Not exactly the boon of society, sugar is one of the most addictive substances in modern everyday life, and while it tastes delicious, it certainly isn’t good for the body and most definitely not good for acne-prone skin.
Aside from the fact that sugar activates the body’s inflammatory response (like acne breakouts), it also binds to proteins like collagen and elastin which overtime, damages the once springy, supple, and resilient proteins in our skin. This is what makes the skin appear dull, dry, and prone to aging long before it’s supposed to.
Sugar consumption is also known to trigger the production of dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain. While this is totally fine on an occasional basis, eating a lot of sugar every day can cause a lot of us to solely turn sugar when we’re stressed or depressed in order to help ease negativity. Why? Because sugar helps us feel better!
However, turning to sugary treats isn’t going to do you any favors as far as getting clear skin goes.
Not only that, the overconsumption of sugar is one of the leading culprits behind a lot of today’s diseases and cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and of course diabetes.
And, just like narcotics, people who consume a lot of sugar build a tolerance to it, leading them into a downward spiral of eating more and more to achieve the same effect.
All in all, sugar consumption is something that we need to control if you’re looking to have vibrant healthy skin.
Cutting Sugar for Clear Skin
As I have discussed briefly in my last post, the sure fire way to help you reduce the amount of sugar you consume daily is to realize how much sugar you are eating now.
Look at the amount of sugar listed per serving on the food products you eat regularly by checking labels. When you see a serving listed at something like 4 grams per serving, just know that 4.17 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar (or about one sugar cube’s worth).
Some of you may be thinking that this isn’t very much, but how many of you ACTUALLY eat just one serving? Hardly any of us, I’m sure!
Just to give you a visual, one bag of skittles has about 1/4 cup (47g) of sugar in it – and that’s considered ONE serving! Pretty crazy, right?
So now that you’ve gotten an idea about how much sugar can be in something as harmless-seeming as a movie snack, think about what sugary foods or drinks you consume on a daily basis and do a bit of detective work to see how much sugar they contain. This is the first step on how to cut back on sugar.
Once you have done this, it’s time to think about which of those foods you could easily give up. A great example of where to start could be soda and candy.
You can start reducing sugar intake by switching to natural soda at first if giving it up cold turkey proves difficult for you. After that, try cutting back on the number of natural sodas you drink a day. Eventually, with determination, you should be able to stop craving soda altogether or at least drastically cut back on the amount of sugar you were consuming compared to before. The same goes for candy and other sugary snacks and foods.
If you’re able to cut back on the top sugar-filled foods and drink in your life, you’re going to see results in the health and clarity of your skin pretty quickly. You may also notice that you won’t get sick as often as you used to. This is because the consumption of sugar impairs the immune system for up to 5 hours after eating it.
Some of the benefits of cutting out sugar (the processed kind) include:
• Fewer blood sugar fluctuations (one of the leading causes of acne!)
• Gaining more energy
• Having more stable moods and less mood swings
• Helps prevent obesity
• Helps with weight loss
• Less risk for cancer
• Reduced risk of developing inflammatory diseases
• Reduces the breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin, joints, and connective tissues
How to Eat Less Sugar, The Healthy Way
Now, let’s say that you’ve been able to cut back on the unnecessary sugar. What about the sugar you like to put on your oatmeal or in your coffee or in your tea etc? Well, lucky for us, there are healthier alternatives available.
Here’s a list of some of them:
You may be thinking Hallelujah! But don’t let these alternatives fool you. While they may be healthier, they are still essentially sugar, they just have less impact on the body than table sugar and will help you continue to use less and less sugar on your food and in your drinks. You may even find out just how good an apple actually tastes when you’ve learned to cut back on processed sweeteners.
It’s all about baby steps! Here are some short comprehensive steps to help you consume less.
How to Cut Down on Sugar – 10 Easy Steps
1. Cut back slowly – This is key! If you cut back cold turkey you are more likely to relapse and end up gorging on all kinds of sweets.
2. Use less – Instead of putting 3 cubes of sugar in your coffee, try adding just two and then eventually just one.
3. Don’t be fooled – Sugar goes by A LOT of aliases. Be sure that you can identify them so you can avoid them. See what these aliases are here.
4. Avoid liquid sugars – Liquid sugars like soda and sweet juices are the EASIEST way to over-consume sugar. Be smart and only indulge in one soda if you absolutely must. Try buying the mini sodas to help lower your intake when you begin your journey.
5. Watch out for flavored items – Things that are other than the “original” flavor such as strawberry yogurt instead of plain yogurt, etc., will usually contain much more sugar than the plain version. Try buying plain versions of things and blend in your own fresh fruit or add a small amount of honey to sweeten. At least this way you can control the amount of sugar in your food and it’s coming from a more natural source.
6. Beware of “healthy” alternatives – All natural doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with sugar. Be your own label detective!
7. Eat fruit instead – Fruit is a great way to curb your sugar craving. Try going for seasonal fruit as it will taste the sweetest. Plus, this type of sugar is from a whole food source so the body doesn’t react to it in quite the same way as processed sugar.
8. Try stevia – Stevia is sweet and can be used in baking, coffee, tea, and other needs that call for sweetness. A little goes a looong way. Stevia has a glycemic index of 0 but tastes just as sweet as sugar.
Upon further research, you may want to check out this post by a fellow blogger about whys she disagrees with the consumption of stevia.
9. Wholesome cooking – Bringing delicious homemade leftovers to work can help curb the sugar craving. A lot of us eat sugar because we simply don’t have enough energy to get through our day. Eating healthy whole food meals with proteins and healthy fats will allow the body to burn energy at a stable rate and help prevent blood sugar fluctuations, a major cause of acne.
10. Awareness – Keep reminding yourself why you’re cutting back on sugar. Is it to clear your acne? Is it to lose weight? Is it to reclaim your health in general? Keep thinking about your goal and go for it! You’ll transition into eating less sugar much easier with a clear goal in mind.
What are your best tips on cutting sugar for clear skin? Please share in the comments below!
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