We’re all on the hunt for age-defying, flawless skin secrets. Our skin is one of the most unique organs we own and the more we learn about it, the more we understand that many factors can affect its appearance, including product selection, environment, hormones, lifestyle, and diet. On the quest for healthy skin there are many avenues to explore and actions to take, but one easy place to start is eliminating sugar from your diet.
When we consume sugar our bodies process it by converting it to glucose, which acts as fuel when it hits our bloodstream. And when it gets there – bam! Instant sugar rush! At the same time the sugar is giving us renewed energy, it is also attaching itself to the collagen in the skin, causing it to become tough and inflexible. With poor elasticity, skin is unable to bounce back into place and facial movement lines become more visible. In short, sugar can accelerate the signs of aging.
That's not all. Sugar creates inflammation in our bodies, which can affect our joints and/or increase our susceptibility to illness. Inflammation can also manifest itself into rosacea, acne, rashes, or increased pore size.
Just as quickly as sugar can perk us up, a lack of sugar can make us "crash." When our blood stream is void of sugar, it starts craving the energy it once had. The vicious cycle of sugar rush and crash thus begins. Keep up this bad habit and your body might become conditioned to need a donut or pastry to jump start our morning, or need that afternoon soda to make it through the day. Experts say that by balancing and maintaining blood sugar your body will eventually stop craving these skin altering sugars. In fact, once you kick soda, we bet that if you pick up a can you won't be able to get half way through it. Your body won’t be used to the sugar, nor will it need it.
Eliminating sugar is more than just cutting out chocolate, soda, and other desserts. High-glycemic carbohydrates, like pasta, bread, white rice, oatmeal, and potatoes, also quickly break down in our bodies and rapidly increase glucose levels. Even honey, melons, and raisins have a high glycemic index (GI). However, transitioning away from these foods is easier said than done. Here are a few tips and tricks we have used around the Sally B’s kitchen:
- Eat well balanced meals, low in simple carbohydrates, high in greens and moderate amounts of high quality protein. Keeping yourself fueled (and hydrated!) will keep your blood sugar from plummeting and ensure that you don’t go on an “I need sugar” binge.
- Say no to sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, and agave in your hot beverages. Instead try organic stevia, xylitol, erythritol or monkfruit. These are said not to affect blood sugar the way some artificial sweeteners can. There have been some great advances in natural sweeteners of late. One of our favorites is the Swerve brand of sweetener which uses Erythritol.
- Swap the soda, sweet tea, Gatorade, and other sugary juices with sparkling water with a twist of flavor. Fresh lemon, lime or raspberries are great additions.
- Drink one of Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothies every morning. It creates natural, all-day energy and eliminates the afternoon crash. Sally's personal tweak to the recipe reduces the sugar content by adding Swerve as sweetener and only using a handful of berries and lemon. She uses Kale, half a peeled lemon, parsley, cilantro, spinach, celery, ice, Swerve and water. True to its name, drinking this smoothie regularly will help your skin begin to glow.
- Instead of white pasta and bread, switch to brown rice and whole grains. Or better yet, try riced cauliflower. You will be impressed how great it tastes and how versatile it is.
- If you need to splurge on sugar, choose something that is a good source of antioxidants or other vitamins like a sweet potato or dark chocolate.
Kicking the sugar habit is one of the hardest diet changes we have ever made, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. Not only do we feel better physically, but our skin seriously glows; a glow that skin care and makeup products haven't been able replicate. We encourage you to discover this beauty secret for yourself. You will see changes in your skin fairly quickly and we are positive that the your efforts will be worth it!