We’re all aware that consuming too much sugar can have an array of negative effects on our bodies and wellbeing. But how much does it actually affect our skin?
Ultimately, quite a lot. When you consume sugar, your body’s blood sugar levels are increased as are your insulin levels. This causes inflammation and attacks the healthy collagen in your skin, resulting in increased signs of ageing.
Sugar can be especially damaging to those with sensitive and spot-prone skin, as consumption can also lead to acne, irritation, dehydration and redness.
However – is there a difference between refined and natural sugars?
Where sugar can become complicated is that it can’t be avoided simply by not putting it in your coffee – sugar is contained in many of the everyday foods and drinks we buy, some of which are not so obvious.
As refined sugar has been through a lengthy process, it has been removed of all nutritional goodness, vitamins and minerals.
While the obvious culprits are milk chocolate, biscuits and sweets, prepackaged fruit smoothies and juices, for example, can often contain extremely high amounts of sugar. As can many sauces, cereals, and soups.
Of course, sugar occurs naturally in the abundance of fruits we have access to. But don’t fear, you don’t need to cut these out of your diet!
Naturally occurring sugars in fruit are completely fine to consume, even if you are trying to avoid sugar. Fruit contains much less than the refined sugars found in prepackaged meals and snacks, while offering us vital vitamins and minerals which promote, amongst many other things in our bodies, healthy skin growth and repair.
There are a plethora of natural sweeteners on the market today – from agave syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, stevia and more. No longer do you have to use conventional white refined sugar if you wish to avoid it.
These are all great alternatives to refined sugar and can be used in baking, in hot and cold drinks, and on porridge.
Giving up refined sugar might seem a hefty task, but it is possible to significantly decrease the amount you consume if you focus on natural sugars rather than refined.
Keep your fruit bowl at home stocked up at all times so you always have a supply of your favourite juicy snacks.
Craving something sweet on a workday afternoon? Grab some grapes, a banana, berries or a handful of dates to satisfy your sweet tooth. Even after a few days without refined sugar your sugar levels should revert back to normal.
Keep It Balanced
Don’t worry though if you can’t cope with the idea of living absolutely sugar-free, we don’t blame you! It’s all about working towards a balance, and reducing unnecessary refined sugar where possible. A few squares of high-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more is best) is a great compromise as it actually contains antioxidants – all in moderation of course.
What are your favourite healthy snacks or natural sweeteners? Let us know!