As children we learn that we shouldn't eat sugar because it rots our teeth. In adulthood we figure out that sugar is a primary cause of weight gain and are told to avoid it. Although it may get the most attention, weight gain is not the only negative effect of eating sugar. Over consumption of sugar leads to a very long list of health problems including insulin resistance, cancer, candida, a compromised immune system, and depletes the body of stored nutrients. The question is whether or not sugar is bad for your skin?
If you hadn't already guessed it, the answer is yes. Sugar is that bad for your skin and probably even worse then you realize. Sugar can be the cause of a vast amount of unwanted problems with your skin. Many of the things that sugar will do to your skin are assumed to be part of the natural aging process but the truth is it may be accelerated by the sugar in your diet.
There are compelling scientific connections between sugar and these embarrassing skin problems:
- edema-related puffiness
- under-eye circles
- sagging skin
- brown spots
- overall accelerated aging
When you ingest sugar or high-glycemic foods (like refined grains or fruit juice) that rapidly convert to sugar, your body breaks it down into glucose, which raises insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates, cause insulin levels to spike, which quickly leads to inflammation. Inflammation in the body will produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin (which is exactly why it leads to wrinkles and sagging skin).
Once digested, sugar attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Glycation increases the effects of aging and can also worsen skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
Eating and drinking sugar regularly will increase your chances of developing insulin resistance which can be the cause of unsightly dark patches on the skin.
Foods to Avoid
If healthy, clear, and youthful skin is what you are after, simple carbohydrates are the foods to avoid. These foods quickly digest into sugar in the body and cause those insulin spikes.
- fruit juice, soda, and other sweetened beverages
- baked goods made with white/refined sugar
- breads and crackers made with refined grains
Healthy Sweet Foods to Enjoy
The desire for a sweet taste is woven into our DNA. There is no reason why we can't satisfy this with healthier options to maintain healthy skin (and overall good health). Simple carbs may be off limits but not all sweet foods are untouchable.
- low-glycemic fruits like berries, apples, and pears
- stevia sweetened dark chocolate – Lily's is my favorite
- honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup (in moderation)
- baked goods made nut flours and healthy sweeteners
- homemade ice cream with coconut milk and healthy sweeteners – like this one
When I share the stories of my own struggles with my skin, I always say that diet is the key ingredient to changing your skin. Eliminating sugar and simple carbs is a huge piece of the puzzle, it's not the whole story, but it's a great place to start the journey.
The second factor to transforming my skin to the place where it is today was totally changing my skin care routine and the products I used on a daily basis. When nothing I could find was working, I started reading books and creating my own concoctions. Years later, and many recipe alterations later, you'll find the solutions I created for my own skin struggles in my pure organic skin care store – click here to try them for yourself.