Excess Sugar and Aging

Excess Sugar and Aging

Blog by Natasha DeCarie, Certified and Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Woman-Eating-Cake-with-Two-HandsThere are many forms of sugar; corn syrup, cane sugar, sucrose, fructose, maltose, and sorbitol just to name a few and they all have one thing in common – they are all addictive.

Sugar might not cause physical addiction, but it does increase the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine regulates feelings of pleasure and is a key chemical involved in the formation of an addiction- this dopamine reaction might be strong enough to cause some of us to eat more sugar and keeps us coming back for more.

It is well documented that excessive sugar intake can be associated with weight gain, increased risk of developing diabetes and skin conditions like acne, but did you know that it can also affect the condition of your skin in terms of aging? Sugar is damaging to the skin since it causes a process known as glycation where excess sugar molecules (glucose) attach themselves to collagen fibers which causes them to lose their strength and flexibility, making them less elastic and more vulnerable to sun damage, lines, and sagging!

If you would like to improve your health as well as slow down aging, it is best to avoid or at the very least reduce all forms of refined sugar as well as artificial sweeteners (which can alter brain chemistry and cause problems such as irritability, depression, mood swings and migraines). There are natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables that can act as our primary source of sugar and have the added benefit of being high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, help stabilize blood sugar, and provide nutrients like vitamin C which promote healthy skin.

Here are some tips for controlling and even breaking the sugar habit:

  • Eat sour or fermented foods that naturally curb cravings for sugar since they contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) which drive out the less desirable bad bacteria that thrive on sugar. Some foods you can try include; yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
  • Try Stevia, an herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe. Stevia is an extraordinarily sweet herb, is 200 – 300 times sweeter than sugar (so a little goes a long way), has no calories and does not cause a spike in your blood sugar.
  • Balance your blood sugar by including protein at each meal, eating every 3-4 hrs. and exercising – even as little as 20 mins a day of walking can help regulate blood sugar and curb appetite. You can win the sugar war, keep your waistline in check, as well as reduce and prevent future damage to your skin– it’s never too late!

 

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/551655 http://www.perriconemd.com/category/the+doctor/dr.+perricone+discusses/sugar+and+aging.do http://bodyecology.com/articles/25_reasons_to_avoid_sugar.php#.UUaHcxzqmSo

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