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Want to look younger? Give up sugar
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June 20, 2007

It is a known fact that sugar, which is high in calories, can lead to a good increase in weight. For the first time, however, a book by dermatologist Dr Fredric Brandt, has revealed that sweet treats can cause wrinkles.

According to Brandt, who discusses the effect of sugar on skin in his book 10 Minutes/ 10 Years: Your Definitive Guide To A Beautiful And Youthful Appearance, removing anything sweet from your diet can make a person look 10 years younger.

'In a nutshell, sugar hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen, both key skin proteins. In other words, it actively ages you,' the Daily Mail quoted Dr Brandt, as saying.

The sugar leads to glycation process that makes sugar molecules bind to your protein fibres, which are flexible collagen and elastin fibres that form the base for a person's skin

'Imagine that your collagen is your skin's mattress and the elastin fibres are the coils holding it together. The sugar attacks these fibres, making them less elastic and more brittle so they break. The result is that your once-youthful skin starts to sag and look old,' he added.

The glycation process makes these fibres change, causing the creation of harmful new molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which damage collagen and elastin.

A healthy skin will get back to its original position after a smile, but if collagen and elastic has been made delicate by glycation, wrinkles appear.

'AGEs form when any food that's made up of sugar, protein and/ or fat is cooked to a high heat. Cooking food this way creates AGEs which, once consumed, bind to the collagen and elastin fibres,' said Dr Brandt.

'The higher the temperature and the longer the cooking, the more AGEs form. All food that you brown, whether you're roasting a chicken, baking a potato or barbecuing a steak, is high in AGEs,' he added.

Brandt added that the conventional notion that AGEs can be easily digested, is wrong.

'Conventional wisdom used to hold that when you ate something containing AGEs, they would simply pass through the digestive tract. But that turned out to be wishful thinking. The cake baking in the oven may have a gorgeous golden crust, but inside each delicious crumb is a time bomb of ageing in the form of AGEs,' he said.

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