How Sugar Ages You

September 3, 2022

Aging encompasses every organ in your body and brain with sugar having an influence on that aging process. Since skin is the largest organ of the body, we’re talking skin health today! How does the food you eat effect the appearance of your skin? We’ll cover how sugar especially causes both damage and inflammation as well as what other foods might be causing harm to your tissues and what you can do to keep your skin glowing.


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Hello, this is Teresa, one of the dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Before we start the show, I have a few questions for you. Are you struggling with food cravings? Do you wish you had more energy left at the end of your day? Or maybe you're simply tired of dieting, calorie counting, or point tracking and not getting the results you're looking for. Well guess what? You can experience the freedom from dieting while enjoying fewer cravings, increased energy, fewer aches and pains, and so much more with our Nutrition for Weight Loss Program.

This 12-week program will help you discover how to use real food nutrition to achieve your health goals and includes a one-on-one nutrition counseling appointment, so you can truly customize the program to meet your unique goals and lifestyle. And now through September 12th, we're offering $50 off our in person and Zoom Nutrition for Weight Loss class series, so that you can prioritize your health this fall. To reserve your spot and save $50 off your in person or Zoom Nutrition for weight loss, class registration, visit Again, that's We look forward to connecting with you in class. Thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and enjoy the show.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We have many shows about the harmful effects sugar has on both your brain and your body. Today we are going to specifically address how sugar ages you. We will share with you several foods that speed up your body's aging processes and also share foods or lifestyle factors that you can implement to slow down that aging process. We will also share how sugar ages your skin and brings on those wrinkles: something that no one really wants to see on their face or on their chin or on their forehead or anything like that. And I am Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian and have been a part of Nutritional Weight and Wellness for the past eight years.

On one of the recent podcasts that I did with one of my cohosts, I talked about some harmful habits that I had coming to Nutritional Weight and Wellness, and in those years before I started learning more about real food and eating in balance. Some of those harmful habits included eating a low fat, high carb processed foods type of diet. And really it did, it took many years for me to observe this in my body and many years of learning before I really kind of came to the fact that this does not this type of eating does not agree with my body.

So I realized I had to make some changes. I got the sugar out of my diet, and I started eating real natural fats. And even in reflecting on that, I think actually my first step was incorporating those more real natural fats. I was the low fat, no fat queen. If there was a gram of fat in anything, it had to be off the shelf.

So my journey, I started with bringing things in: those real natural healing foods before I really focused on getting some of the bad stuff out. And it still worked really well. I still saw the benefits. And as I was researching for this show, high carb, high sugar foods and bad fats were some of the big things that stood out as things that age us from the inside out. Okay. So I've set the stage for the show today, but I want to make a very special introduction today. Joining us today as a well not new dietitian, just newer to Nutritional Weight and Wellness, and actually her first time on Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to introduce my cohost this morning, Monica. So Monica, I'm going to just turn it over to you really quick and let you tell the listeners a little bit more about you and what your background is.

MONICA: Thank you, Leah. I'm so excited to be here today because I listened to the show on the podcast for many years before starting to work at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. So it's so cool to be able to be on this side of the radio show now. Like you said, my name is Monica. I am a registered and licensed dietitian and I have been a dietitian for 10 years. And I started working here, well actually a year ago at the front desk. But I've been counseling and seeing clients since February.

And at first we were only doing remote counseling, but now it's been really fun to offer in person consultations and see people face to face. I work at the Woodbury office and at the St. Paul office. But of course, if you live out of state, you can connect with me either on Zoom or by phone.

LEAH: So Monica, you said that you've been a dietitian for 10 years. Like you you've been a dietitian for many years, but you've been here for the last one. So fill us in a little bit on the, on that last nine years or so. What, what did you do prior to coming to Nutritional Weight and Wellness?

MONICA: Yeah, so I spent a lot of time counseling. I started working with WIC, which is a program that helps pregnant women, postpartum women, and really young kids, young families, educating them on healthy eating. It's the government program. And then I took some time off because I have young kids. And even then I couldn't get away from counseling. So I did some nutrition counseling on the side from home: wellness coaching. So definitely counseling has been a big part of the last 10 years and in my career.

LEAH: Yeah absolutely. So yeah, you come with a, just a kind of a wide variety of some other experiences and it sounds like, especially with helping families, like you said, like pregnant and postpartum women, young children, and just like that family unit.

