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Did you know that blood sugar can speed up the process of ageing?

We know that sugar is an important fuel, it is glucose that changes into energy. Unfortunately, sugar can also cause a lot of damage. Breaking down of proteins, cells and even DNA by sugar is called glycation.

What actually happens in our system when overdosing on sugar? Well, it is not only about spiking blood sugar level. The bad boy sugar molecule binds to our vital proteins like collagen, making it brittle and harder and as a result skin starts sagging and joints stiffening.

junk food junkies

You don't have to be on binge eating marathon to cause havoc in your body. It takes few "cheeky" meals to speed up the process of ageing due to glycation.

On this occasion, I would like to mention the era of Fat Free Food or Fat Free Diet. Many of us eagerly tried to shed off few pounds here and there. Can you remember how did you get around it? What were your food choices whilst shopping for groceries?

Low Fat vs. High Glycemic

Low fat diets are a trickster! Yes, products with 0% fat will be higher in carbs to makes sure it does not lack on taste therefore, it will be higher glycemic that causes sugar spike in our blood stream. Also, despite fast weight loss, our body will not be provided with vital nutrition from low fat diets. We need Essential Fatty Acids like Omega3 found in avocados, walnuts or flaxseed to provide our cells with healthy fuel.

During my career as a therapist, on many occasions I have seen clients in their mid twenties with skin loss elasticity due to glycation, high sugar intake and poor diet choices. It is saddening to see such skin conditions that could be easily prevented just by tweaking food choices.

What happens inside our skin during glycation is the linking of proteins. Sugar molecules get stuck onto proteins like collagen or elastin binding them together, restricting from moving which leads to skin ageing.

But, of course our skin is very clever, smarter than we can think of. When protein linking is happening, the signal is being sent to immune system, which then sends army of protecting macrophages to engulf sugar molecules and get rid of through kidneys.

Most of the time this process of extracting waste puts a lot of stress on our organs which also causes faster, premature skin ageing. Also, how many has perfectly working immune system to protect us, in particular skin, our largest organ?

Diagnosis of glycation

It is not difficult to spot glycation. At first we look at the eye area checking elasticity and skin resilience as well as its structure.

Skin sagging, creating folds, vertical lines around eyes is a first sign on glycation.

To prevent this skin condition, we really should think from within.

Starting with good fatty acids diet, avoiding "empty calorie" foods like biscuits, cakes, ice-creams. Supplement with good quality supplements and not forgetting freshly prepared food, packed with vitamins and antioxidants at least twice a day.

I would not be myself if I have not mention broad-spectrum SPF protection. Creams preventing skin from UVR damage that, leads to premature ageing are a must all year round. No matter the weather.

Aggie Singh

at Silesiana Cleethorpes