Beauty, Blog, Health & Wellbeing

Effects Of Eating Too Much Sugar On The Skin And Health

If you are a sugar lover and have a sweet tooth then this may not be good news for you. We all know that sugar has many negative effects on the body and health in general.

Obesity is on the increase and sugar is to be avoided, not only by the obese but by healthy individuals too. Sugar is a major culprit in the case against obesity and can also contribute to a host of other associated health and mind issues. These include; diabetes, increased cholesterol and can contribute to Osteoporosis. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease and many studies show sugar also feeds cancer and is linked to food allergies and tooth decay. 

In children it can cause Eczema and hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and restless. It affects our blood sugar levels and this can result in the way we feel i.e fatigue, a foggy brain, food cravings, frequent colds, depression and mood swings. 


Sugar can also affect our bodies reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases) It also greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans – yeast infections. Too much sugar consumption can lead to skin conditions such as Acne and inflammation. It can impair the structure of DNA and can decrease the growth hormone, the key to staying youthful and lean.


So How Does Too Much Sugar Affect The Skin?


Experts believe sugar can cause premature aging. Cell-aging sugar can sap the skins youthful resilience and appearance. One of the many effects of sugar on the body is the way it damages the collagen and elastic protein fibers in the skin. It also makes your skin more vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun. The more sugar you consume in your diet the more likely you are accelerated the aging process of the skin. A lifetime of eating sugar can leave the skin looking aged, dull, loose and wrinkled. 


Sugar causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat, the more elasticity and function you lose. The collagen and elastin are vulnerable to damage. Collagen and elastin are the skins protein fibres that keep the skin firm. Once this springy and resilient collagen is damaged its elastin properties become dry and brittle. This damage leads to wrinkles, sagging and other complexion complications i.e spots, breakouts and blemishes.


According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology these aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that. Consuming sugary foods or high Glycemic Index foods result in a rapid increase in blood sugar in the body. This can lead to inflammation and this can bring on biochemical changes in the human cells and result in accelerating the aging process. Therefore, effects of deterioration include the skin becoming less elastic which in turn can lead to deep wrinkles and the skin will look aged in appearance.


It is recommended that we stay away from sugar enriched foods such as chocolates, sugar / candy bars, greasy foods, processed foods and high – glycemic carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread, potatoes, rice. These foods will rapidly convert to sugar and lead to a rise in blood sugar. Skin destroying sweets and carbohydrates can lead to further sugar cravings. A high-glycemic diet may also cause complexion skin problems such as Acne.

Therefore, it is important that our sugar cravings are controlled which in turn control blood sugar and insulin levels.

It is crucial to limit or exclude ‘bad’ carbohydrates and sugary foods. This can be done by increasing protein intake for a few days, which can help control the body’s blood sugar and insulin levels and lessen those sugar cravings. 


According to a 2008 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, what you eat can affect your skin. In this study Australian researchers measured the effects of high – and low – glycemic diets on the skin of teenage boys. The glycemic index of a food defines how quickly it’s broken down into glucose by our bodies.

High-glycemic foods such as; refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, chocolates, sweets, candy and even certain fruits high in natural sugars, cause large spikes in blood sugar when eaten. Low-glycemic foods such as; whole grains, are slow release meaning these are broken down into sugars more slowly, so they do not cause spikes in blood sugar.


The researchers found that those teenage boys who were on the low-glycemic diet experienced a 50% reduction in acne. However, the group who consumed the high-glycemic diet experienced a 14% increase. Researchers speculate that insulin resistance, commonly associated with eating a high-glycemic diet, may fuel inflammation in the skin and the production of the acne-causing oil sebum.

More and more research is becoming available about sugar’s harmful effects. It is not just the sugar you add to your tea, or the chocolates you eat, other forms of sugar that may be listed on ingredient labels on everyday foods need to be avoided or reduced, examples include; barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, fructose, glucose, lactose and sucrose. 


As mentioned above, a diet high in sugar reduces the quality of the collagen in the skin. Due to the breakdown of collagen the skin can become dull, saggy, loss, thin and wrinkly and unhealthy in appearance. This can also make the skin become more prone to the damaging effects of the environment and UV rays. So for healthy skin cut out the sugar.

Begin by cutting out things like sugary drinks, cakes and biscuits. Also be aware of hidden added sugars in foods such as soups, tomato ketchup etc. Avoid high – glycemic index foods, food which is quickly broken down into sugars by the body. These will cause a spike in blood glucose and leave you craving for more.

Experts recommend that sugar should be avoided altogether and refined carbohydrates, things like cakes, biscuits and white bread, should be kept to a minimum. Instead choose the lower GI (glycemic index) options such as brown rice, pasta and bread. The good news is if you change your ways and cut down on sugar you should quickly see benefits. This coupled with a good skin care routine will help to improve the skin and it may seem less dry and problematic within days. 


Banish your sweet tooth and look after your skin. Allow your skin to glow its radiance and feel good in your skin!

Thanks for reading! 



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Dal Dhaliwal is a health and wellbeing expert, fitness educator and writer. She is also an active professional speaker and TV/radio presenter. She consults and presents for some of the UK's leading businesses and organisations within the wellness, sports and business arena.