MONICA: Yes. I love helping families start out with a strong foundation.

LEAH: Yes.

MONICA: And one of the things that actually got me into counseling at WIC is that I am bilingual and speak Spanish fluently. My parents are from Mexico. And even though I was born in Texas, Spanish was my first language. So that is something that I bring to the table as well. Like I mentioned, I have two young kids, so I work part-time because my kids keep me super busy with all the activities. So my son, Luca, is nine and he's playing football this fall and Lila is six and she dances competitively. So yeah, I love the flexibility of being able to share my passion for nutrition here, but then also focus on being a mom.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm yep. I'm in the same boat: two kiddos at home. It's nice to kind of have that division and have some time away from home, work in an office, share your passion of nutrition, but also still have some of that special time to spend with the kids, especially when they're younger.

MONICA: Yes, definitely. It's a great place to work. As a dietitian, I like to develop a relationship with my clients and I really love finding out what they're looking for with their health beyond the scale. I think everybody wants to lose weight, especially after the pandemic, but there's so much more to health and nutrition than weight loss. You know, there's more energy, less hot flashes, better moods, fewer aches and pains, just feeling better overall. I really like to get to the bottom, you know, the root cause of what's going on. And I just, I love that feeling, that breakthrough that clients get when they realize the connection between what they're eating and how they feel. That's kind of where the magic happens.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. And it's, and you just, you have a wealth of experience of, of, again, just helping people make some of those better choices and also helping them process that, process it through their brain, like, okay, this is how we've changed your eating. This is how you're feeling now. And I love that you pointed out as well that exactly like you said, I'd say the majority of our clients come in. They are looking to lose some weight. Sometimes it's five pounds. Sometimes it's a hundred pounds, but there's a lot of other benefits that come along the way. And sometimes those even come first before the weight loss. Sometimes you start noticing you feel better, again, less aches and pains or your digestion is better. Your brain works a little bit better. And then those numbers on the scale can follow or some of those inches start to come off. So I'm really glad you highlighted that.

MONICA: Yes, absolutely. It's almost like weight loss is the side effect.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Absolutely. Yes. So listeners now you know Monica. You've listened to her and now we're going to do this great show about how sugar ages us. And so we're just going to dive into some of those foods that tend to age us a little faster than what we would like. And it's kind of funny. As kids, we want to get older quicker, right? And then at some point the scales turn where as adults, we want to slow down time. We want to reverse that aging process. And, and we start to look into different things. What are we doing? Or what could we be doing to start kind of turning back the clock a bit? Now we've alluded to this already.

French fries are a food that ages us faster


Of course, one of the very first things that we look at of things that age us faster than we want to is the sugar. But before we dive even more into the sugar, I want to come back and start with something even more simple: French fries. And let's take it one more step even further and say some of those sweet potato fries that are now being offered at many restaurants, kind of as a, a popular alternative to regular French fries. And you may think that those sweet potato fries, they're a healthier option. They have a little bit different taste. They crunch a little bit differently, but just hold your horses and think again. Like who doesn't love French fries? But unfortunately, some of those it's those fried foods, those fried carbohydrates, especially are the things that tend to get us into trouble. Sometimes we try to kid ourselves thinking that the sweet potato fries are the better option. Maybe they have a smidge more of vitamin A in them, but when you look at how they are made it, it still goes back to the same process. Any food that is fried in refined oils at high temperatures, they release these little free radicals.

They're kind of basically like bushfires all over your body that can cause cellular damage and that can occur at any tissue in the body. But especially as we think about aging, we tend to think about the skin and how that appears outwardly. So let's look at that reason for the aging. So when we're exposed to these free radicals or have kind of all these little inflammatory fires going on in our body all the time, there is accelerated aging, and this is due to an action called cross-linking, which affects the DNA molecules and can weaken the skin's elasticity.

All right. We then get wrinkles and sagging skin. So maybe that's the, the simple message there is when we eat more refined foods, processed foods, foods that have been cooked in more refined oils, these are the things that can weaken our skin's natural structures and the elasticity. Then that shows up as the wrinkles and the sagging skin that we don't like to see in the mirror. So damaged, refined oils can damage both the skin and any tissues really throughout the body.

