Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Recent reports about FDA proposing that the labels on packaged foods cite the amount of added sugars they contain as a percentage of the recommended daily calorie intake is a good initiative. Added sugars are those not found in foods before they are produced and packaged. Federal officials recommend that Americans limit added sugars to just 10 percent of their daily calories.
Agency officials determined that 50 grams of added sugars should be the upper dietary limit, or daily value, for adults and children aged 4 and older. That means “one 16-ounce soda, and that’s it for added sugars for the day,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.
As skin experts, we at Herbally Radiant advise our customers to reduce sugar intake. A diet high in sugar is a disaster for the face. ‘There is no point in spending lots of money on expensive skin creams if you are eating a diet high in sugar,’ says Dr Aamer Khan, a cosmetic dermatologist who is also medical director of the Harley Street Skin Clinic. 'Yes, you can protect and moisturise your skin from the outside with creams, but you need to feed and stimulate the growth of good strong skin cells from inside too and sugar will sabotage that.’

According to Dr. Ross Perry, a cosmetic physician at Cosmedics Clinic, London, the problem with sugar is that it makes the skin lose the plump, elastic qualities that underlie a youthful appearance. ‘This is due to a process called glycation. Essentially what happens is that sugar attaches itself to any protein in the body and produces harmful molecules called ‘advanced glycation end products’. These reduce the effectiveness of elastin and collagen, proteins in the skin that help maintain its youthful appearance. ‘Normally collagen bulks out the skin and gives it a younger plump look,’ says Dr Perry. ‘Elastin gives the skin recoil so that when you smile or frown your skin goes back to how it was. If you persistently eat a high-sugar diet, then as a result, the collagen and elastin will become more rigid, so it will become easier for wrinkles to form and the skin will lose that youthful plumpness. It also makes it harder for the cells in the skin to repair normal damage.’

A high-sugar diet reduces the quality of the collagen in the skin too. ‘There are different types of collagen, known as I, II and III, and for healthy looking-skin you need the correct blend of all of these,’ says dermatologist Dr Perry. ‘Sugar encourages type III collagen to become type I which is more brittle. Consequently, the skin breaks down and looks thinner and more wrinkly. It also becomes more prone to the damaging effects of the environment and UV rays.’

Aging signs and breakouts: Those suffering from frequent break outs, sugar causes increased inflammation. “Most people don’t realize that skin directly correlates to our digestive system,” says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection. “If we eat something we can’t digest or have trouble digesting, there are consequences.” However, not everyone is affected the same way. “Some people claim their acne gets worse when they have chocolate or sugar and others notice no change,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Co-director of the Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, Washington, D.C.

Long-term effects of consuming sugar include premature aging and scarring. Sugar attaches to proteins in the bloodstream, forming new molecules, called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs), that damage both collagen and elastin, contributing to sagging and wrinkles. AGEs also deactivate natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving the skin more susceptible to sun damage. According to a 2007 study in the British Journal of Dermatology, these effects increase at the age of 35 and continue rapidly as you age.

Do you know that artificial sugars are even worse. Artificial sugars, although less tested, don’t get experts’ approval, either. They are pure chemicals and can cause a lot of problems. Any type of impurities in the system will cause more breakouts. They also bring on the cravings.

While complex carbohydrates like bread and pasta also cause sugar spikes, the simple sugars found in fruits and vegetables are less of a concern. They don’t cause high levels of insulin and instead, they are packed with healthy enzymes that are so easy to digest they boost the digestive system. However, experts do not recommend fruit juice or dried fruit because both are very high in sugar. Herbally Radiant suggests drinking green juice daily for glowing skin. Plus, it’s the easiest and fastest way to digest antioxidants when your skin needs a boost.

Precautions.  Although a little sugar won’t kill you or completely ruin your skin, we do recommend eliminating most of our sugar intake. Here are some easy tips, besides, of course, regular physical work out as a healthy way to use up excess sugar as fuel. (Remember, sugar is a carbohydrate). Exercise also helps reduce the need for a sugar lift.

Good substitutes. Simply adding spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally flavor foods and reduce the craving to add sugar. Experts also recommend a little bit of Stevia (a plant based natural sweetener), raw honey or maple syrup for added sweetness. Good sleep helps. Ever notice that the more tired you are, the more likely you are to grab something sweet? Pack in 7-8 hours of sleep every night to avoid the cravings. Beware of hidden sugars. Even our breads are packed with sugars. Remember that most of the ‘complex’ carbohydrates we consume like bread, bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all. They are usually highly refined and act just like sugars in the body and are to be avoided. Plus all of the following sugars have the same harmful effects on the skin: corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.

So how easy is it to cut sugar from your diet? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as resisting the lure of the biscuit tin, according to skin expert Dr Khan. Any food with a high glycaemic index — which means that it is quickly broken down into sugars by the body — will cause a spike in blood glucose, the same as a sugar ‘fix’. ‘Sugar should be avoided altogether and refined carbohydrates, things like cakes, biscuits and white bread, should be kept to a minimum,’ he says. Instead, stick to lower GI options such as brown rice, pasta and bread. The aim should be to ensure that sugar makes up less than ten per cent of your total diet.

‘How much you can tolerate before glycation occurs depends on your age, metabolism and how much you exercise,’ he says. ‘If you’re an active 25-year-old, your body can tolerate more sugar than if you are a sedentary 45-year-old.’ The good news is if you change your ways and cut down on sugar, you should quickly see benefits. ‘The skin may seem less dry within days,’ says Dr Khan. 

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