There’s often talk about the ill-effects of eating sugary food, but we seem to skip over the topic of high fructose corn syrup—a sweetener that is commonly used in every day foods. While we tend to consume it on a daily basis (yes, you likely do; just take a look at your drink ingredients), we don’t think about the negative effects it can have on our skin. Aside from potential weight gain, excessive intake of high fructose corn syrup may cause issues like cellulite, acne, hyperpigmentation and tooth decay.
Beverly Hills, CA, nutritionist Amy Piacentino, says one major reason is because our bodies don’t recognize or process high fructose corn syrup, which causes it to react. “It does not break down properly in the body. Regular sugar cane is made of two sugar molecules bound tightly together-glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are [then] absorbed into the body.” On the other hand, high fructose corn syrup does consist of both glucose and fructose, but she says it’s not at a 50-50 ratio, more like a 55-45 ratio of more fructose than glucose-in an unbound form. Why is that a factor?
“There is no chemical bond between them and no digestion is required. So they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream and fructose goes right to the liver too fast and triggers lipogenesis, the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol,” she says.
So while high fructose corn syrup causes you to gain weight and stress on your liver, your skin (the body’s largest organ) also reacts, causing a host of ailments.
“When I have changed the diet of my patients, and took away 90 percent of their high fructose corn syrup, the first thing I notice is how their mood improves, and the pores of their skin shrink. They start to develop a glow, the excessive appetite decreases, the central waist fat shrinks and many women immediately notice their cellulite diminishes,” says Piacentino.
And the first place she says she cuts out the sweetener is in one of the foods we consume as soon as we wake—creamer. Other culprits include morning cereal, some yogurt brands and many salad dressing brands. So always check food labels and try to cut out high fructose corn syrup to see if your skin improves over time.