MONICA: And, you know, Leah, it doesn't mean you have to give up those foods, right? It just, cook them at home. Make them healthier. We have a great substitute for those sweet potato fries on our website, And it's a recipe for sweet potato wedges. The recipe calls for olive oil. You could also use avocado oil, which, you know, I like avocado oil because you can use it at a higher temp. Usually with olive oil, we want to stay, you know, well below 400 degrees so we don't damage the fat. But I'll make some of those sweet potatoes, maybe with some white potatoes. And I actually love using my air fryer because it's so much faster. You don't have to wait for the oven to preheat. And I find the potatoes get really nice and crispy. And it's a great alternative for when you're craving those French fries. My whole family loves them.

LEAH: Yeah. Absolutely. And then you can season them in different ways. You can add that salt factor still. And you can, I, I love that idea of the air fryer. Like you said, it just, it kind of gets them crispy where sometimes in the oven, they they're still tasty, but they just don't always have that crispy factor to them.


LEAH: Yes. That is a great, a great alternative. And we're going to come back on the other side of break and just talk about more of those things that tend to age us. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we are discussing how sugar ages you. Now Labor Day signals us that summer is over. And for many it is back to the school routine. So get serious about our eating and get on the program to lose a few pounds. You are saying to yourself, it is time to get the sugar out and get my energy back. Today, we want to help you get back on that good eating good health type of lifestyle. We'll be right back.


MONICA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are ready to get into an anti-aging plan, let me suggest you enroll in one of the many Nutrition for Weight Loss class series starting the third week in September. Nutrition for Weight Loss is a real food plan. It is a plan your family will enjoy eating. It is a regular grocery store food plan, not a prepackaged meal plan. The Nutrition for Weight loss plan meets once a week for motivation, education and commitment. You get group support and people share their successes and challenges. We understand that losing weight is not easy, but it does help when you are not going alone. Call us at (651) 699-3438 to ask your questions.

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LEAH: Yeah, Monica, I know you see quite a few of those Nutrition for Weight Loss clients. We were talking about some stories before the show started today. I had one that I really wanted to share. This with somebody who I saw, oh, just the other week. And she actually took the class, took the Nutrition for Weight Loss series a couple of years ago. And she's just now getting into doing her appointments, her one-on-one appointments with one of the nutritionists. And so she was seeing me. And she actually had some amazing success just doing it on her own. She did the 12 weeks of class. And she ended up over the course of the last about two years or so has lost 70 pounds.

MONICA: That is amazing.

LEAH: Yeah, it is amazing. And she said she made herself two rules. She didn't, she said, I didn't implement, you know, necessarily every little facet of the plan or I didn't kind of get into some of the nitty gritty. She said, I just tried to make the changes that seemed the most to make the most sense for me. And she said for her, it was two things that she, that she changed. She said no processed foods. So she just, she, her rule was like, I just have to eat all real food. No processed foods. And the second one was I have to pay attention to how food makes me feel.

MONICA: There you go. Two powerful things.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. I was like, and yeah, it boils down to those two things, eat real food and pay attention to how food makes you feel. And she just, again, had such an amazing journey over these last two years of dropping that weight and just feeling better overall that I just thought that was a really amazing story. And again, like she's coming back to me and she was like, okay, what else do I need to learn? I was like, I think it sounds great. Like you tell me what else you want to know and we'll just collaborate from there. So yeah.

MONICA: That's so cool.

LEAH: It is. So before we went to break, we were just talking about one of the big things, one of the big first things that we threw out there as the types of foods that age us, you know, we mentioned sugar as being one. And then we kind of got on the tangent of fried carbohydrates. And specifically we were talking about French fries and Monica, you, you made a great point of, you could easily do a French fry type of recipe in your own home, whether you use the oven or the air fryer. Just use real potatoes and use a good cooking fat in there. And then, you know, the air fryer can make a really nice crispy type of French fry substitute basically.

Bread ages us faster


So another food. So let's launch into that a second type of food that ages us. Another food that ages you is bread. All right. And I can see the torches coming for me right now, cause that's not a popular opinion, but think about it. Okay, bread. What is that made from? It's made from flour and if you're just getting conventional bread, it's typically like wheat flour. That converts into sugar as soon as we start chewing it. It is one of those very fast digesting types of carbohydrates.

