What’s the most frightening thing about Halloween? No, it’s not ghouls, goblins, and other things that go bump in the night. It’s … SUGAR!!!
Sugar has essentially been around since the dawn of time, and every year it becomes more and more available. It’s everywhere! And you can find it where you least expect it, like in ketchup or even some bottled water products. On Halloween, sugar is even more prominent because of trick or treating. How can you escape its sweet clutches?!
We’re all aware that too much sugar is bad for your teeth and overall health, but what about your skin?
Here’s a frightening tale for everyone this Halloween, the scariest night of the year. Lock your doors and read on as I tell you of the many horrors sugar can bring to your skin ….
1) Sugar-Induced Inflammation
When sugary food is consumed, the body breaks it down to glucose, which causes insulin and blood levels to spike. Cytokines (pro-inflammatory molecules) are then produced, causing inflammation to occur. This study also proves that just one can of regular soda promotes inflammation and insulin resistance.
Consuming sugar-packed foods will definitely haunt you. It’s extremely detrimental to those suffering with acne, eczema, and rosacea because inflammation aggravates these skin conditions and leads to unwanted breakouts and flare-ups.
2) Premature Wrinkles
Did you know that a diet filled with sugary foods could lead to premature skin aging? It does! Sugar essentially attacks collagen and the elastin that support the skin’s attachment to muscles.
Damaged collagen and elastin leads to accelerated skin aging and the appearance of premature wrinkles and sagging skin on one’s facial complexion. Scary!
3) Unwanted Pigmentation
Another danger sugar brings along is that of unwanted skin pigmentation, known as acanthosis nigricans. While this can be triggered by other factors, insulin resistance is the most common cause. By consuming too much sugar, a surplus of insulin is left in the bloodstream, signaling various forms of cell growth.
Skin cells then reproduce at a rapid rate, which results in patches of skin with higher amounts of melanin. These patches are velvety in texture and commonly appear at the nape and other areas such as the armpits, lips, and elbows. Acanthosis nigricans is also a common precursor to diabetes.
The Silver Bullet
The temptation of sugary foods is often hard to decline, and it happens to the best of us. Sometimes, we can feel addicted to these foods and even turn to them when we’re stressed and frustrated. Unfortunately, the only solution to preventing these skin problems and even diseases such as diabetes and cancer is to limit one’s sugar intake.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily sugar intake for women and men are the following:
- Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons (100 calories)
- Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons (150 calories)
To put this into perspective, one 12-oz can of cola has around 39 grams of sugar. One can is already enough to go beyond the daily limit. We need to be mindful of our portions and make sure that we are not consuming more than what we need. The results can be terrifying!
Lucky for us, there are a number of ways to curb sugar cravings, such as:
- Eating fruit because it is a healthy and sweet substitute. We recommend apples and oranges to satisfy a sweet tooth like no other!
- Getting the right amount of sleep to avoid feeling stressed, tired, and tempted to reach out for a sugary snack.
- Having a protein-packed meal. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, even above fat and carbohydrates. This kind of meal fills you up and helps you forget those sweet cravings.
- Drinking a glass of water. Some cravings are a result of dehydration, and a glass of water is all you need to get yourself back on track.
Skin health doesn’t have to be scary. With these tips, you can fight off the sugar monster and be healthier and happier for it!