We all know that sugar is pretty bad for our body. But I want you to know just how bad it is and the parts of our body it hurts - from the outside in.
Yes, our skin is dramatically affected by all those sodas, cookies and candies we eat.
Why is Sugar Bad for Your Body?
While a few wrinkles might make us cringe when we look in the mirror, there could be more going on inside our body that adds years on a lot faster than you might think – with much thanks to sugar. We all know sugar is bad for us - but I wanted to go through the 3 really big ways that are motivating factors of me to keep the sweet stuff as minimal as possible.
Sugar is in every carbohydrate - so it's unavoidable. But not all carbohydrates are the same, and you should avoid them altogether!
It's the sugar that comes in the form of candy, cookies and so may coffee drinks, juices and sodas that we really need to avoid when possible.
The bottom line is when we eat too much sugar we throw our insulin levels out of whack. Eventually, excessive sugar consumption leads to type-2 diabetes. Even if you’re not afflicted with this form of diabetes, eating too much sugar has a profound effect on how our bodies operates from the inside out. So before you reach for your morning muffin, or evening ice cream, read on...
Sugar Gets in the Way of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a vital, powerful nutrient that, among many other things, helps our skin look great and our immune system strong. Excessive sugar intake inhibits the intake of Vitamin C.
There is a competition of sorts between vitamin C and sugar. Sugar will always try to beat vitamin C to our bodies' cells first. (1) This is a big deal because vitamin C provides antioxidant protection of our cells. So when sugar is putting up a big stop sign, not letting vitamin C in, our cells don't have the added protection they need. This isn't just bad, it's downright harmful.
Cell protection means a lot. After all, our skin is really a mass of cells. Having enough vitamin C in our body at all times not only helps us stay strong against the common cold and other conditions that affect our immune system, but it also helps keep us from looking old.
Sugar Makes Collagen Breakdown
Collagen is everywhere in our body, from our heart to our knees to our cheeks. Collagen is like the scaffolding that holds our body together and gives our body structure.
When we're born and through very early adulthood (about 25 years of age), collagen is in high production. After that, production starts to slow down significantly. To help look and feel as young as possible, we need to hang up to as much collagen as we can get.
Sugar works against collagen, making it breakdown (2). In our skin, for example, one collagen fiber on its own is good. But when sugar gets in the way, it makes two collagen fibers bond, which makes they too fixed to move. Essentially - collagen can't move to fix and repair our skin (or any other part of our body) as well as it could it we didn't let sugar get in the way.
It's also good to know that vitamin C helps to create collagen - at any age. So even if you're well past 25 year of age, getting enough vitamin C in your diet and cutting back on sugar can help boost your body's production of collagen.
If you're thinking of supplementing, I like this Vitamin C and take it every single day!
Sugar Increases Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Good Cholesterol
Sugar has been shown to elevate bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). In fact, a recent study funded by the British Heart Association (3) showed that people living with Type-2 diabetes had high levels of a newly-discovered “ultra bad” cholesterol called MGmin-LDL. This LDL cholesterol is sticker that the garden-variety (already bad) LDL cholesterol. Stickier than regular LDL? That’s not good.
Our liver only has the capacity to "hold" a few hundred calories at a time. These calories get used as energy for our body. When we eat too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar, it forces those extra calories to overflow - getting converted to bad cholesterol.
Here are a few ways you can cut back on sugar intake in your diet today.
Fiber is also a great nutrient to get in our body that has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels. Use my list of 70 Fiber-Filled Foods to give you some direction in getting more fiber in your diet.
If you're really interested in overhauling your diet and shedding a few pounds, order The Belly Burn Plan. You'll be so glad you did.
Do You Need to Cut Back on Sugar?
A lot of foods, good and bad, contain sugar. It's modifying what you eat to consume less sugar, and avoiding foods that are loaded with it in the first place.
- Soda: BAD; Seltzer water with a splash of juice: GOOD
- Super sugary yogurt: BAD; Plain yogurt with a little honey and cinnamon: GOOD
- Pre-packed flavored instant oats: BAD; Old fashioned oats with milk and a handful of berries: GOOD
- A bag of pretzels (yes, even pretzels turn to sugar in our bodies): BAD; A handful of pretzels + a handful of almonds: GOOD
- Plain toast with jam: BAD; Whole grain toast with an egg or your fave nut butter: GOOD
(1) Chen, L., Jia, R., Qiu, C., & Ding, G. (2005). Hyperglycemia Inhibits the Uptake of Dehydroascorbate in Tubular Epithelial Cell. American Journal of Nephrology, 25(5), 459-465. doi:10.1159/000087853
(2) Danby, F. W. (2010). Nutrition and aging skin: Sugar and glycation. Clinics in Dermatology, 28(4), 409-411. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.018
(3)N. Rabbani, L. Godfrey, M. Xue, F. Shaheen, M. Geoffrion, R. Milne, P. J. Thornalley. Glycation of LDL by Methylglyoxal Increases Arterial Atherogenicity: A Possible Contributor to Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetes. Diabetes, 2011; DOI: 10.2337/db11-0085
great article Traci, so important for everyone to understand, especially Americans!