A doctor explains why eating less sugar can give us glowing skin and more energy
In an ideal world, there would be an actual fountain of youth flowing with water that tastes like strawberries. The strawberry-flavored water would contain antioxidants and magic-infused nutrients that would make our hair and skin shine forever. Luckily, there are habits we can form for more energy and glowing skin that are within our everyday reach.
One of them is learning how to beat our sugar addiction, and while it may sound less sexy than a fountain full of magic — there is scientific proof behind its results. In order to get a professional scoop on what sugar does to our bodies, we chatted with the Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who is a certified internist and the author of the book The Complete Guide To Beating Sugar Addiction. He shared tips on how to cut down on sugar while explaining the ways it affects skin, nails, and hair.
He started by telling Hello Giggles how one of the main issues with sugar intake is that it often replaces beneficial vitamins. He said:
"In America, roughly 18% of our diet is made up of sugar, which means that 18% is replacing actual vitamins, minerals, and critical antioxidants for healthy skin and healthy nails. Sugar also increases inflammation, which causes premature aging in skin. Overall, it's pretty nasty for people who care about how they look."
Okay, but what about pursuing a life of joy?! Does this mean we can’t have our cake and eat it too while achieving healthy skin and peak energy?
Luckily, some indulgence is still allowed.
During our conversation, Dr. Teitelbaum shared that one of the biggest ways to cut down on a sugar addiction is to pick quality over quantity.
"I love chocolate. Chocolate overall is a health food. The key is to go for quality, not quantity. Pick a quality sweet you can savor that will make your eyes roll back and your toes roll up. Dark chocolate is better, but at the end of the day, start by pacing yourself."
Replacing candy with chocolate sounds doable since life is far too short to cut out dessert entirely.
One of his other recommendations for eating less sugar was making our own teas, cutting out soda, and overall, avoiding primarily feeding out sweet tooth through beverages. A lot of it is about the amount of sugar in prepackaged foods. He said:
"The problem isn't all sugar itself, it's how much sugar we're getting. If you have one of those 48-ounce Big Gulp sodas....make yourself a tea, brew your own, use a little honey. The difference is, you're not going to put 36 grams in your own tea, versus a tea you buy at the store."
So, hypothetically, if we were to change our sugar habits how long would it take to see results in our skin and hair? According to Dr. Teitelbaum, it might take a few months for the skin to flush itself out.
"It takes about 3 to 4 months for people to see a big difference in their skin after cutting down. One of the huge things that sugar instigates is acne. It'll take about 3 to 4 months because changes in the skin usually reflect about 6 weeks after the changes are made. However, people notice huge changes in their energy level right away."
He said that not only will your natural energy levels rise, but his patients report feeling overall happier and experiencing fewer mood swings.
If the idea of cutting down on sugar and waiting a few months to see results sounds daunting, don’t give up. Dr. Teitelbaum said adding healthy new foods and supplements is an essential part of flushing your system. Plus, spicing up your menu can make it a more satisfying life change, overall.
He gave some recommendations of healthy foods and supplements that will boost your energy and skin:
"You wanna increase your salt water intake in order to help with energy. You can take licorice, Vitamin B-5, Vitamin C, and you can use the Adrenal Stress app. People find that within a week they'll start seeing results."
He also made sure to emphasize that eating natural sugars found in fruit isn’t the culprit. So if you want something sweet, look into nature’s bounty. He said:
"The number one thing is it's okay to have fruit. If you want to eat an orange, eat an orange. Also, have dairy and have bananas because they have potassium. If you have a 16 oz orange juice, that's the equivalent of about 8 oranges worth of sugar. People won't consume as much sugar if they're eating fruit instead of drinking it. Also, as far as antioxidants and foods that fight inflammation and the effects of sugar, I recommend Ginger and Cumin, Indian food and Curry are great."