This Halloween, beware of “sugar sag”
Halloween and an overabundance of sweets are synonymous, but all those sweets could lead a truly scary situation – aging skin – according to a Scientific American article titled “Trick or treat … and wrinkles?”
Julianne Wyrick, the author of the article, wrote:
“Mothers across the nation will likely be warning their costume-clad youngsters that they’ll ‘feel sick’ if they eat too much of the candy they collect tonight [on Halloween]. What they may not mention is that foods that raise blood sugar can also cause wrinkles, an effect dermatologist Rajani Katta calls ‘sugar sag.’”
This sugar sag, Wyrick wrote, can occur when elevated blood sugar levels cause the skin to lose elasticity. She noted that although elasticity inevitably lessens as a person ages, foods that raise blood sugar can speed up the loss:
“Physicians have long known that the effects of high blood sugar in diabetics can promote premature aging of the skin, Katta explained via email.
‘In recent years, though, there’s been more of an awareness among physicians that these effects can occur even in those without diabetes,’ said Katta.
High blood sugar promotes the cross-linking of collagen fibers in the skin through a process called glycation, which results in the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As these AGEs build up, the skin undergoes structural changes that lead to decreased elasticity and greater stiffness.”
However, this is not an issue that is unique to Halloween candy. Wyrick noted that soda, white bread and fried foods are among the other substances that can lead to the formation of AGEs, which in turn damage collagen in the skin.
In order to prevent the aforementioned sugar sag, Katta suggested cutting down on foods that already contain AGEs (such as barbecued or fried food), while instead consuming fruits and vegetables. She also recommended drinking green tea and using spices and herbs (such as cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and ginger), which she said have been shown to inhibit glycation.
So, while you can still enjoy some delicious treats this Halloween, make sure to also make healthy dietary choices going forward!