What’s Eating Away at Your Skin?

Eating healthy is relatively new to me; as someone who is blessed with a fast metabolism it’s always seemed like an option, but not a necessity. I’ve never been one to pick up a magazine for a diet-related headline. I exercise and drink lots of water, doesn’t that mean I can eat whatever I want?

Since weight-gain isn’t typically an issue, the best way to grab my attention is to threaten my vanity. This weekend I saw a headline in Huffington Post, “The 3 Worst Food Mistakes You Can Make for Your Skin.”

Wait a minute, I thought, this involves my face? Go on, HuffPo, I’m listening…

The article lists the following culprits as skin stressors: simple sugars, starchy, high-glycemic foods, and forgetting to count beverages (specifically soda and alcohol). Check, check and check — I consume all three regularly. With the stress of the holiday season I’ve been consuming more of them than usual and as I read the article I found my fingers wandering my face for fresh blemishes.

It’s hard to eat healthy during the holidays. There are parties to attend and shopping to be done and if I’m already out at the stores, shouldn’t I just get dinner at a restaurant? The grocery store is the last shop I want to pop into after waiting in line at the mall. It’s overwhelming and when I’m tired I tend to grab familiar foods from my childhood like Kraft Mac N’ Cheese, pretzels, chocolate chip cookies and sugary iced tea mix (you can see why my house was the place to be when I was younger).

If I dine out I’m more likely to choose healthy options like fish and salad. At home, my meal will probably consist of multiple starches. I have them on hand and they are quick and easy to make. After all, I’m of Irish and Italian heritage, there’s going to be potatoes or pasta involved no matter what (in my mind gnocchi is killing two birds with one stone).

The starchy, high-glycemic foods are the ones that have been linked to breakouts, but the article also talks about long term damage that sodas and sweets can have on you skin. According to the article, “many dark colas contain advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which give them their dark color and have been shown to speed up the process of skin aging.” AGEs? Science is literally trying to spell this one out for us. Is the caffeine rush worth the wear and tear on your skin?

I had never heard the term glycation before this article and now I’m totally freaked out by it. According to the article, each time you eat sweets that spike your blood sugar it causes chronic inflammation and “the digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin.” I don’t know about you, but the idea of anything attaching to my skin is unsettling to say the least. Then, there’s that word – permanent. Terrifying.

Thankfully, staying away from soda and sweets is a little easier because they don’t make up a meal. I know that if they’re not in the house I won’t eat them; if only it were that easy with starches. Is there a support group for potato/pasta junkies? Maybe I should start one and we could all go for facials together.

Seriously, what are your healthy eating tips for clearer, younger-looking skin?

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