We all know by now, or SHOULD know by now that sugar in excess is bad for you. It causes weight gain, which by itself can lead to health problems like diabetes.
But, did you know that too much sugar in your diet can also lead to premature aging? That’s right. Your diet, or more specifically, our western diet which is high in empty calories and hidden added sugars, can make you look much older than you actually are. By as much as 10 years or more!
It’s a natural process really. It’s known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products – AGE’s for short (how appropriate!). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. “As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains Fredric Brandt, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Miami and New York City and author of 10 Minutes 10 Years. Most vulnerable to damage: collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
One of the BEST THINGS you can do is get rid of the added sugar in your diet! I am starting a 5 day no sugar challenge Monday, Match 6th! It’s free and by joining you’ll get all kinds of good information, plus a supportive community to help you get going. I’ll have recipes, a shopping list, and tips to make it easier for you, all ready to download and start using.
Come Sunday morning, I’m going to start adding people to the group so you can get ready to hit the ground running Monday morning. Join us and take the first step to making your life more healthy!
In the mean time, there are other changes you can make to limit and even reverse this aging process caused by excess sugar. Strangely enough, fruits are the key! I know, I know. YOu’re thinking, “But fruits are full of sugar!”. Well, while they DO have sugar in them, it’s in a natural and balanced amount, and fruits also contain other things like vitamins and anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants are what can help reverse the problem! Fruits like limes, passion fruit, strawberries, and blueberries are all high in anti-glycation anti-oxidants. In fact, researchers have put together a list of the fruits that contain these compounds. You can read the study, and get the list (Table 1 in the study) for yourself here. But remember, just like everything else, it’s all in moderation. A healthy, balanced diet is the key to better health and wellness.
That’s another benefit of taking my 5 day no sugar challenge. While you’ll be retraining your body to do without all the extra sugar, you’ll also be learning more about healthy eating. The recipes alone are well worth joining just to get them! Why not give it a shot and take the challenge!?! Your body will thank you!
To Your Health,
Paul Bond, RN, MSN, FNP-C