Sugar....people are quitting it and making movies about it. Its being linked with obesity, chronic disease and mental health. We are programmed to love it, it tastes awesome, but how does it affect your skin?
There are now a number of studies clearly showing that sugar is not good for your skin.
A 2007 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a big improvement in acne when participants switched to a low glycemic (low sugar) diet. While a 2009 review found that regular consumption of foods containing high amounts of sugar increased acne. There is now a clear link between excess sugar intake and acne.
How sugar affects your skin
It seems that high glycemic foods (the sweet, sugary, processed ones) can raise androgens, the hormones that increase sebum production (the oily stuff secreted by your skin). Excess sebum = pimples!
But it tastes so good...
We are genetically programmed to love it in order to survive. Back in caveman days sugar rich foods such as honey were an important energy source. However, unlike today, these high energy foods were pretty rare.
Today we are consuming way too much of it. The World Health Organisation recommends that the average person consume no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar from their entire intake of food and drinks each day. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average Australian is chowing down a whopping 30 teaspoons of sugar a day - more than double!
The good and the bad
Not all sugar is bad.
Whole foods such as fruit and veg contain sugar. But these foods also contain important fibre and nutrients. These foods are the ‘complete package’, they are good for your skin and most people should eat more of them.
It is the refined sugar that is added to processed foods that its the culprit. You probably know the obvious sources such as soft drink, lollies and cakes. But sugar is hidden in many foods that you might not know about such as sauces, cereal, bread, yoghurt and “healthy” snacks.
How to become a sugar detective
So now you are convinced and want to cut down sugar and improve your skin. Sugar has many disguises and can be hard to spot.
Read the label and look for the following terms for hidden sugar -
cane sugar, molasses, agave nectar, brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, caramel, corn syrup, sucrose, fruit juice, glucose, maple syrup, rice syrup, honey, demerara, maltodextrin, diatase, maltose, organic raw sugar, sorghum syrup, cane juice crystals, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, muscovado, icing sugar, ethyl maltol, high fructose corn syrup, dextran, barley malt, confectioners sugar, diastatic malt, crystalline fructose...really? Yes really! Ridiculous isn't it!
Swap processed breakfast cereals for porridge or chia pudding. Sweeten with fresh fruit such as berries and banana.
Swap “health bars” for fresh fruit and nuts - most commercial bars can contain as much as 20-40% sugar
Rehydrate after workouts with good old H2O and give those sports drinks a big miss. Standard sports drinks contain around 5 teaspoons of sugar in every bottle.
Cutting down your sugar intake can be hard but your skin will love you for it!