Monday, October 29, 2018

Glycation: How Sugar Causes Aging (And What You Can Do to Stop It)

You probably already know that eating too much sugar can lead to extra pounds and diabetes down the road. But did you know that having a sweet tooth could also cause premature aging? It’s true! Through a process called glycation, excess sugar intake can actually cause wrinkles. Keep reading to learn more about how sugar causes aging, and how you can delay aging by reducing glycation.

Glycation: What Is It? 

Our bodies break down the carbohydrates we eat into sugars which fuel the body. But when we eat too many carbs, the excess sugars react with proteins and fats to create harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation Endproducts, or AGEs.

AGEs damage proteins like collagen and elastin, which are responsible for keeping our skin looking youthful, firm, and smooth. Thus, AGEs’ effects on our skin can include fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, hyperpigmentation, sagging, and dullness. The more sugar you eat, the worse the effects.

The glycation process also accelerates with age. According to the British Journal of Dermatology, glycation increases in the skin after the age of 35 and gets worse as we get older.

Additionally, AGEs can also contribute to health conditions like nerve pain and atherosclerosis.

How to Reduce Glycation to Slow Aging 

Luckily, there’s a lot that we can do to reduce the production of AGEs and slow down the aging process. Just follow these simple lifestyle changes:

Make Healthy Food Choices 

Spikes of blood sugar can release AGEs. High-glycemic index foods like candy, refined carbohydrates (think white bread or pasta), and other sweets can raise blood sugar to dangerous levels.

Swap out these sugary foods for low-glycemic index foods like whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and beans. These foods will not spike your blood sugar, which in turn will decrease the production of skin-aging AGEs.

Eat Smaller Meals More Often 

Another way to maintain your blood sugar at a steady level is to eat more frequently. Try to eat smaller meals every three to four hours rather than three big meals per day. Each meal should include some type of lean protein, a low-glycemic index carbohydrate, and a healthy fat.

Not only will these protect your skin from premature aging, but it will also help you to keep steady energy levels throughout the day. No more crashing after lunch!

Start Strength Training 

Muscles consume glucose as their primary energy source. As we age, we lose muscle mass, which could partly explain why glycation increases with age. Lifting weights regularly will help to counteract the natural loss of muscle mass, and glycation as a result.

Wear Sunscreen 

UV rays can drastically increase the production of AGEs, which is just another reason to avoid the sun! Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s not sunny outside.

Consume More Antioxidants 

Antioxidants – like those found in berries, spinach, green tea, and dark chocolate – can help to protect your skin from the effects of glycation.

You can also double up on your antioxidant intake by applying them topically. Look for moisturizers and serums that contain chamomile, avocado oil, or vitamin E, like Herbacin Night Cream.

Have you tried reducing your sugar intake? Did you see any positive changes in your skin? Let us know in the comments!

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