digested properly to contribute anything in terms of nutrients, other than glucose to your body! Cutting sugar out of your diet will lead to better digestion, less cravings and much better skin.

As stated before, you can help your skin health by including lower glycemic-index foods in your diet. This will lead to clearer and more supple skin. Avoid all foods that cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels such as sweets, sodas, white bread, alcohol, and products made with high fructose corn syrup. Foods such as quality protein foods, reduced-fat dairy products, beans and lentils, and 100% whole-grain versions of bread and pasta will release energy into your body a lot slower and over time without the risk of inflammation and skin irritation.

All these facts have given me food for thought, pun not intended. I realise I could do with cutting right back, but really struggle with not including sugar in my diet! I also crave smooth, glowing and healthy skin, so this is a classic ‘catch 22’ situation for me.

Do you eat a lot of sugary food in your diet? How easy do you find it to cut back on your sugar intake?

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