When I was young, I would ride my bicycle down to the corner store and buy a bag full of candy. In those days, a dollar would buy a lot! I loved gum balls, Sweet Tarts and Pixy Sticks to name a few….all pure sugar. I’m embarrassed to admit that I would finish off all that candy before the day was over.
No wonder I had so many cavities in my mouth. Ironically, my childhood dentist had an office right across the street from the candy store. (Perhaps that very smart man planned it that way!) Recently, I learned that when sugar mixes with saliva it forms an acid. It is this acid that eats away at the tooth enamel and causes a cavity to form. No wonder I needed so many fillings!
As an esthetician, a new word was added to my vocabulary. Glycation. Glycation occurs when sugar molecules combine with protein molecules to form AGEs, otherwise known as Advanced Glycation End products. The more sugar you consume, the more AGEs that are produced. When the body is overwhelmed with AGEs, collagen becomes compromised and begins to breakdown. At the cellular level of the skin, the effects of the glycation process cause accelerated aging, loss of elasticity, wrinkling and more.
With regard to health, sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer and dementia. The main reason is that it causes an inflammatory response in the body. Excess sugar disrupts the body’s ability to maintain a proper balance which results in the creation of an acidic internal environment. The body tries to offset this acidity by making itself more alkaline. One of the ways it does this is by removing calcium and other minerals from the bones.
Is it possible to wean yourself off of sugar? Absolutely, I did it and so can you! Begin by dividing your sugar sources in half. Try to exert some willpower by rewarding yourself at the end of the day with just one bite. Crowd out the bad stuff by adding in more fresh fruits and vegetables. This will help to fill you up as well as to reduce sugar cravings.
It took me a few weeks to finally kick the sugar habit. Understanding how sugar impacts the teeth and the skin was motivation enough to avoid it. I kept reminding myself that sugar was the enemy. I never thought that I would be able to break free from my cravings, but those sweet treats just don’t taste the same to me anymore.
Lori Weintraub is a licensed skincare therapist, holistic health coach and PCOS hair removal expert. She offers online consultations, skin care lessons, exceptional products and hand-holding guidance to help women over 40 regain their youthful glow. Learn more here.