The Sweet Truth: Why Reducing Sugar is Key to Radiant Skin

Add antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats to your diet for radiant skin, and try these easy and healthy food swaps to curb sugar cravings!

  • Published: 3/22/2023
  • 4 min. read

Who wouldn’t want dewy, glowing, and clear skin? Rather than spending hundreds on lotions or potions that aren’t guaranteed to work, discover how to beautify by what you put in your belly. The sweet truth is, reducing sugar and switching up some of your frequent foods results in radiant skin!

Skin through the ages 

Skin is our largest organ, serving many purposes such as protecting us from germs and regulating our body temperature (1). As we age, our skin naturally becomes thinner and less elastic, making it appear to be less smooth as it once was. Plus environmental threats such as sun exposure, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition including excess sugar, all speed up this process.

Why reducing sugar is key to radiant skin 

As we age, both collagen and elastin naturally decrease. Collagen is the main structural protein found in our skin. It keeps things connected, providing strength and structure (2). When we have more collagen, we’ll have less wrinkles and roughness. Elastin is another protein that contributes to healthy skin structure, function, and a young appearance (3). Too much sugar overtime can actually break down collagen and elastin. 

When we have too much sugar in our bloodstream over time, our body will produce more of what’s called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Over time these cause the foundation and structure of our skin to be damaged (4). Excess AGEs are also linked with various conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. 

When we eat or drink something packed with added sugar, we also have a rise in the hormone called insulin. As a result, this can lead to inflammation, which breaks down both collagen and elastin and can also contribute to chronic disease. A great way to reduce this inflammation is through whole, nutritious foods such as those that are a part of the Mediterranean Diet.  

Top tips for radiant skin 

How can we turn back time and slow the aging process by supporting collagen and elastin in our skin?

Drink more water

Drinking water is key for skin health because it helps maintain elasticity. Hydration can also help decrease the appearance of wrinkles or lines and prevent skin dryness (5). It can also help prevent acne because dry skin produces more oil, upping those uninvited blemishes (6). 

Not sure if you’re getting enough water or need a bit more accountability to drink up? Try the water tracker with Lifesum.

Add antioxidants

Adding antioxidants in your daily routine prevents the damaging effects of free radicals, which damage skin, and also decreases inflammation. Antioxidant rich foods include berries, nuts, beans, and colorful vegetables like carrots. Vitamin C is a particularly powerful skin boosting antioxidant because it’s crucial for making collagen (7). So add a splash of lemon to your water, include a fruit to your meals, or throw some broccoli, bell pepper, or spinach to your dinner dish. 

Focus on protein foods 

High protein foods are thought to encourage collagen production because they have protein building blocks, called amino acids which create collagen. Specifically, the amino acids. glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline support collagen production (8). These are found in foods such as chicken, eggs, fish, beans, and dairy. 

Hone in on healthy fats 

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important essential fat for keeping our skin moisturized. In fact, a sign of omega-3 deficiency is dry skin (9). Omega-3 also helps reduce inflammation, which can help prevent skin conditions and keep elastin intact. 

Healthy fats are also found in plant-based foods such as avocados and olives. These are high in monounsaturated fats which can moisturize and prevent damage from those free radicals. They also contain the antioxidant vitamin E which reduces damage from the sun.

Sugary snack swaps 

So let’s get your skin smooth, soft, and stunning with some super simple swaps which decrease sugar intake and increase skin boosting nutrients!

Yogurt bark

Next time you find yourself wanting to dig deep into the candy drawer, try this tasty and protein-packed yogurt bark. It also contains berries which are rich in antioxidants!

Chia pudding with berries

I scream, you scream, our skin will scream when we have too much ice cream. Swap a scoop for this chia pudding with antioxidant berries and omega-3 rich chia seeds. 

Protein breakfast bowl

Swap sugary breakfast or snack cereals for this bowl overflowing with amino acids which build collagen and keep your skin structure plump and on point.

Almond and apple muffins

These healthier alternatives to muffin or cupcakes offer vitamin E packed almonds and olive oil, as well as apples which have some vitamin C and blood sugar balancing fiber.

Check out more foods to improve your skin and get your glow on: Top Foods for Glowing Skin.

All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.