The beautiful people that come through our virtual telehealth or clinic doors have many things in common – one of these shared experiences is often that they feel like they’ve tried everything. We don’t muck around when it comes to your skin. We work from the ground up and do it the right way, no shortcuts or empty promises. This can mean making a few lifestyle sacrifices while we clear up your face. Don’t fret though! Tacos and margaritas are still on the “Asha says yes” list ;).
Sugar is synonymous with break outs for many of us. When you’re clearing up your skin, it’s a good idea to cut out all refined sugar. Here’s how we classify these:
Sugar sugar (that’s a scientific term)
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Muscavado sugar
- Raw sugar
- Coconut sugar (yes, really)
- Maple syrup
These still stimulate glucose in the same way as sugar sugar. They are bound to fibre which makes the release into the bloodstream slower however the body still has to deal with it at the end of the day, so natural sugar isn’t ideal either.
Let’s break sugars down even further…
Natural sugars – not good.
Natural sweeteners – good!
Your body responds to natural sweeteners in a different way to sugar sugar and natural sugar, however it’s good to keep in mind that they’re relatively new and so the data we have to draw on is lacking.
Sugars contain glucose, which triggers the secretion of insulin (it transports glucose into the cells for energy). Natural sweeteners don’t have this effect on insulin. That is the key, and essential difference. Some of them can even LOWER glucose or insulin levels. WHAT!
Fruit is okay too; one to two pieces of fruit a day is a great source of carbohydrate and fibre, particularly if you exercise regularly. Pair it with some fat (nuts) to slow down the glucose release. Berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are low GI and Asha encourages her clients to eat these for the amazing antioxidant benefits.
Why does sugar affect your skin so much?
Sugar is a pure inflammatory food. It has no benefit, only damage. It drives inflammation, breakouts, and accelerates ageing (a process known as glycation where sugars bind with collagen which makes the collagen stiff and brittle).
Sugar also changes our collagen, in particular our strongest type (3) into a weaker form (type 1), therefore affecting our potential for scarring.
Should everyone cut out sugar or only those with acne/prone to acne?
For hormonal health, energy, focus and longevity we want to be metabolically fit. It’s one of the biggest markers of health and disease prevention. Even people with healthy body weight can have poor metabolic health (remember that term ‘skinny fat’). Insulin resistance increases the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.
We still want to have fun though! And let’s face it – a chocolate croissant once a week is life changing. Try to follow a 80/20 or 90/10 principle (the same recommendation we make for all of our clients in acne recovery).
If you are going to eat sugar, use these metabolic hacks to minimise the impact:
- Only do it on days you have slept well and are not stressed
- Walk or do squats straight after
- Have the sugar at the end of a meal; it will slow the release of insulin
- Enjoy the heck out of it! No food guilt here 🙂
What are some good alternatives if you’ve got a sweet craving?
We have access to some really amazing and skin friendly sweeteners. Promise you won’t even know the difference!
Stevia: available as a liquid or powder (it is often concentrated, don’t use cup for cup)
Monk Fruit: available as a liquid or a powder (same as above)
Natvia range from supermarkets: So easy to bake with as you can use cup for cup measurements
Yacon syrup: A great substitute for honey & maple syrup but not suitable for those following a FODMAPS diet. It is a prebiotic which can lower glucose and insulin levels
If you’re looking for a recipe, you can head to our highlight reels for clear skin pancakes or check out Stephanie Alexander’s flourless chocolate cake recipe. SO GOOD! Just remember to swap the sugar sugar for something clear skin approved like the Natvia range.