With an ever-growing buzz around sugar, more people are beginning to understand the damaging effects it can have on our health.
As well as various health issues, sugar can be detrimental to our skin. As sugar is inflammatory, this can effectively break down our collagen and elastin which results in premature wrinkles and sagging. The effects of sugar can also exacerbate skin conditions such as acne.
The problem most people face is that sugar can be very difficult to keep track of – it sneaks into your diet in the most unexpected of places! Something as commonplace as your bread and milk can be hosting more sugar than you might expect. In fact, when you’re buying anything other than items from the outside aisles of your supermarket, you are probably purchasing a product laden with sugar.
But how do you avoid something that’s hiding everywhere?
Learn what your labels are telling you
Your best way to take control of what you are consuming is by educating yourself. Learning to understand your food labels will allow you to make better decisions with your food.
Check the ingredient list for anything that includes sugar, syrup, molasses, honey or any word that ends in ‘ose’ such as fructose, glucose or sucrose.
It’s also useful to pay attention to where these ingredients sit on the ingredient list. The ingredients which sit at the top of the list make up the majority of a product. If you notice that sugar is sitting close to the beginning of the list, it means it makes up a high percentage of the product.
Using the nutrition label is also a helpful way to gauge how much sugar you are consuming. As a rule, if a label states 22.5g or more of total sugar per 100g then your product is high in sugar. Something that has 5g or less of total sugar per 100g is considered low in sugar. You should try to keep that number as low as possible.
You’ll start seeing it everywhere – even in your milk!
Believe it or not lactose – which you find in dairy – is also a form of sugar. It’s worth keeping in mind that when you opt for a ‘lighter’ version such as skim milk, you’re consuming the same amount of sugar, but with a lot of the nutritional value removed.
Furthermore, other milk alternatives including almond and soy have often had sweeteners added to them. Always opt for an unsweetened version so you’re not getting any extra additives.
Don’t fake it
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to opt for an artificial sugar. Putting aside the damaging effects that artificial sweeteners have been linked to, they also have the opposite effect that you might want. When you eat, your body gets ready for the sugars and nutrients that it expects to receive. Artificial sugar doesn’t provide these and therefore leaves your body in a state of expecting rather than feeling fulfilled. The result is sugar cravings which can lead to binging on the foods you were trying to avoid.
Usually, products advertised as ‘light’ or ‘diet’ are made from artificial sugars. If you’re still unsure, check the ingredient list for the likes of saccharin and aspartame.
Try making small changes
Lowering your sugar intake doesn’t need to be difficult; it can start with the littlest of changes. Try halving your sugar in your next tea or coffee until you don’t need any at all. If you have a sweet tooth, try adding some fruit to your cereal for your boost in a natural way.
Furthermore, be excited to experiment with flavour! Play around with cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg when your taste buds are looking for that sweet kick.
The most important thing is perseverance. Sometimes it can involve a complete change in lifestyle when you alter your diet. Your palette will take some time to adjust but those cravings will disappear once you’ve become accustomed to less sugar.
Once you reduce the amount of sugar you’re consuming your body will run on a more even level. Your skin will be brighter, more radiant and smoother with less fine lines.
You can complement a healthy diet with a natural skincare regime like the griffin+row five step routine.