To answer my own question posed in the title, yes it does. As I reported in my previous article about sleep and weight, I am doing a detox with a fellow doctor in my office. Back in the April/May time frame I decided to see if I could give up sugar for six weeks (yes…six!) to determine if I would spontaneously blow up. Turns out I didn’t--in fact I felt pretty good, lost some bloat, and my wrinkles improved! Hello, what!? Then my birthday hit in June and I plunged back into eating sugary sweets every day. For the last four weeks I am back to my no sugar routine as part of this detox and once again I haven’t blown up but instead lost more weight and noticed a definite improvement in my skin!
How could this possibly work you ask?
When you eat sugar (or things that break down into sugar such as carbohydrates, alcohol, high sugar vegetables, and fruits), it goes through a process called “glycation” where the sugar attaches to particular proteins that form new harmful molecules known as advanced glycation end products – or AGES. If you eat a lot of sugar then you will produce a lot of AGES. These molecules then damage other proteins in your body, with collagen and elastin in your skin being the most vulnerable. Once these are damaged, you become less elastic and more dried up and wrinkly in your appearance. Remember that your skin is all over so this includes your face, neck, chest, arms, legs and buttock areas!
Additionally, glycation transforms type III collagen (known to be longer lasting and more stable) into type I collagen which is fragile. Glycation also lowers the antioxidants in your body that would normally protect you from AGES making you more susceptible to sun and chemical damage such as smoking.
If you’re looking to lower your sugar in an attempt to feel healthier, lose weight, and preserve your skin then cut out the sugar! See if you can eliminate all sugar from your diet for 30 days. Don’t add it to your coffee, skip desserts, and start reading labels.