I have a friend who told me he gained just three pounds a year. That doesn’t sound like much, but he did that every year for 30 years. That’s an excess of 90 pounds!
He’s not alone. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than 65 percent of adults are overweight, with 35.7 percent falling into the obese category. Not only that, but eating too much of certain foods could also impact your skin.
One way to help avoid becoming a statistic is to pay attention to the nutrition facts panel on the back or side of food packages. This allows you to make smarter, more healthful food purchases.
Lately, even more nutritional information has started to pop up on the front of food packages, using a wide range of symbols and rating systems that can be confusing.
Matthew Kreuter, PhD, a public health expert and professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and his colleagues on an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee studied these front-of-packaging nutritional information systems. They reviewed how that information relates to the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., and studied ways to make the information more useful.
What to look for
Kreuter and his team say the nutritional information most important to consumers is the amount of calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium in food. This is what should be highlighted on the front of food packages.
“These nutrition factors are the biggest contributors to the leading causes of illness and death in the U.S.,” says Kreuter. “People’s lives are busier and not everyone can take the time to stop and read the nutrition facts panel on the back of the package, so it’s worth considering whether we can make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices by putting important information on the front of the package.”
The bottom line is you should scan the nutritional information before making grocery purchases, whether it’s on the front, side or back of the package.
Not sweet news
Pay careful attention to the amount of sugar listed, as well. Experts believe a lifetime of overeating sugar can cause wrinkles. A natural process called glycation is the culprit. With glycation, sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called “advanced glycation end products,” or AGEs, appropriately. The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop.
The more ages you develop, the more they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion, according to Fredric Brandt, M.D., a dermatologist and author of 10 Minutes 10 Years. Besides damaging collagen, a high-sugar diet also affects the type of collagen you have – another factor in how resistant skin is to wrinkling.
The most abundant collagen types in the skin are I, II and III, with type III being the most stable and long-lasting. Glycation turns type III collagen into type I, which is more fragile, making the skin look and feel less supple. It also leaves you more vulnerable to sun damage.