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White Death - The sad tale of sugar and skin

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall”…if you like what’s looking back at you, chances are your collagen and elastin are in tip top shape, giving your skin its youthful glow and resilience.  These connective tissues are the “scaffolding” proteins that keep your skin tight and young.  Unfortunately, they are very vulnerable to bad eating habits, especially a high-glycemic index diet, put simply, too much sugar.

We know this based on all the diabetes research done on continuous high blood sugar and its effects on organs and systems throughout the body.

While youth has the resources to repair connective tissue damage, by the time you reach your mid-30s, sugar’s damaging effects accumulate faster than your repair mechanisms can keep up, so you’re no longer ahead of the game.  Next, come the wrinkles, sags and dull appearance of skin subjected to AGE (Advanced Glycation End Products). As AGE forms crosslinks with your skin protein, uneven skin tone, discoloration and the ravages of age become more and more obvious, as time marches on.

 Can you stop the havoc sugar is wreaking on your skin?

 Not completely, but you can slow it down.  Keep it basic – added sugar is a No No. Cakes, cookies, donuts, pie, any sweet desserts are the enemy of your skin as is flour. So, white bread, bagels, biscuits, scones, and refined grain cereals are off your list.

Sugar, by any other name is just as sweet, and just as deadly.

sugar skull and cross bones

Depending on where it comes from and how it’s made, there are many names for the “white death”.  Ingredients ending in “ose” are likely culprits you’ll want to consume sparingly.

  • Glucose - also known as blood sugar is the simple sugar that your body relies on, as its main source of energy.  Another one is dextrose.
  • Fructose – the natural sugar that occurs in honey, veggys and fruit.
  • Lactose – the sugar occurring naturally in milk
  • Sucrose – the chemical name for table sugar
  • Maltose – malt and starch broken down into simple sugar, which is often used in bread, beer and baby food. Yep, baby food, gotta get’em addicted early!
  • HFCS (High fructose corn syrup) – made from corn, it’s the worst of the worst, the most common sweetener in processed foods and beverages. It gets into your cells very rapidly,  causing chaos with your insulin response.

Needless to say, today’s Standard American Diet doesn’t help at all.  Over extended schedules and hyper palatable foods are the perfect storm for a blood sugar roller coaster, and it definitely shows up on your skin.  No wonder the CDC is reporting that more than 1/3 of adults in America have consistently higher than normal blood sugar. That’s very scary!

 Equally terrifying is how many people underestimate their likelihood of developing, or already having, type 2 diabetes.  The percentage is about 72% underestimate. Not very good odds!

glucose gage

The good news is, you can take back control, by retraining your taste buds and managing your blood sugar.  It’s worth it for your health and for your appearance. Adopt these good habits and stick with it.  Your radiant skin is the reward!