The not so "sweet" side to sugar 🍭
Ok, so let's dive right on in and talk about sugar and how it can accelerate ageing...
A little while ago, I was riding my bike whilst listening to a podcast about nutrition and the ageing process and the guest speaker on this podcast was talking about how eating RS (refined sugar) can cause wrinkles and speed up ageing (OMG!) 😳
But considering sugar is an anti-nutrient and contains zero nutrition, I'm not sure why I was so shocked?
I believe that most people want to age gracefully (and slowly) and they will do just about anything to slow this process down (I know I do!)
There are many reasons why we often age rapidly so this will be a guide to help you stay on track with your anti-ageing goals.
- Consuming too much sugar
- You've been or still are a sun-worshipper
- You smoked or smoke cigarettes
- Sitting too much (sitting is the new smoking)
- Your lifestyle lacks exercise
- A diet poor in antioxidants (fruit, veggies & supplements)
- A diet lacking Omega 3s (fish is a good source and so is Acai berry)
- You consume white foods regularly (bread, pasta, rice, pizza etc.)
- You don't get enough sleep
- You have a lot of stress (unmanaged stress)
- Too much coffee & alcohol consumption
- You eat margarine (hydrogenated fats) and vegetable oils
- A diet that consists of lots of fried foods
- Too much processed meats like salami and ham
- Eating burnt (charred) meat frequently
- You still use a microwave (please tell me you don't!)
- Drinking tap water over filtered water 🚰
Many of us can probably tick a few things on the list above (I know that for me my two biggest bad habits are stress [unmanaged] and sitting too much on my computer).
It's just good to be aware of how our habits can be affecting our health (or causing unwanted effects like ageing that has an impact on our appearance and self-esteem).
When we are mindful we can make better choices and if you fall off the wagon (which is what makes us human) then you just get back on and keep making healthier choices. 🍎🥑🧀
So How Does Sugar Age Us?
First up, sugar is an anti-nutrient (opposite of nutrition) and contains absolutely no nutrition whatsoever. Anti-nutrients reduce the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients, which is essentially just like robbing your body of the vital goodness it needs to be a well being!
So when you consume anything that's an anti-nutrient (like refined sugar) just be aware that you are taking a little bit of wellness from your own cup, so the more often you consume RF (refined sugar) the more you are stealing from your health bank!
Sugar ages us from the inside out and this is because it accelerates ageing by shortening your telomeres (a tiny cap at the end of each DNA strand which serve to protect your DNA from damage). 🧬
Now Let's Talk about Collagen
Your skin is made up of both collagen and elastin (these make your skin strong, supple and soft) and as we age we lose a percentage of collagen production each year (about 1% per year after about age 30). That's why it's crucial to take a high quality collagen supplement that is GLYPHOSATE-FREE! (such as Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen).
If you consume refined sugar on the regular or any product containing RS the sugar will cause cross-linking of your skin's collagen which results in skin stiffening and loss of elasticity and plumpness and the more sugar we consume, the more we start to notice...
- Appearance of wrinkles and lines
- More pimples or acne
- Sagging skin of neck, chin and arms
- Dark spots can develop
- Slower wound-healing
Give your skin the chance to be it's best by taking hydrolyzed collagen daily and avoiding refined sugar like the plague!
It's not all that bad though...
Please don't be too bummed because there are some really delicious (and healthy) alternatives to RF such as coconut sugar, date syrup, organic maple syrup, stevia and raw honey. These are fine in moderation and mostly contain some nutrients.
Ahh yes, the old hidden sugar catches many unaware and well-meaning consumers who often believe they are choosing healthy options. It lurks in so many common foods and beverages, it may surprise you?
- Low-fat yoghurt and other low-fat items: sugar has been added to enhance the taste (full-fat natural yoghurt is a better option)
- Store-bought Sauces (BBQ, Tomato and other): sugar is usually the main or one of the main ingredients!
