Sadface. The white stuff tastes so good, why must they keep tellings us reasons not to eat it?
In his book 10 Minutes/10 Years: Your Definitive Guide To A Beautiful And Youthful Appearance, dermatologist Dr Fredric Brandt explains why sugar is enemy Number One.
“In a nutshell, sugar hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen, both key skin proteins. In other words, it actively ages you,” says Dr Brandt, who counts Madonna, Rupert Everett, Cher and Ellen Barkin among his clients.
He believes that by simply reducing your sugar intake, you can turn back the clock by ten years and improve the texture, tone and radiance of your skin.
At blame is a natural process that’s known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or, appropriately, AGEs for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. “As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains Brandt.
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 studies.
Sigh. So it makes us old, expands our waistline, and rots our teeth.
But how do we cut it out of our diets when it seems to be everywhere? It’s not easy to eliminate sugar completely. Even whole grains, fruits, and vegetables turn to glucose — the type of sugar that fuels glycation —when digested. But limiting added sugar can help.
Keep added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories.
Check your food labels for added sugar. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar — but it’s hidden under aliases — including barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado. And don’t even think about adding sugar yourself to things such as tea/coffee/cereals.