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Are Sweets Causing you to AGE?

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piece of cake photo

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of much gratitude!  I have to say this Thanksgiving was a tough one for me for many reasons, including having to resist the multiple desserts that sat before me at Thanksgiving dinner. We all have vices and mine is sweets, especially delicious Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun, Ras Malai, and then other sweets like Tiramisu and Molten Lava Cake!

We all know that a diet high in carbohydrates can cause you to gain weight, but did you know that it can also cause you to AGE?  When I learned that eating desserts could be causing me to AGE, I started looking for healthier options like dark chocolate (at least 72% cacao) and delicious fruits like blueberries and strawberries (which are also high in antioxidants).

So exactly why does this happen?

Studies have shown that consumption of a diet high in simple sugars, such as fructose, increases a natural process known as “glycation”. During glycation, the excess sugars in your bloodstream attach to proteins to form harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products or “AGE” for short.  These AGE molecules damage the important proteins such as collagen, which makes up 75% of your skin and gives it support and structure. This causes the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin to accelerate.

Do you have to quit sugar all together?

Ideally if you can do that, that would be great, but I know all too well how difficult it is to cut down sugar so stick to the 5% rule (unless you are truly addicted to sugar in which case it is best to just eliminate it all together). Try not to consume more than 5% of your calories in sugars so if you eat a 1600 calorie/day diet on average, 5% of that would be 80 calories or 5 teaspoons of sugar. Five teaspoons of sugar is equivalent to 5 packets of sugar or about 8 Hersey Kisses.   The average american consumes 22 tsp/day of sugar which is about 352 calories!  If you are someone who reads labels on foods like I do, then keep in mind that one gm of sugar is equal to four calories.

In addition to cutting down carbohydrates by consuming less sweets, watch out for hidden sugar in things like corn syrup, maple syrup, dried fruit, cereals, fruit juices, salad dressings, and other condiments like ketchup.

How else can you protect your body from the harmful effect caused by AGEs?

You can also protect your collagen from these molecules by eating foods high in antioxidants and also by using products that contain antioxidants.  We carry two wonderful medical grade lines that contain important antioxidants such as green tea, vitamin C and E.

What if you already have signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin?

I would still encourage you to cut down on the amount of sweets using the 5% rule above to prevent further damage. It’s never too late to start eating a healthier diet! And to treat the current signs of aging, I can help you with non-invasive treatments such as Dermal Fillers, Botox, Chemical Peels, Ultherapy and more!

So, the next time you are at a holiday party, remember that you can either enjoy the brief 30 seconds of that chocolate cake while putting yourself at risk for more wrinkles and sagging skin, or grab those delicious vibrant berries, and have beautiful glowing youthful skin for a lifetime!

Life is about choices…what will you choose today for your health and skin?

Don’t let AGEs AGE you!

About the Author:

Dr. Sunanda Chugh is the Founder and Medical Director of Anand Medical Spa and has been practicing in NYC since 2004. She is a graduate of Cornell University and has completed her training at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital/Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Chugh has worked and trained with top Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists in NYC. Her special interest on the effect of the aging process on the face and body inspired her to specialize in Aesthetic Medicine.

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