So this is my second food to avoid to help you slow down that aging process. Most breads and even the gluten free breads are considered a high glycemic food and can cause inflammation in our body. And I think I shared this, oh, maybe a year or two ago now, even on the radio show. And I've heard it a couple of times since that actually the glycemic index, I, I, most of our clients and most of our listeners probably have a semblance of, of what the glycemic index is, but it's just kind of this rating on how quickly carbohydrates affect our blood sugar.

And if you look at the glycemic index, a slice of even whole wheat bread, that rates about 74 to 75 on the glycemic index. Table sugar rates lower than that, which means that even that whole wheat slice of bread will actually impact your blood sugar quicker and harder than if you were to eat straight table sugar.

MONICA: That's crazy.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. I know. So, so then when you think about it that way, it makes absolute sense. I know for me as a counselor, when I have clients who say like, oh my gosh, like, I feel like I could give up some of like the candies and the sweets, but please don't take away my bread or please, like, let's not go without the bread because it, it is just kind of like another form of sugar addiction. Then we look at the gluten free breads as well. Often the gluten free breads, they contain rice flour or potato starch, or like a tapioca type of starch. So while you don't have the gluten component of it, these are still very high carbohydrate substitutes. And they still rate very high on the, that glycemic index. So there's still very high glycemic foods. And when we spike those blood sugars by eating too many carbs all in one sitting that leads to inflammation. And just that inflammation in the body is directly related to that aging process.

MONICA: Yeah. And I also, I hear from a lot of clients and you probably do too, that bread increases their cravings for more carbohydrates, more sugar.

LEAH: Yes. Yep.

Soda and high sugar coffee drinks will age you faster


MONICA: All right. So now here's another one that you might not want to hear, but if you are a soda or a coffee drinker who maybe stops into Starbucks every morning for your special high sugar coffee, you are aging not only your skin, but your whole body. You know, Leah, I saw this crazy video on Instagram over the weekend that Dunkin’ Donuts has their new pumpkin swirl frozen coffee out.

LEAH: Oh ‘tis the season for all things pumpkin and fall-like.

MONICA: Yes. Right? Well, this Dunkin’ Donuts, their large size has 167 grams of added sugar. That is the equivalent of 17 donuts. And, you know, we were talking, somebody probably won't eat 17 donuts, even the biggest donut fan. That's a lot of donuts.

LEAH: Right. That's a lot of donuts in one sitting.

MONICA: Yeah. But you can easily drink a large drink in one sitting because you're not even registering how much sugar is in there.

LEAH: Absolutely. Those liquid sugars are just, they just go down so much easier than the sugars that you even have to chew.

MONICA: Yeah. Yeah. So you might want to rethink your pumpkin spice latte, especially if it's from Dunkin’ Donuts.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

Some science behind aging of the skin


MONICA: And research has found that people who are prediabetic or diabetic have more wrinkles and sagging skin. So this is because sugar and higher glucose levels damage your skin through a natural process called glycation. The sugar in your diet attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products. So ironically, the abbreviation is AGEs.

LEAH: Yeah. Imagine that.

MONICA: Yeah. As AGEs accumulate from the sugar you eat, the more damage they do. And I think you had a great illustration for this. Right, Leah?

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. We had talked about a couple of illustrations that we both heard. The one that I heard was like, if you, so please excuse the, the analogy here, but like crème brulee, taking crème brulee. And you know, if you take the torch to that top part of the crème brulee, it starts to, you know, turn brown, get crispy. That is in essence, this exact glycation type of process. And this is what happens when those sugars, again, attach to the proteins in your body. They kind of turn with all that sugar, it turns those proteins kind of brown, kind of almost rust like, and, and turns things crispy. So it is kind of like crisping yourself from the inside out.

MONICA: Ah, that doesn't make sugar very appealing.

LEAH: Right. Exactly. And the same, the one that you had mentioned, Monica, was like that, that kind of browning of a piece of bread on the outside. It's like that same type of reaction. That's what that glycation piece means. Yes. And so over time, those AGEs accumulate and that's when, again, on a skin level that starts to show up as more wrinkles or just kind of more dull looking skin in general. We just said that sugar or high glucose foods damage proteins. And when it comes to skin, the two proteins they damage the most is collagen and elastin. So I think most of our clients, most of our listeners have probably heard of collagen before.

Nowadays you can find collagen powders on the shelves of most stores. We have a nice collagen powder as well. So collagen is that type of protein: it's found in most soft tissues of the body. And it kind of provides that structure to those tissues. So we have collagen and then we also have elastin in our skin. And so elastin gives that skin some of that flexibility so that we have structure to our skin, but we also have that elasticity and some of that plumpness to our skin.

