Lifestyle

The Facts About Sugar And How You Can Ditch It

The Facts About Sugar And How You Can Ditch It

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If you care about your health then you will have heard the claims and seen countless articles and studies about the harm sugar does to your body.  Causing weight gain, diabetes and countless other side effects. But what does it do to the skin and to our teeth?

After researching some of the best articles written by dermatologists and dentists we have got to the bottom of what our favourite treats are doing to our looks.  So you might want to step away from your midday donut whilst reading this.

What Sugar Does To Your Skin

It is possible that your breakouts aren’t hormonal.  We all get the odd spot around the time of our period however sugar can cause your skin to breakout in spots because it increases inflammation.  Our digestive system and our skin work together.  Often the quality of our skin is the biggest clue to their being trouble in our diets.  If we can’t digest something or are having trouble digesting something then there will be consequences.  This can range from dry skin to oily skin or a run of pimples.

We aren’t all affected in the same way though.  Some may find acne gets worse if they have eaten chocolate or foods with a high sugar content.  Whilst others will not have any change at all.  So it’s important not to assume that putting down that chocolate bar will be the cure to your acne.  If blemishes continue, make sure to visit your dermatologist to find an alternate source.  There are many reasons for bad skin.  It’s just that sugar doesn’t help.

The 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), these damage both collagen and elastin, contributing to sagging and wrinkles. AGEs also deactivate natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving the skin more susceptible to sun damage.  So if you have a high sugar diet it is even more important to use a strong SPF to help protect your delicate skin from the sun.  A 2007 study in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that these effects increase at the age of 35 and continue rapidly as you age.  You can use anti-aging products that contain retinoids or over-the-counter retinols like RoC Retinol Correction Sensitive Night Cream which has a milder strength so no redness occurs.  However the best place to start is to cut your sugar content down to purely natural sugars and keep these on the low too.

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Do Artificial Sweeteners Have The Same Effect?

Artificial sugars are just as frowned upon by experts too.  Whilst there has been less research into the effects of artificial sweeteners it is considered that they are even worse than normal sugars.  This is because they are pure chemicals so can cause an awful lot of problems.  Chemicals in the system can cause more breakouts and also bring on cravings for sweet foods.  Recent studies have shown that aspartame may stimulate a craving for carbohydrates and, as we all know, when we crave carbs we don’t always head for the vegetable draw.  This will mean you are taking on more refined and sugary foods which will result in weight gain and even more craving for sugars.

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 are packed with healthy enzymes that are so easy to digest they boost the digestive system.  Avoid fruit juice and dried fruit though as these are very high in sugar.  Drinking a green juice everyday will help boost you to your five a day rule and will give you glowing skin.  The juice will make it easier and faster for your body to digest the antioxidants meaning you get a great skin glow much quicker.

What About Teeth?

Our teeth are really badly affected by sugar.  Saliva turns sugars into acid which break down the enamel on our teeth and lead to tooth decay.  This can end up with gum disease and tooth loss.  Having a good oral routine will help you fight the effects of natural sugars.  Brushing at least twice a day and ensuring you floss is a great start.  Brush after breakfast, not before.  Regular visits to a dentist can be expensive, but finding one who accepts Medicaid will keep the costs down and help you, and your children, fight the signs of sugar and the effect it has on your teeth.

How To Fight Sugar Cravings

It’s important to remember that a little sugar won’t kill you or completely ruin your skin however you should aim to eliminate most of the sugar intake in your diet and definitely  opt for only natural sugars where possible.  But how can you reduce the cravings that we all get, especially when we are just starting out?

Exercise

Regular exercise is an fantastic way to use up excess sugar as fuel.  It also helps to reduce tension, boost your energy level and decrease the need for a sugar lift.  Sugars are carbohydrates so burning them off with a good run or a game of football is going to help your body get rid of them.  Try HIIT exercises to really make the most of your workout.  

Vitamins

If you are deficient in Nutrients then this will make cravings worse.  The more nutrients and vitamins we have in our bodies the less cravings we will get.  There are some nutrients that improve blood sugar control such a magnesium and vitamin B3.  If you consider taking a detox or cleanse then you may find that you increase the vitamin intake whilst eliminating all the sugars from your body.  Gluten and dairy free diet will also help you crave less sugars.  Eventually your body will get used to having zero sugar and your cravings will subside.  

Add substitutes

Raw honey, maple syrup or even Stevia, which is a plant based natural sweetener, can help improve the flavour of certain foods.  You could also use coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to naturally flavour foods and reduce the need to add sweeteners.

Get some sleep!

The more tired we become the more we seem to head to the sweet counter.  If you can get 8 hours sleep every night you will soon feel a difference in the types of food you lust after.  Taking sugar when we are really tired is a big mistake as the sugar crash you will experience will be far worse than the tiredness you first had.  So step away from sweet treats at night, including that hot chocolate.  You could instead try a warm milk and honey if you really have a sweet tooth.  Just go easy on the honey.

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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