Foods That Age Your Skin

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.

While it’s never fun to deal with bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or disease, did you know that sugar, especially in the form of fructose, also drastically ages the skin when consumed frequently?

FOODS with SUGAR — they are aging your skin

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.

Countless skin issues may be directly related to what you eat each day. Help stop sugar cravings and restore balance to the skin’s ecosystem by rebuilding the inner ecosystem of the gut. Cultured vegetables made from the Veggie Culture Starter can support digestive health with friendly bacteria.

Commonly consumed foods containing fructose:

  • Table sugar
  • Cane sugars and raw sugars
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Molasses

Processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)9

  • Soft Drinks
  • Bread
  • Processed meats
  • Ketchup and condiments
  • Cookies
  • Cereal
  • Milk

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.

But what does sugar do to your body?

  • Fructose can create fructose malabsorption (FM).
  • Fructose is 10 times more likely than glucose to cross-link with a protein in the body, forming what are known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs)2.


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

AGEs and collagen — how Sugar is aging your body — and YOUR SKIN

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.

Eating a diet high in sugar, especially fructose – which is 10 times more likely to glycate than glucose – speeds up the aging process.

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.

How to free your body of skin-aging AGEs

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.

  • Choose to make fermented condiments at home and use them whenever possible.
  • Vegetable Starter Culture to ferment your own vegetables. Fermented vegetables wonderfully complement any salad and are particularly important when eating a meal that includes animal proteins.
  • Body Ecology fermented beverages, like Innergy Biotic and homemade coconut water kefir, can drastically benefit the microbial populations in your gut.
  • Both Vitality SuperGreen and Super Spirulina Plus are fermented green powders that have an abundance of both plant-sourced antioxidants and friendly microbes.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

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:

    1. Coconut Kefir
    2. Vegetable Starter Culture — save money by creating your own fermented vegetables.
    3. Innergy Biotic
    4. Vitality SuperGreen
    5. Super Spirulina Plus


  1. Born, P. Carbohydrate malabsorption in patients with non- specific abdominal complaints. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(43): 5687-5691
  2. McPherson JD, Shilton BH, Walton DJ (March 1988). “Role of fructose in glycation and cross-linking of proteins”. Biochemistry 27 (6): 1901–7. doi:10.1021/bi00406a016
  3. Peppa, M. “Glucose, Advanced Glycation End Products, and Diabetes Complications: What Is New and What Works”. Clinical Diabetes October 2003 vol. 21 no. 4 186-187.
  4. Koschinsky, T. “Orally absorbed reactive glycation products (glycotoxins): an environmental risk factor in diabetic nephropathy.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jun 10;94(12):6474-9.
  5. Ramasamy, Ravichandran, Ann Marie Schmidt. “Advanced glycation end products and RAGE: a common thread in aging, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and inflammation”. Glycobiology vol. 15 no. 7 pp. 16R–28R, 2005. doi:10.1093/glycob/cwi053
  6. Deans, Emily. “Could Soda and Sugar Be Causing Your Depression? Fructose malabsorption, a very common condition with surprising correlates”. Psychology Today. May 24, 2011. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201105/could-soda-and-sugar-be-causing-your-depression#_jmp0_
  7. Tordoff MG, Alleva AM. “Effect of drinking soda sweetened with aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup on food intake and body weight.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;51(6):963–9.
  8. Stanhope, Kimber. “Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy.” Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2016 February ; 53(1): 52–67
  9. Latulippe ME, Skoog SM. Fructose Malabsorption and Intolerance: Effects of Fructose with and without Simultaneous Glucose Ingestion. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2011;51(7):583-592. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.566646.
  10. Vos MB, Kimmons JE, Gillespie C, Welsh J, Blanck HM. Dietary Fructose Consumption Among US Children and Adults: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Medscape Journal of Medicine. 2008;10(7):160.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2525476/
  11. Ebert K, Witt H. Fructose malabsorption. Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics. 2016;3:10. doi:10.1186/s40348-016-0035-9.
  12. Fructose Malabsorption: 2 types Fructose Malabsorption or Intolerance?” The Food Intolerance Institute of Australia, update 22 August 2017 https://www.foodintol.com/fructose-intolerance/fructose-malabsorption
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