Tips to avoid sugar-induced ageing
As discussed in a previous post, glycation (sugar-induced ageing) is a biochemical process of sugar bonding to molecules of protein and fat within our bodies. It is unavoidable biochemical process since some of the vital organs like liver and brain cannot function without appropriate levels of glucose circulating within a body. In dermal nutrition, glycation is addressed due to its damaging molecular bonding mechanism to collagen and elastin, both proteins that are absolutely essential to healthy skin and connective tissue. Glycation is a cause of AGEs also known as Advanced Glycation End Products that result in ‘fibroblastic’ protein breakdown – loss of structure and partial loss of anatomy (sagging of skin muscles and loss of skin tone) as well as partial discoloration and wrinkling.
Clinical Nutritionist, Kamilla Schaffner,
has shared with us tips to limit sugar
and boost antioxidants in your diet.
One can certainly avoid AGEs by dramatically reducing table sugar (white sugar) and all commercial packaged foods that typically contain high levels of inverted sugar or high fructose corn syrup. These are very damaging to collagen and elastin production, as well as to one’s waistline. The next step is to really re-consider the quality of both simple and complex carbohydrates in one’s diet. Indeed, white bread, pasta and rice, commercially produced baked goods can also elevate glucose levels extremely quickly giving an illusion of fullness that overstimulates both pancreas and liver in production of insulin and hepatic enzymes which can be damaging in high amounts. Instead, it is best to opt for low Glycaemic Index carbohydrates that will not convert to pure glucose and elevate the aforementioned biochemical markers too quickly. These ingredients can be oats, quinoa, brown/red or black rice, spelt or sourdough bread, sweet potato, rutabaga. Some people claim that the presence of fat in their diet can be beneficial when eating high GI carbohydrates by a mechanism of slowing down the release of glucose. However, precisely such prolonged ‘lingering’ of glucose molecules in the body can do more damage to collagen and connective tissue than its otherwise low-fat option. High-fat/high-sugar foods keep glucose levels high far too long by a mechanism of slowed gastric emptying. One must remember that continuous consumption of high glucose foods may ultimately result in pancreatic damage and onset of Diabetes.
The best way to offset any AGEs damage due to high glucose diet is to include protein with each meal, which can be any type vegan or animal protein sources: mushrooms, tempeh, tofu, seaweed, almonds, seitan are fantastic sources of protein for vegans. For the rest, any lean types of high-quality protein like eggs, yoghurt, turkey, seafood, fish and lean cuts of red meat can regulate a steady release of glucose throughout the day without causing spikes and dips in blood sugar levels and ultimately energy. This mechanism also beautifully preserves protein within the body: skin connective tissue fibres are supported to by high-quality proteins, it is a case of treating like with like.
Finally, a high antioxidant status is imperative in order to prevent and reverse the AGEs damage. Your diet must be very high in foods with a high content of Vitamin C (all citrus, green apples, parsley, bell peppers, kiwi, all berries), Vitamin E (almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts), as well as high ORAC phytonutrients (garlic, onions, seaweed, green tea) to ensure that the cells targeted by excess glucose molecules can combat and regenerate themselves. If you are a self-proclaimed sugar junky and cannot imagine life without your daily sugar ‘fix’, then the best form of sugar should come from fructose (most water-laden fruits). If eating fruit alone makes you very hungry very quickly, then combine it with small amounts of essential fats (a small handful of almonds, a small piece of cheese or a pot of plain yoghurt) or sprinkle your fruits with cinnamon liberally which will help regulate sugar craving impulses.
To find out more about the glycation process, read our blog post.
To fight sugar-induced ageing using skincare, discover our Serum A-Glyca.