Beware of Foods that Accelerate Aging
While foods that increase blood sugar may add inches to the waist, they can also contribute to aging. Research has shown that sustained high blood sugar can cause chronic inflammation, inhibiting sugar from leaving the bloodstream and making its way to cells. Instead, it adheres to proteins in a process called glycation - forming small clusters or AGEs (advanced glycation end- products).
Proteins in the skin like collagen and elastin are susceptible to glycation. When sugar attaches to these proteins, the complexion can become dull, and the skin can become saggy, wrinkled and discolored with liver spots.
The development of AGEs has also been linked to chronic degenerative diseases associated with aging like Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Animal research has shown that reduction of AGEs can lead to increased lifespan.
Some experts have proposed that the best way to reduce AGEs is with control of blood sugars through modification of the daily diet. Although Americans are slowly becoming more health conscious, the typical American diet remains unbalanced - heavily laden with blood sugar-boosting products like wheat, high-fructose corn syrup and foods that contain refined sugar.
In the book, Wheat Belly, author William Davis, M. D. explains that wheat elevates blood sugar higher than most foods - even table sugar and many candy bars!
Also, wheat contains gliadin a protein that breaks down in the gastrointestinal tract to form polypeptides, tiny proteins that can cross the blood-brain barrier and attach to morphine receptors. These compounds have been dubbed “exorphins” because similar to endorphins, they can produce a slight euphoria in some people which might explain another undesirable side effect of wheat - it boosts the appetite!
While sweet corn from the cob carries a mid-range glycemic index of 55 that is not imminently harmful, one product made from corn - specifically high-fructose corn syrup - is a blood sugar booster, big time!
High fructose corn syrup is made by combining a processed sugar with corn syrup to make an inexpensive sweetener. This dangerous product is rapidly absorbed by the liver and converted to fat. It spikes blood sugars demanding large amounts of insulin for regulation, resulting in a crash, ultimate recurring hunger and cravings for more junk food! HFCS can be found in many, many products - from salad dressings to soups to sodas. Since high blood sugar and aging are intrinsically linked, this product is bad, bad, bad!
At this point, it goes without saying that refined sugar (white or brown) is going to boost levels of sugar in the blood. To prevent glycation and reduce the effects of aging, cut or drastically reduce the amount of refined sugar in your diet.
Here are more suggestions to reduce glycation and forestall the signs of aging:
- Eat healthy, low-glycemic, whole foods like cage-free eggs and fowl, raw nuts, tart fruits, vegetables, fish and grass-fed beef.
- Steer clear of fast foods that don’t list ingredients and processed foods.
- Consume healthy fats like olives, walnuts and avocados, and use healthy oils such as olive, grape seed and coconut oils.
- Read labels to find hidden sugar in food. It can be disguised under names like barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses and turbinado.
- Instead of eating it - add a spoonful of white sugar to your shower cleanser to smooth skin and help brighten the complexion!
- Take daily vitamins B1 and B6 - powerful AGE inhibitors according to a number of published studies.