Are You Addicted to Sugar?

My name is Lisa and I am an addict…A sugar addict. I have the proverbial sweet tooth and like with AA I am engaged in a constant daily battle to fight my addiction. I am in rehab! I will never be cured, I just love the “white stuff”. Sugar is addictive: Your body reacts to it like a drug and craves it constantly. When I embarked in researching this topic for my skin I was absolutely shocked at how much sugar I eat on a regular basis and also the health implications.

So here is an interesting question which I will pose to you the audience. I hope that this will make you sit up in your seats before you say yawn yawn here she goes again another boring talk about skin….

What’s the difference between Oreos and cocaine?

Sugar is the Enemy of Youthful Skin

Not as much as you might think…

A recent study by Connecticut College showed that rats respond to Oreos in much the same way they respond to drugs like cocaine and morphine. Sugar is so addictive it is equivalent to cocaine: Health experts warn we have spent too long worrying about fat rather than sugar. This demonstrates that sugar is highly addictive which the authors say, might apply to us humans as well.

Sugar contains 2 molecules one called fructose and the other glucose. When we separate these out the glucose circulates around our bodies and the fructose goes to our liver which causes problems.
Sugar is the new tobacco, a ticking time-bomb and the elephant in the room.

Sugar is hidden in numerous foods but many of us still believe we don’t eat much. On average most people consume 26 teaspoons of sugar per day, 40 kilos of sugar per year.
Sugar causes inflammation, loss of collagen and free radicals (amongst other things) – all of which are the enemy of youthful, glowing skin.

Sugar can be hard to avoid…. It is everywhere.

Our supermarket aisles are stacked with heavily processed products packed full of sugar! The food companies, knowingly or otherwise, understand that our brains can’t get enough of the white stuff. Did you know a can of coke contains 10gms and Heinz tomato soup contains 4gms of sugar.

Much of this sugar intake is hidden in foods we might see as healthy such as cereals, salad dressings and bread. But it’s precisely because such large quantities of sugar have made their way into everything from sliced bread to fat-free yoghurts that so many of us unknowingly suffer from an out-and-out sugar addiction. The food industry is implicit in this and are our “dealers”. Sugar is so addictive and they know this drives us back time and time again to repurchase in the same way as a heroin addict.

Sugar is toxic and it ages your skin….. How? In two ways
  1. The development of destructive molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (or AGEs).
    Excess sugar in your diet causes glucose molecules to bind to collagen proteins (I.e. the glue that holds skin together) to form AGEs. These sticky brown compounds affect the skin’s elastic fibres resulting in lines and wrinkles.
  2. The higher your sugar intake the more AGE’s you will have. Collagen and elastin are particularly susceptible to damage. Once damaged they can become brittle and inflexible leading to premature wrinkles and lack of tone. So, in short the more sugar you eat, the more AGEs develop.
  3. Sugar also deactivates your skins own anti-oxidants and protective shield leaving us more susceptible to sun damage. Sugar, the deadly villain causes skin inflammation leading to uneven skin tone, red blotchy and irritated complexion.

It’s not just the type of sugar we eat, but the way in which it is prepared that harms our skin. Overlooking or barbecuing food at the high temperatures is not a good idea as it results in excess AGEs developing.

Previously we were all preoccupied with fat intake, now we have gone 360 degrees and sugar is the enemy rather than fat. If you cut sugar out of your diet you will reap the rewards and your skin will thank you for it. You will even look years younger, as reducing sugar intake dramatically improves your skin and vitality.

It’s not easy to remove sugar fully from your diet as many fruits and vegetables are also converted to sugar in our bodies. Limiting your intake is vital for both general health and youthful skin.

Women more than men are particularly vulnerable. It’s that time of the month when many a woman turns to the biscuit tin or the “Ben and Jerry’s” as a source of comfort.

But giving into sugar cravings caused by PMT can not only affect your waistline, but premature ageing and even mood changes.

In summary, the more sugar and refined carbohydrates you consume, the more your collagen and elastin will be attacked and the older your skin.

Sugar is sweet, it’s deadly and it’s seductive. Pull your sweet tooth finally and future proof your skin. Slow down your biological clock by changing the way you eat. Sugar can be more ageing for the skin than a lifetime of lying in the sun. I want to curb my cravings and am off to “sugarholics anonymous”. For beautiful skin, reduce the sweet stuff!

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