Monday, July 25, 2011

Sugar and Aging

The human body evolved with a limited ability to break down sugar, and very limited access to it in concentrated forms, so processing the comparatively giant loads we consume nowadays puts a huge strain on our systems. Excess sugar loiters in the blood and causes trouble by glomming onto protein molecules, an age-accelerating process called glycosylation that causes cellular aging in several ways.
First, it slows down the body’s repair mechanism. Although glycosylation’s effects are mostly internal, aging skin is a prime external sign. When too much sugar in the blood causes glycosylation, the skin loses its natural repair mechanisms, explains Shawn Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist and author of The Metabolic Method (Currant Book, 2008). “Sugar molecules gum up the collagen in your skin,” he says, “which makes it less elastic, makes it wrinkle faster, and means it won’t heal as quickly if it’s damaged.”

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