Beauty benefits of cutting down on sugar
Cutting down on sugar can be as beneficial for our skin as it is for our waistlines.
Aside from dehydrating skin and increasing the effects of ageing, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions. Glycation is where sugar in your bloodstream binds to proteins and forms damaging advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs.
But cutting down on sugar doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the sweeter things in life. Here we explain easy ways to reduce sugar in your diet and the benefits it’ll have for your skin.
Replace artificial sweeteners
We as consumers are increasingly shunning sugar and, as a result, supermarket shelves are becoming flooded with artificial sweeteners that promise a calorie-free solution. Research suggests that these alternatives may damage the beneficial bacteria in our gut that are essential for healthy skin.
Low levels of good gut bugs have been linked to a number of inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne and rosacea.
TOP TIP: Instead of reaching for artificial sweeteners, use small amounts of plant syrup, fruit and honey for a touch of sweetness where necessary.
Enjoy low-sugar chocolate
Chocolate has got to be one of the tastiest superfoods going – and it’s great for our skin too. Cocoa beans are packed with fatty acids (including oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid), which nourish and hydrate the skin from within.
Opt for chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70% cocoa solids). This has been shown to increase blood circulation to the upper layers of the skin and help to give us a healthy glow.
TOP TIP: If you struggle with dark chocolate, start at 50 or 60% cocoa solids and gradually work your way up. Your taste-buds will soon adapt.
Ready to give it up altogether?
Giving sugar up altogether can be anti-ageing. A high-sugar diet is bad for our teeth, mood and waistline, but can also damage skin from within.
When blood sugar is too high, sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins through glycation. This process produces AGEs. These damaging molecules encourage premature ageing, damaging the previous collagen and elastin stores that keep skin plump and smooth.
TOP TIP: Rather than throwing all of your spare sugar away, mix with a light oil to create a softening scrub for winter-worn hands.