Foods That Age: Sugars and Sweets
The average American eats a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. According to dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D., author of Feed Your Face, “a diet high in sugar” activates enzymes that “devour healthy collagen,” leaving behind damaged fragments of collagen. When skin’s healthy collagen-making cells run into these fragments, they get confused, shut down and stop making collagen. As a result, the collagen-depleting effect, a process called glycation, is exponential. If collagen is a rubber band that keeps your skin looking firm, then glycation is tying it into knots and rendering it useless.
The end products of glycation (“advanced glycation end products,” typically and appropriately shortened to AGEs), damage skin and other tissues. Among healthy people, the effects of glycation on skin start to show at about age 35 and increase after that, according to a 2001 study in the British Journal of Dermatology.
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