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Can what you eat really change your skin?

Hannah, HK BioTek Intern

“You are what you eat” is a very familiar saying that implies how food affects your body.

Who hasn’t seen an inspiring story that cites a specific diet as a game-changer for acne or skin-aging concerns? Cutting down sugar intake is one of the most popular diets among ladies in recent years. People believe that eating less sugar can help to improve your skin. Let’s have a look at the claims and see whether it does affect our skin.

How does sugar affect your skin?

High sugar intake not only creates a weight burden but also damages our skin too. A lot of skin problems such as acne, rosacea and eczema are exacerbated by the sugar you eat. Moreover, sugar also contributes to increased inflammation which in turn breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin. Besides, added sugar can influence insulin production, causing increased oil production and acne appearance. Studies show that there are significant increases in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels with only one to two cans of sugar-sweetened soda per day. CRP is one of the best measurements of inflammation — inflammation is bad news for acne-prone patients.

Being smarter about your sugar intake

Although sugar is proven to bring negative impacts on your skin, it does not mean that you have to eliminate it from your diet completely. There are ways that you may consume sugar healthily and keep your skin well.

Food that is ranked as lower glycemic index (GI) can be better alternatives, such as Stevia, Monk Fruit Sugar and Xylitol. Not only they are naturally low in sugar, but also contain complex carbohydrates which nourish the body better. As they are broken down and converted into glucose at a slower rate, allowing them to be distributed into the bloodstream better. Replacing sugary food with complex carbohydrates and high fiber and protein food can help to keep you feeling full and curb cravings that have you reaching out for sweets and snacks.


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