So these two proteins help keep your skin plump. They help your skin look healthy. They help keep it looking more youthful. So when sugar comes into the mix, now that makes the collagen and the elastin more stiff, dry, brittle, and then you start to have wrinkles and sagging skin. So we will come back to that topic more on the other side of our second break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are pleased to finally be able to offer our Nutrition for Weight Loss classes in person.

But we also know many of you really still do appreciate the Zoom Nutrition for Weight Loss classes. You don't have to spend time driving to a location or getting a babysitter or leaving the house after a long day. So we are also offering Nutrition for Weight Loss classes by Zoom. So if that tickles your fancy, go to our website, and look at the times and locations. Make the decision that makes the best sense for you and take the one that you think you can commit to for those 12 weeks. You can always just call us at 651-699-3438 if you have any additional questions, and we'll be right back.

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MONICA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are getting questions from our Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group. As dietitians, we would like to answer one of those questions on air. A listener and Facebook member asked, “What should I eat to avoid having too much potassium for my kidney disease?” Here's my answer: When you have certain kidney diseases, it is important to be mindful of your potassium intake. And you might not realize that a potato, a medium sized potato contains 800 milligrams of potassium. A cup of cantaloupe can contain 400 milligrams of potassium, so it could add up.

And if you are trying to limit it, it, it really is important to work with a dietitian, make an appointment with one of us dietitians to really carefully develop a low potassium eating plan and to work with you on what your food preferences are so that we can make sure we're preserving your kidney function, because it is really important to eat only high quality real foods, be mindful of the potassium levels. And ultimately it has to be food that the client likes and we can help you with that. So call us for an appointment.

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LEAH: Yeah. Yep. That's a really great point there Monica. You know, potassium is more, most prevalent in things like our fruits, our vegetables, more of our plant types of foods, which is what we encourage a lot on when we're eating real food, when we're eating to lose weight, when we're, we're eating to heal our bodies. But if we kind of have some of this underlying damage already happening in the kidneys, again, we still want good quality food, but it might be something that now we have to pay attention to and just say, okay, we have a threshold that we need to stay under for that potassium, just to make sure we're not taxing those kidneys too much.


LEAH: Yep. All right. So we, before we went to break, we were just talking a little bit about the certain proteins in the skin, specifically collagen and elastin, and just how sugar is one of those things that can make these proteins just more stiff and dry and brittle. And for on the outside that shows up as wrinkles and more sagging skin. And Monica, you had a really great client story that I want our listeners to hear just about that topic.

MONICA: Yeah. So I had a client, she was telling me last week, she's in our Nutrition for Weight Loss program. And she, when we met about a month ago, she was really trying to get her cravings under control. She loved sugar, was addicted to sugar. And now when I met with her last week, she's been able to get that under control. And actually she said friends are telling her, you look better than ever. You have this glow to you. What are you doing? So that was so cool to see firsthand how sugar, when you are eating less of it, it can really make an impact on your skin and how you look.

LEAH: Yeah. And it's, it's very, that's such nice reinforcement too, when other people notice that in you as well. And then they ask those questions and then you're able to just again, share a little bit more about your journey and, and what's been working for you.

Damaged, refined fats age us faster


MONICA: Yeah. So we've talked about sugar. What other foods age you much faster than you would like? Well we talked a little bit about this earlier, but it really is those bad fats. If you are still using corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil, we call those the manmade refined oils; you are aging, not only your skin, but all the cells in your body. These polyunsaturated oils can cause increased levels of free radical damage and even more inflammation. They are very damaging, especially when you use them for cooking and heat them at really high temps. Instead we recommend cooking with olive oil, coconut oil, butter. Avocado oil is one of my go-to’s.

And especially when I'm doing something in the oven or at higher heat, I definitely gravitate more towards the coconut oil, avocado oil. With olive oil, again, you want to be careful and not cook it at too high of a temperature. So again, I keep that under 400 degrees and really I stick to those natural fats: olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. All the tasty oils and all the tasty fats. Absolutely. So yes, those fats are really important to pay attention to. And exactly like you said, those things that you have in your home, you have the most control over. So the, the types of oils that you cook with, if you, if you do have some of that canola oil in your pantry that has the heart-healthy stamp on it, just the next time you go to the store, maybe make that upgrade, like get a good quality olive oil, get a good quality avocado oil and just make that next upgrade.

