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"Sugar Sag": How Refined Sugar Ages Our Skin

I know, I know, and right before Valentines Day. But the research is clear: too much refined sugar causes wrinkles.

How? Short and sweet, refined sugar from our diet causes a reaction called glycation to happen.

In English: Sugar molecules physically come in and link together the structural pieces (amino acids) in your collagen and elastin, making them more stiff and rigid (picture them bound together by concrete), which basically makes every part of their job harder.

These sugary changes are called Advanced Glycation End Products - poetically shortened to AGEs.

These AGEs build up, aging our skin by:

1. Decreasing its resistance against physical stress, meaning worse recovery from daily wear and tear.

2. Decreasing its wound healing abilities, helping small injuries build up more quickly into visible changes.

3. Messing with our skin’s blood flow (think of this like blocking the highway so our skin cells can’t get the supplies they need).

So what can you do about it?

The best way to calm the impact refined sugar can have on your skin is to moderate your intake, and take your sugar with a side of benefits! Refined sugar in processed food just brings you sugar (and glycation) without a buffer.

Sugar from whole fruits, meanwhile, comes with other goodies like antioxidants, aka the super molecules that help PROTECT our cells and collagen from damage. This is why berries are considered such a superfood: yes, there’s sugar, but they pack such a high antioxidant and nutrient punch that they’re a beneficial addition to a balanced diet, especially dark berries.

If you have a sweet tooth, choosing unprocessed sweeteners over the refined stuff is a great step in the right direction, like adding honey to coffee or tea in the morning, swapping maple syrup for white sugar in recipes, or looking into high quality stevia and monkfruit. Choosing less sweetened, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate over processed chocolate bars or milk chocolate is also a great swap.

“Less sugar, more benefits” is the motto for choosing snacks when your sweet tooth kicks in for graceful aging skin!



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