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Sugar causes or contributes to many health problems, but did you know it also ages your body and your skin? Excessive sugar weakens the immune system, promotes inflammation throughout your whole body, and feeds yeast and other pathogenic microorganisms. Research has shown it contributes to cardiovascular disease,8 metabolic disease,7 diabetes,8 weight gain,7 obesity,8 and probably even IBS9 and a lot more.
It's no secret -- sugar isn’t good for you.
Fructose is fruit sugar. But that’s not the full picture. Aside from naturally occurring in fruit, fructose is a major component of both table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), 10 which means it’s hiding in a lot of foods you might not expect.
Commonly consumed foods containing fructose:
Processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)9
If you are following the Body Ecology Diet, you have already eliminated most sources of sugar. Some fruits, like lemon, lime, berries, cranberries, and black currants are still allowed on Stage One. All other fruits, and certainly all other refined forms of sugar, have too much sugar.
Up to 40% of people in Western countries suffer from FM.1 People with this disease don’t digest fructose properly. It ends up unabsorbed in the gut where bacteria ferments it,11 leading to a pathogenic bacteria overgrowth. Fructose feeds the overgrowth, causing the pathogens to thrive. This process releases gases into the gut, causing abdominal pain and a variety of health issues.
According to The Food Intolerance Institute of Australia, symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption include: fatigue, bloating, diarrhea, sugar cravings, IBS, anemia, osteoporosis. It even impacts your skin, nails, and hair.12
While Fructose Malabsorption isn’t good, Advanced Glycation End products are toxic.
AGEs are also known as glycotoxins. AGEs or gylcotoxins have been studied at great length because they play a significant role in the degeneration related to diabetes. Why? Diabetics have high levels of sugar in their blood, so they are more susceptible to the effects of AGEs.
All blood sugars are glycated, or cross-linked, with either a protein or a fat molecule, known as a lipid. This means that they donate an electron and are involved in oxidation. Glycation is a random process, and AGEs or glycotoxins are the result.
AGEs have been linked to cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, asthma, neuropathy, and arthritis. Collagen is found in the walls of blood vessels, and AGEs injure the vascular walls. Collagen, as a main component of connective tissue, is also found in tendons and ligaments. Glycation leads to stiffening and weakening of collagen, which is why cardiovascular disease, stroke, neuropathy, cataracts, and arthritis are all implicated when there are excessive AGEs in the body.3,4
What else is made of collagen? Skin! AGEs cause collagen to stiffen and breakdown, and skin is no exception. The elastin and collagen found in skin help to maintain its firmness and elasticity. As we mentioned before, AGEs develop from the cross-linking of sugars in the blood with proteins. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our body, and its susceptibility to AGEs is one reason why the hardening and stiffening of internal vascular walls becomes such a problem in those with high-sugar diets.
Wrinkles in the skin are an outward manifestation of the oxidation and glycation that is also happening inside your body. Eating and simply going about our daily activities naturally creates oxidative stress in the body. The key to aging gracefully is eating foods that truly nourish the body while avoiding foods that are more work and stress than necessary.
At Body Ecology, we recommend a diet that is 80% plant-based and includes a variety of healing foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants. Foods such as: lemons, carrots, butternut squash, yellow summer squash, fermented beets, black currants, purple cabbage, purple asparagus, blueberries, cranberries, radish, red pepper, and red onion, spices such as: turmeric, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, and even green tea. These antioxidant-rich foods do as little damage to your body as possible while mitigating oxidative stress. They’re important in the fight against aging.
Could stress be aging your skin?
Your thinking is another essential tool in maintaining a youthful glow! No matter how perfect your diet may be, if your thoughts do not create a sense of well-being, then you are accelerating the aging process. Stress has a physical, biochemical effect inside the body.
Bacteria, inflammation, and vitamin deficiency have all been linked to not only accelerated aging like wrinkles but also mood disorders like depression.6
An anti-inflammatory diet that is low in sugar and rich in friendly bacteria will actually support a positive outlook.
Several studies have found that B vitamins, especially thiamin (B1) and pyridoxamine (B6), help to drastically mitigate the presence of AGEs in the body.5 A healthy gut supports your body’s ability to manufacture B vitamins. Healthy intestinal microbiota are especially adept at generating them.
The best way to nourish your inner ecosystem -- and keep the population of healthy microbes in your gut thriving -- is to consume fermented foods with every meal.
Too much sugar in the diet can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and cross-link with proteins in the body to form advanced glycation end products, also called AGEs. AGEs are toxic and contribute to a number of diseases, including diabetes. AGEs also attacked healthy collagen in the skin, leaving you at risk for premature aging and wrinkles.
If you want to age gracefully and prevent disease, it's time to nourish your body with antioxidant-rich foods and foods that contain B vitamins to negate this damage. You can naturally support your inner ecosystem and help your body manufacture B vitamins by eating fermented foods with every meal!
Some great fermented food options:
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