Alcohol is an aging beverage


So Monica mentioned those more refined oils. Another thing that tends to age us: how about alcohol? Alcohol is not our body's friend, unfortunately. And when it comes to your skin, it can cause a host of other problems. After a night out, or maybe after being out on the boat for several hours or whatever the case may be where the alcohol is involved, after several drinks, you might notice just more redness in your skin, just more of that puffiness. You might feel like you're retaining a little more fluid or just feel a little more inflamed than usual. And then you might also notice just either more wrinkles or that those wrinkles just might be a little more pronounced. And some of that, yes, there's the dehydration factor in there, but some of it is also, again, more of that inflammation and more of those free radicals that are just floating around in your body afterwards.

And what does alcohol do to you? I mean, on one piece, from a nutrition standpoint, it depletes a lot of our really important nutrients. It dehydrates you, as I mentioned before, and it knocks out many important vitamins. Vitamin A is one of those important vitamins. Vitamin A in our body is really important for our immune system and also really important for new cell growth and for like healing and regeneration. Vitamin A also helps keep our skin more wrinkle free.

So again, we want to be eating foods that are high in vitamin A, or have some of those good sources of vitamin A in there and trying to minimize the things that are going to deplete us of that vitamin A. All right. So one of those things, one of the foods that's highest in vitamin A: it's one, one that is a little challenging for a lot of people, myself included is liver. So those organ meats.

MONICA: Me too.

LEAH: Yep. Those organ meats. Sometimes it's a different texture. It's a different taste, but a lot of people grew up eating liver and onions, for example. My husband is one. He grew up eating liver and onions and he doesn't have any problem, you know, doing that every once in a while. But I know for me, that's just not my cup of tea. I've tried liver in many different forms over the years; never quite found one way that I was able to make a really good habit out of it.

So my preferred choice of getting more of that active vitamin A into my system is doing cod liver oil. And cod liver oil, that's another one where in the past, there's always been more fermented cod liver oils or cod liver oils that just have not tasted really great. But nowadays the, there are companies out there that actually make really good tasting cod liver oils. We carry a really nice brand here. It just has a nice kind of lemon flavor to it that really kind of tones down the more fishy flavor to it.

Even my son who just turned four years old, he will take cod liver oil off the spoon. He calls it his fish medicine. So even a teaspoon or two of cod liver oil every day will get you some of that great vitamin A as well as some of those good omega three fatty acids in there as well.

MONICA: Yeah, I really do like our cod liver oil. That's, I'm team cod liver oil instead of, you know, eating liver and onions, but if that's going to reverse the signs of aging, I might just have to try it.

LEAH: It might be strong enough to hook you.

MONICA: Anything for beauty, right?

LEAH: Yes.

MONICA: So we know sugar, processed carbs and bad fats damage our skin and our body. So what helps eating sufficient animal protein? And we're talking about 12 ounces a day with several cups of vegetables, and then that really good beneficial healthy, natural fat. This is going to restore and repair damage. After eating the Weight and Wellness way, your friends may think you just had Botox, when in reality, you just have been eating the correct way for healing your body.

Lack of sleep ages us faster


LEAH: Yes. There are other lifestyle factors that can age you faster than you would like. We've talked about a lot of the nutrition components so far; lack of sleep. So this isn't necessarily nutrition per se, but it is a really big lifestyle factor that plays a role in how our body metabolizes food, how we feel, kind of how we show up in the world. So lack of sleep ages your whole body. It ages your skin, your blood sugar control, your hormones, your brain health, especially, and your emotions. I know for me personally, if I am short on sleep, which unfortunately with a six-month-old, that tends to be more the case than not, but those these are things that I know I don't have the patience that I normally do as when I'm well rested. And I know for me personally, my digestion really gets much more compromised when I'm lacking on sleep.

So we're going to dive a little bit more into the sleep piece on the other side of our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you are in perimenopause, menopause or post-menopause, and you are having any symptoms that might include hot flashes, mood swings, incontinence, or weight gain, or some of the sleep deprivation that we were just talking about, let me suggest taking the six-hour Menopause Survival Seminar. This is an online virtual class full of valuable information. You may just learn that eating sugar leads to more hot flashes, to some of those mood swings, to incontinence and might be putting on some of those extra pounds. It is possible that when you cut out sugar, that your symptoms will disappear. You can sign up online or call us at (651) 699-3438, and we'll be right back.

