What causes us to age? Sun damage? Yes. Smoking? Most definitely. Alcohol? So I’ve been told. But what about bread, fruit, yoghurt, muesli and even pasta? We have asked our expert nutritionist to help us uncover the secret to ageing gracefully – can it really be as simple as reducing our sugar intake? Come and take a look.
Welcome Babyologists, to the second edition of our Sunday “Nutritional Bite”, where we have Michele Chevalley Hedge, a qualified nutritionist, a mum and the founder of the My Family Wellness Low Sugar Lifestyle program helping us add a dose of goodness to our diets, one bite sized tip at a time.
And today we’re tackling the science behind ageing – does sugar really cause wrinkles? Michele, a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution ambassador, explains that this is one of the most common questions she is asked during nutritional consultations and speaking engagements.
“The Australian skin cosmetic industry earned a whopping $370 million dollars this past year,” Michele tells Babyology. “And, it turns out, all this money spent on facials, creams and beauty treatments may not even be necessary. We can reduce our wrinkles simply by consuming less sugar.”
Michele explains that when we consume sugar, which is a carbohydrate, our bodies break it down into a process known as ‘glycation’. During glycation the sugar attaches to particular proteins that form harmful molecules known as AGES. These AGES damage our collagen and elastin in our skin, causing it to lose elasticity. This is when wrinkles can develop.
So how can we reduce our sugar intake and help ward off those wrinkles? Here are Michele’s top four tips:
Become a reader of nutritional panels
Michele says, “When you are reading labels have a look at the grams of sugar, divide it by four, and that equals the number of teaspoons of sugar in that food item. For example, a ginger beer has 48.6 grams of sugar, which means 12.1 teaspoons of sugar.”
Look outside the lollies
Yes, we know chocolate, lollies and soft drink have a high sugar content. But you may be surprised to find that some of your favourite (and seemingly healthy) foods and beverages are actually high in sugar. This includes bread, pasta, muesli, tropical fruit, honey, agave, molasses, alcohol, wine and even yoghurts with fruits.
Choose low GI complex carbs
Swap the above foods for brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, pulses, nuts and seeds. Here is a delicious and simple recipe for Coriander Fish that Michele recommends adding to the weekly rotation.
Give yourself four weeks to change
It will take about one month to notice improvement to your skin and overall well-being when reducing your sugar. Check out the Low Sugar Lifestyle program, a 28-day online program full of healthy tips and education on how to create a wellness change in your home without an extreme approach.
Stay tuned for next week’s “Nutritional Bite” where we will have another batch of healthy hints to serve up.