Q5SEC9WW


Avoiding Bad Sugars

At a glance

The sugars which don’t help our body or our skin:

Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient and one of the skin’s (and body’s) worst enemies.

When sugars and starches are consumed in their natural state as part of a meal, they are slowly digested and enter the bloodstream at a moderate rate over a period of hours.

Alphalipoic acid is a potent antioxidant found in spinach, brewer’s yeast, tomato, red meat and liver that helps stop glycation as well as neutralising free radicals in fatty and watery cells.

People suffering from hormonal acne find their skin clears up when they cease eating refined sugars because sustained high blood sugar levels cause disruptions to the endocrine system.

Quinoa is a high-protein grain and is delicious with some organic milk, sheep’s yoghurt and a banana with a smattering of a natural, unrefined sweetener such as maple syrup, raw honey, agave syrup.

When we talk of “bad sugars”, we refer to the sugars that are refined and processed. When sugars and starches are consumed in their natural state as part of a meal, they are slowly digested and enter the bloodstream at a moderate rate over a period of hours. This helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced (which also helps to keep the body both physically and emotionally balanced).

When we consume refined sugars and starches, especially without good fats or proteins, blood sugar levels skyrocket. Sustained high blood sugar levels trigger a harmful process called glycation, whereby amino acids bond to sugar molecules. These abnormal proteins become integrated into the tissues and can do damage to protein collagen. As collagen is the major structural protein of the skin and gives it strength, plumpness and durability, glycation contributes to premature wrinkling of the skin.


As well as moderating (ideally avoiding) consumption of refined sugars, and using healthier alternatives (see list below), alphalipoic acid is a potent antioxidant found in specific foods such as spinach, brewer’s yeast, tomato, red meat and liver that helps stop glycation in its tracks, making it an excellent nutrient to include in your diet. It is touted “the universal antioxidant” because, unlike other antioxidants, it’s both water and fat-soluble. This makes it able to neutralise free radicals in both the fatty and watery regions of the cells.

Sugar’s adverse effect on the skin unfortunately doesn’t stop at glycation. When people suffering from hormonal acne cease eating refined sugars, they often find their skin clears up. This is because sustained high blood sugar levels cause disruptions to the endocrine system, which regulates hormones, including insulin (hence diabetes).


You can eat certain foods and take specific supplements to help curb sugar cravings. Chromium and alphalipoic acid are very effective supplements. For breakfast, eat protein together with a complex carbohydrate and some good oils. This helps slow the sugars released from the carbohydrate; for example, sardines (full of both protein and good oils) on wholegrain toast or eggs on wholegrain toast will help balance your blood sugar levels throughout the day, making it easier to resist naughty snacks.


Or, for something sweet, try quinoa porridge. Quinoa is a high-protein grain and is delicious with some organic milk, sheep’s yoghurt and a banana with a smattering of a natural, unrefined sweetener such as maple syrup, raw honey, agave syrup (a great, low-glycaemic sweetener), stevia or brown rice syrup.


Taking a daily probiotic also helps to keep bad bacteria such as candida at bay, reduce sugar cravings and keep gut health and therefore skin, hair and nail health balanced.

Do you have a sweet teeth? Could you give up or reduce your sugar intake?

Subscribe to Wellbeing Magazine for more great articles like this!