The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
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Monday, June 27th, 2011:
Foods That Age Your Skin
Excessive sugar ages the skin.
Those on the Body Ecology Diet 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, are too sweet. Excessive sugar weakens the immune system, promotes inflammation throughout your whole body, and also feeds pathogenic microorganisms.
Besides feeding yeast and other pathogenic microorganisms, sugar, especially in the form of fructose, drastically ages the skin when consumed frequently.
- Fructose can create fructose malabsorption (FM), which leads to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Up to 40% of people in Western countries suffer from FM. (1)
- 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)
Fructose is fruit sugar. However, it is present in more foods than you may think!
- Table sugar, for example, is about half fructose and half glucose.
- Cane sugars and raw sugars contain fructose.
- Maple syrup and honey also contain fructose.
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) obviously contains fructose. HFCS is found in many processed savory foods like common condiments, such as ketchup, bread, baked goods, and even processed meat.
- Agave nectar has been reported to range at anywhere from 56%-92% fructose.
Advanced glycation end products are toxic.
Want to look younger than your age? Eliminating sugar in your diet will protect the collagen in your skin to keep your complexion firm, soft, and free from wrinkles.
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 a fat molecule, called a lipid, or a protein. 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!
If AGEs cause collagen to stiffen and breakdown, then 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 a diet high in sugar, especially fructose - which is 10 times more likely to glycate than glucose - speeds up the aging process.
While none of us want to age, we can choose to age gracefully.
This means eating foods that truly nourish the body and avoiding foods that are more work and more stress on our bodies than is necessary. Eating and simply going about our daily activities will naturally create oxidative stress in the body.
The key to aging gracefully and not suffering from a degenerative health condition as you grow older is to choose foods that do as little damage as possible and also foods that mitigate oxidative stress. These foods are naturally rich in antioxidants.
What relieves excess AGEs in the body?
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)
On the Body Ecology Diet, we know that supporting the inner ecosystem means supporting your body’s ability to manufacture B vitamins. This is because healthy intestinal microbiota are especially adept at generating B vitamins. The best way to nourish you 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.
- Use the Body Ecology 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 Potent Proteins are fermented green powders that have an abundance of both plant-sourced antioxidants and friendly microbes.
Another important tool in maintaining a youthful glow is your thinking!
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. This is because stress has a physical, biochemical effect inside the body.
An anti-inflammatory diet that is low in sugar and rich in friendly bacteria will actually support a positive outlook. This is because bacteria, inflammation, and vitamin deficiency have all been linked to not only accelerated aging like wrinkles but also mood disorders like depression. (6)
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!
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_
Learn more from The Body Ecology Diet book:
The Body Ecology Diet
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