HExcessive sugar consumption is harmful not only to the figure. Studies show that an excess of fast carbohydrates accelerates aging in several ways at once – it destroys collagen and provokes tissue coarsening, leads to an increase in microinflammation and contributes to the disruption of the mechanisms of combating oxidants.
In particular, under the influence of sugar, the body’s protein and fat molecules undergo glycation – provoking not only faster aging of the skin, but also influencing the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. How much sugar can you safely consume per day?
How Sugar Affects Facial Aging?
According to scientists, the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the body accelerates after 35 years. From this age on, the negative effects of sugar on the skin become significantly more noticeable.
Among the key symptoms of premature aging associated with excess sugar in the diet, the following manifestations can be noted2:We finally got an Instagram account!
- Deterioration of the natural complexion, the appearance of age spots
- Deepening of wrinkles above the upper lip
- The appearance of deep wrinkles on the cheeks at the top of the smile
- Sagging skin around the cheekbones
Also, an excess of sugar in the diet leads to disruption of the metabolic processes of the hormone insulin. Insulin increases sodium retention (the main component of table salt) in the kidneys – which increases fluid retention and, in the long term, provokes the development of hypertension and vascular problems.
The recommendations of the World Health Organization regarding the maximum intake of sugar (for people without diabetes) are much stricter than the typical advice of nutritionists – the WHO standards allow only 10% of daily calories in the form of sugar³.
In practice, we are talking about 200-250 kcal – or 50-60 g of sugar. Moreover, it means not only the use of sugar in its pure form, but also in the form of ingredients. For comparison, one glass of cola or fruit juice contains about 20-30 grams of sugar – 50% of the daily value.
Effects on collagen and elastin
Collagen and elastin are the types of proteins most vulnerable to the damaging processes of glycation (and in particular, exposure to excess sugar). However, it is these proteins that keep the skin elastic, responsible for the elasticity of the tissues and maintaining a healthy complexion.
In total, collagen accounts for 25 to 45% of all proteins in the body – it is part of both hair and skin, as well as tissues of internal organs and muscles. Beginning from the age of 25-30, every year the body begins to lose about 1-2% of this substance. By the age of 35, the body lacks about 15%, and by the age of 45 – already 30%
Excess sugar leads to a change in the structure of collagen – it becomes more rigid (turning from type 1 collagen to type 3 collagen). The result is coarsening of the skin and the appearance of wrinkles.
Sun rays and aging
The three key factors of aging are oxidative stress (causing the loss of telomeres at the ends of chromosomes and preventing proper DNA replication), the accumulation of damaged proteins in the body (including in the process of glycation), and damage caused by UV rays.
In the case of facial skin, research shows that ultraviolet rays are responsible for 90% of skin damage leading to premature aging 4 – while using protective products significantly reduces damage.
At the same time, the glycation of proteins caused by the consumption of sugar negatively affects the ability of the skin to restore microburns caused by the sun’s rays – accelerating the aging process.
Sugar and brain function
Excess fast carbohydrates in your daily diet have been linked to learning disabilities, depression, and poor memory. Specifically, eating high doses of sugar reduces the production of a special substance known as brain neurotrophic factor (BDNF) 5 .
Without a sufficient amount of BDNF, the human brain cannot fully form memories – which leads to a slowdown in learning processes. In addition, low BDNF levels reduce the body’s ability to resist insulin resistance, which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Development of dementia
A growing body of research suggests that age-related degenerative diseases (dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) may also be associated with excessive sugar consumption.
The main toxic effect of the end products of glycation is associated with the initiation of the formation of cross-links between the molecules of cellular polymers, which causes internal damage in cells and their death.
Science believes that oxidative stress and increased glycation end products initiate a positive feedback loop where normal age-related changes develop into a pathophysiological cascade 6 .