The Not So Sweet Side of Sugar

That sweet tooth! Who knew it could get us into so much trouble? When we consume sugar in all its forms – especially the refined type – it attaches itself very quickly to proteins and fats in our bodies. This is called GLYCATION. The really bad news is that sugar has a particular affinity for dermal proteins, the deeper layers of the skin. The by-product of glycation is known as advanced glycation end products (or AGEs) and age us it does, causing stiffening of the connective tissue, inflammation, wrinkles and sagging.

Cross linking in proteins is part of the natural aging process, but if you add poor lifestyle to the mix – smoking, UV exposure, drug use, lack of exercise and poor diet – then you have the perfect storm.


Eliminating all sugars from our diet is not advisable either. Complex carbohydrates supply much needed glucose to fuel cellular activity throughout the body. BUT we can eliminate certain foods to help the skin retain some of its natural youthfulness and tone. These would include refined sugars, white bread and all simple carbohydrates, and the worst culprit of all, high-fructose corn syrup.


Fruit flavored drinks and even crackers often contain very high levels of sugar and so do most processed foods, so scrutinize any pre-packaged products before you put them in your shopping basket.


We can further counteract the damaging effects of glycation by adding the amino acid, CARNOSINE, to our supplement list, GREEN TEA to our fluid intake and other anti-oxidants to our diet, such as vitamins A, B1 and B6, C and E. These are all potent AGE inhibitors.


Checking the glycemic levels of the fruits and vegetables we consume can make a big difference. This information can be found easily on the internet. For example, carrots, corn and potatoes contain a lot of sugar but spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli and cucumbers contain very little. Plus, they are alkaline in nature and help to maintain the pH balance in the gut (refer to my previous post Healthy Skin and the Value of pH Balancing).

So, next time you have a hankering for something sweet, reach for a handful of cherries, berries, an apple, peach or a plum. And if you want to follow the example of our French beauty experts, a piece of dark chocolate.