Nov. 6, 2014
Deborah Graham Warren

AGE ALERT: Halloween Candy Can Cause Wrinkles

Is this you?

Blog_Age_Alert_1162014It’s “Leftovers Day!” You know, the day after Halloween. That bucket-o-sweetness is just sitting there, staring at you. It almost appears to mock you! “Hey, you’re the one that decided to buy all your favorites,” says the bucket. “Did you really think you were going to get 200 trick-or-treaters?!? Come on, go ahead! It’s Twix, Reese’s and Twizzlers, for cryin’ out loud!”

You start to listen. You can’t resist anymore. You can almost feel that serotonin high before you reach in.  You cave to your craving… thinking, “One can’t hurt.” But you can’t stop at just one. You’ve now unleashed the sugar frenzy within you. All of a sudden, you see 7 or 8 (or more!) empty wrappers, and you wonder, “How did that happen?” If you have a chronic relationship with sugar like this one, guess what?!

Your Sugar Addiction Could be Aging You

Aside from weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, diets that are high in sugar have been linked to migraines, arthritis and heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that we limit our daily consumption of sugar to 7% of our calorie intake (about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.) If that nugget of information doesn’t slow your sugar intake down, think about this…

Year after year, an excessive sugar intake can make your skin become wrinkled and dull due to glycation.

Be Aware of “Age” Molecules

Glycation a natural process in which sugar in the bloodstream binds to proteins, forming new destructive molecules called “advanced glycation end-products” (or AGEs.) AGEs cause skin inflammation that weakens collagen and elastin—those protein fibers we need to keep our skin plump, firm and healthy-looking. The more sugar you consume, the more wrinkle-causing damage.

Adding insult to injury, the more sugar you eat, the higher your tolerance becomes, causing you to crave larger and larger amounts of sugar to achieve the same sugar-induced euphoria. That’s because sugar causes the “feel good chemical,” serotonin, to be released, leading to a high, followed by the familiar lethargic crash. Ugh! Like any addictive substance, this vicious cycle is not easy to break.

How to Stop the Sugar Cravings

  • Subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Donate your candy. Send it to the office. Give it to a shelter. Just send it out of your “cravingsphere.”
  • Go on a sugar detox. Avoid refined sugars, white sugar and corn syrup for a week or so.
  • Know your “hidden” sugars. If the ingredient name ends in “ose” (like fructose and dextrose) chances are it’s a form of S-U-G-A-R. Barley malt, maple syrup, molasses and turbinado are other forms of sugars you’ll find on food labels and prepared foods.
  • Be aware of simple carbs. Pastas, bread and processed foods convert to sugar in your body very quickly—even if their sugar content seems low.
  • Watch what you drink. One 12 oz. can of regular soda contains a whopping 8-10 teaspoons of sugar! (More than the American Heart Association’s recommended daily dosage!) And while juice is packed with antioxidants that help your skin, drink it FRESH (with no added sugars) and in moderation to keep those sugar cravings down.
  • Shop the perimeter. Ever notice the layout at the grocery store? Meats, dairy and fresh produce almost always live along the outside walls, while the cookies, cereals, cans, mixes, and other processed foods take up residence on the many inner aisles.
  • Add healthy fats to curb sugar cravings. Foods high in healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids are not only great for you, they’ll fill you up—and help you fend off sugar cravings. Try adding almond butter, walnuts, soy, salmon and guacamole to your diet. Your skin (and your body) will thank you!

Is Your Skin Sugar-Damaged?

Good news! (After all that, you’re ready for some good news, right?) The truth is that damaged collagen—be it from sugar damage, sun damage, or the process of aging—can be brought back to it’s more youthful self. In addition to breaking your sugar addiction, there are some simple remedies and treatments like Retin-A cream, Fraxel® laser skin resurfacing, Thermage® and Ultherapy® treatments than can actually help the body’s natural resources to rebuild collagen fibers and reduce wrinkles.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with an expert Skin Center provider to find out which treatments might be right for you.

The Skin Center proudly sponsors the American Heart Association.

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