The Effects of Holiday Sugar on Your Skin
Poor Diet: The Recipe for Aging Skin
It’s not just stress that can cause major skin woes during busy times—a poor diet rich in excess sugar can also have a negative effect on your skin (and waistline). Overeating sugar can make skin dull and wrinkled through a natural process called glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called Advanced glycation end products (‘AGEs’ for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop, causing springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
But don’t panic. You don’t have to avoid all the sweets during the holiday—after all that is one of the best parts about the holidays! Here are 3 simple and easy-to-follow tips for eating right during the holiday season.
Choose Wisely: When going to a party or dinner with a buffet or spread of snacks, look over the spread first and pick three items to enjoy rather than just taking a little of everything. You’ll end up more satisfied while still eating less. Avoid “saving calories” for a party or dinner. Instead, eat regular balanced meals and a small, smart snack before the party. And if you’re playing host, don’t forget to pack up leftovers to send home with guests. That way you can enjoy treats at the event itself but won’t be tempted to chow down on all the leftovers for several more days!
Eat This, Not That: When it comes to the dinner table, opt for dark meat (without skin or gravy) over white meat. The dark meat does not have many more calories or fat grams than the white meat, and it is naturally moister, so you won’t miss the gravy! Plus, it is higher in iron, a nutrient that many women don’t get enough of.
As we all know, loading up on those veggies is key. It’s best to choose simply roasted, steamed or grilled veggies rather than casserole forms. Fill up your plate with veggies and fruits, so you don’t have room for bread, stuffing or potatoes. And if you must, just pick one starch!
Rejoice! You can have dessert during the holidays. If you’re deciding between sweets keep in mind pumpkin pie and fruit-based desserts tend to be lower in fat and calories than pecan pie or fudge-based desserts. But of course, indulge if you must. If you just can’t resist grandma’s pecan pie, have a slice, but just skip extras that you won’t really miss like whipped cream or ice cream.
And finally, size matters. Choose a smaller plate at the dinner table to provide built in portion control—no matter what you put on it.
Drink Responsibly. Champagne, wine and light beers are much lower in sugar and calories than mixed drinks like eggnog or fancy cocktails. Want a helpful tip to cut sugar and calories even more? Add sparkling water to your wine to make it a spritzer. And of course, avoid going overboard by staying hydrated and alternating alcoholic drinks with water or sparkling water.
Holidays are an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. But the focus on food and eating during this season can be very tough. Plan time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready to face any meal head-on and still enjoy it. In the long run, your mind, body, and skin will thank you.