We all know that sugar is bad for us and leads to weight gain. But, sugar has far worse effects beyond those unwanted pounds. Sugar causes premature aging, which affects everything from our skin to our insides. In fact, eating too much sugar over time can cause long term harmful damage to our bodies including diabetes, chronic illnesses and even cancer.
Here’s 4 ways sugar leads to faster aging of your skin and weakens your immune system by expediting collagen breakdown, increasing inflammation, and more. Once you read these, you’ll know you need to take control and cut back on the sugar. Read on to find out what you can do now to help cut the sugar habit and stop premature aging:
1. Sugar breaks down collagen which leads to wrinkles and saggy skin: Seventy percent of our skin is made of collagen. However, as we get older, we make less collagen and our existing collagen begins to break down. Sugar accelerates this breakdown-there is a direct connection between sugar consumption and the breakdown of skin collagen. When we eat a lot of sugar over an extended period of time, excess glucose in the blood causes attachment of glucose to protein molecules and forms AGEs, advanced glycosylation endproducts. This leads to loss of collagen strength and flexibility, which causes wrinkly, saggy skin and cellulite.
What to do about it: Increase your skin’s collagen by eating more collagen peptides. Daily supplementation with collagen has scientifically been proven to reduce wrinkles, smooth out cellulite, and firm and moisturize skin.
2. Sugar causes inflammation throughout the body: Studies have shown that eating large quantities of easily digestible, high-glucose carbs (sugar) leads to oxidative stress through formation of free radicals, which prompts an inflammatory response throughout the body. Inflammation is the way our body defends against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders. While short term inflammation is a good thing as it can help repair damaged tissues, prolonged inflammation, such as that caused by eating too much sugar, is damaging to our bodies and can lead to a variety of chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
What to do about it: Reduce your daily sugar intake. Not sure what to eat? Here’s an infographic showing what foods have sugars and which don’t. Check out: Sugar Detox - Yes and No Food Guide
3. Sugar can cause cancer: Studies have shown that people who eat high amounts of sugar have a much higher risk of developing many different types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. This is because high sugar intake leads to elevated levels of insulin and unregulated cell multiplication in cancerous tissues. And, the long term chronic inflammation caused by too much sugar also increases our risk for diseases such as cancer.
What to do about it: Reduce your daily sugar intake - sign up for a free 7 day sugar detox challenge!
4. Sugar weakens our immune system: As we get older, our immune system naturally weakens, but sugar consumption can actually accelerate and exacerbate the weakening of our body’s defense mechanism. Sugar has been found to weaken white blood cell activity, making our immune system more vulnerable to attack. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria was decreased by 40% after consumption of large quantities of sugar. Weakened immune systems put us at risk for increased rates of infection and higher cancer rates.
What to do about it: Not only can cutting out sugar out help, but also make sure to load up on a lot of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These foods have lots of antioxidants and phytonutrients which help get rid of harmful free radicals and fortify your immune system to fight against infection and disease. Plus, they provide lots of vitamins and minerals to keep your body functioning properly. This includes leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, berries, and whole grains. Try to eat incorporate at least 5-10 colorful and nutrient packed foods into your daily diet to keep your immune system strong.
Luckily, we can prevent the long term damage to our bodies caused by sugar in two ways. First, reduce your sugar intake, especially all forms of processed sugar. A great way to start is to sign up for a free 7-Day Detox Challenge. In addition to that, start including more collagen in your diet to help firm skin and protect against skin damage - an easy way to do this is with daily collagen peptide proteins like these HERE.