- Fruit Juice (store-bought): store-bought juice often contains loads of refined sugar so better to make your own or even better to eat the whole fruit.
- Pasta/Jar Sauces: again, sugar is added to help enhance the flavour so you'd be better off to make your own with passata, salt, garlic/onion powder and dried or fresh herbs.
- Sports Drinks: if they don't contain refined sugar then they probably contain fake sugars and that's even worse! Best to avoid these and opt for coconut water instead. I recently write an article about sports drinks and how they can cause cancer, you can find that article here.
- Chocolate milk, iced coffee or chai lattes drinks: whether purchased in a store or at a cafe these usually contain a lot of sugar! It may be in the form of a syrup or it may be straight up refined sugar. Think I'll stick to my Matchinga Tea hot or iced with raw honey!
- Packet cereals & store granola: these are touted as health foods and occasionally they are but generally they are not as they contain high amounts of sugar. However, if you make your own at home you can make healthy versions (use raw honey or organic maple syrup to toast your granola or make paleo muesli using seeds, nuts, puffed quinoa, millet and more!)
- Iced Tea: often people choose iced tea over a soft drink (soda) thinking that they are choosing something healthier and with less sugar but unfortunately these drinks often contain heaps of sugar (they are basically just lolly water).
- Protein Bars: these are kind of trendy and again, folks believe they are a healthy way to get protein into their diet but the truth is, protein bars often contain sugar and whey protein which can cause an upset tummy.
- Vitamin Water: this just makes me laugh out LOUD! Just have a fresh veggie juice instead! I guarantee you will be in better shape for it. Or better yet, eat the veggie and gain gut-beneficial fibre to keep your digestion happy :)
- Packet/pre-made Soup: store-bought soup from the supermarket shelf can contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup/AKA the devil in liquid form) but also sucrose, maltose and other syrups. You'd be better off to make a big batch of healthy soup on a Sunday night to set up your week right. Grab my gut-healing (skin-loving) pumpkin soup recipe right here.
- Cereal Bars: like protein bars and packet cereal these aren't generally healthy because they contains lots of sugar. You may as well eat a Mars bar (but don't lol!)
- Tinned Fruit: You only have to taste the syrup from the tin that the fruit has been drowning in to know tinned fruit is a sugary mess!
- Baked Beans/Spaghetti in a can: the sauce that these are swimming in is abundant in sugar so better to make your own baked beans and homemade spaghetti. I have a recipe on our app for Boston beans in the recipes section under 'Break-the-fast' (links below)
- Ice cream: most store-bought ice cream is high in sugar and they often also contain vegetable oil and chemicals.
A lot of these foods are also highly processed and devoid of real nutrition so I guess the best advice I can offer is to be organised? It's really the only way to truly stay on track!
My Healthy Tips
- Meal plan, meal prep and take collagen sachets to work so you never get caught out without a protein hit.
- Take fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, bliss balls to work or travel.
- Drink coconut water or add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water to increase electrolyte intake and replace sports drinks with these.
- Buy full-fat products always!
- Get your antioxidants from fresh fruits & veggies plus Baobab, Matchinga, Acai and ResGrape are fantastic sources of antioxidants!
- Eat more whole fruits/veggies by adding them to your smoothies.
- Ditch chocolate milk, iced coffee and chai for healthy kombucha or make your own iced Matchinga by adding 1/4 tsp Matchinga and 1/2 tsp raw honey to hot water, it's BEYOND delicious and you get a buzz without the coffee jitters.
- Make homemade buckwheat porridge (recipe on our app), homemade granola/muesli or chia puddings for breakfast.
- Create healthy bliss balls (protein balls) and use nuts, seeds, medjool dates, coconut oil, cashews, coconut, cacao, maca and collagen powder (this is only limited by your imagination).
I hope you enjoyed this blog today, I know it was a long one so if you made it to the end I congratulate you! 😉