By Dr. Jenna Peterson
In short, the answer is yes. I’m not making this up to be a nutrition meanie. Wrinkles, deep lines and sagging skin are a partial by-product of the process known as glycation. Sugar and other high-glycemic carbohydrates (breads, starches, potatoes, baked goods, pastas, desserts, and soda are rapidly converted to glucose in your bloodstream (glycemic spike/sugar rush). This overload can cause a reaction called glycation, in which the excess sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibers, making them weaker and less elastic.
Excess sugar attaches to your collagen fibers, making them weak and stiff, which accelerates aging in your face and your entire body. Glycation occurs when a glucose (sugar) molecule binds to a protein molecule without the influence of enzymes, which are proteins that accelerate the rate of chemical reactions. In scientific terms, we refer to these sugar/protein bonds as AGEs, an appropriate acronym for Advanced Glycosylation End-products. This causes your collagen to lose its strength and flexibility, so the skin becomes less elastic and more vulnerable to sun damage, lines and sagging.
What about artificial sweeteners? Recent studies have shown that not only do artificial sweeteners raise your glycemic index (blood sugar), they do so by disrupting the gut-flora that enables digestion and protects you by providing 70 percent of your overall immune system’s strength.
To protect your health and to slow the acceleration of the aging process, its best to limit if not avoid all forms of refined sugar as well as artificial sweeteners. There are natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables that should be our only source of sugar. These foods are high in nutrients and anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants, which help stabilize blood sugar and promote beautiful skin and a healthy body.
How can I slow or reverse the signs of aging? What you put on your body in terms of skincare can complement your decisions about food choices, I specialize in Cosmetic Acupuncture Skin Treatments, and I use organic, food-grade skincare products loaded with beneficial essential oils. I also do acupressure and acupuncture.