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MONICA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many of our clients have tried every diet out there to lose weight without success. They follow the program, but for some reason their metabolism is very slow. And it often takes time to heal a poor functioning metabolism. We understand and will help you eat in a way that supports a good functioning metabolism. Each person's metabolism has a unique reason to be slow and low. We will work with you to figure out how we can get your metabolism working again and achieve weight loss. Call us at (651) 699-3438. And let's get to work.

LEAH: Yes. So true. It's, I think, and you can speak to this as well, Monica, that every client who comes in, you know, the majority of our clients probably do want to lose some amount of weight, but everyone's a little bit of a puzzle or like kind of a mystery, or like we try to be detectives and work with those clients to help them find out, okay, what is their reason why their weight loss is either stalled or slow or whatever the case. And oftentimes, and you can speak to this too, it's usually not just a one and done answer either. Like usually there's multiple factors at play.

MONICA: Right. A lot of times our clients are coming with a history of dieting that, that really damages and slows down your metabolism. So it, it takes time.

LEAH: Yes.

MONICA: That's what I always say. It takes time, but it can definitely be healed.

More on the importance of sleep


LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yes. And so actually, before we went to break, this is one that I love to dive into with my clients. One thing that can easily just grind that metabolism to a halt is sleep issues. So not getting enough sleep in general or lacking in the quality of that sleep. Those are things that really can, again, for the sake of this show, we're talking about aging and how sugar ages us. So that lack of sleep easily can show up on our skin. Most people kind of think of that as again, like the bags under the eyes, or like the kind of the puffiness around the eyes, or like you can see more wrinkles around the eyes just with that lack of sleep. But on a biochemical level under that surface, one of the reasons why that those wrinkles and some of those signs are showing up on the skin is now your blood sugar is much less controlled than it is when you're well rested.

Your hormones might also be a little out of whack and your brain just doesn't function the same way. If anybody has ever gone, maybe, you know, sometimes you can still function with a night of bad sleep, but if it becomes more of a habit or now we've got three nights in a row of poor sleep, now you feel kind of foggy brain, or you have trouble remembering things, or you're, it's hard to focus sometimes and try to remember what that next step in your day is type of thing. So most people, I've had multiple clients actually even recently, who only sleep five, six hours a night. And even in that short amount of time, they might even be getting up once or twice during the night as well. And people who only sleep at five or six hours per night, now they have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal.

It really only takes one night of poor sleep to start to elevate those blood sugars above what they would necessarily be at baseline. These clients also tend to crave sugar, crave more of those processed carbohydrates. And then that combination of just more cravings and giving into some of those cravings and the higher blood sugar levels make clients just gain weight that much easier. And I can attest to that as well. Again, just being the last six months, not having the sleep that I would prefer with a little baby at home, again, I notice definitely it impacts my moods. It impacts how well my brain functions. It impacts my digestion, but I also tend to crave things that I don't normally crave because my body is just trying to get that energy from somewhere else. All right. And then you can also experience just more aches and pains in general, have a lower pain tolerance.

So sleeping seven and a half to nine hours most nights is an anti-aging habit. Often there is a simple solution and we can help. Sometimes it does take a little more work to find out what that one answer is, or the combination of answers for certain sleep disorders. But we are usually successful. There are a lot of reasons for lack of sleep. Some of it is habit or just poor sleep hygiene habits in general. Clients may just may stay up a little too late, have those night owl tendencies. Sometimes it's an after effect of chemotherapy or like a medication. It can occur with menopause or a hormonal imbalance of some kind, or just from a high stress life situation. Again, usually we can help clients get to around that seven to seven and a half hours of sleep nightly at minimum. And they just tend to feel so much better when they do.

MONICA: Sleep is just so important. And I think a lot of people don't realize it. But that's what they always said. Get your beauty sleep.

LEAH: Yeah. Absolutely.

Drinking water works toward anti-aging


MONICA: So here is a simple anti-aging suggestion: drink more water. Simple, free. Drink more filtered water. Figure out a system that will remind you to drink water. A lot of times when my clients are starting out, they're not used to drinking that water throughout the day. I tell them, you know, you can do a couple things. One: set an alarm on your phone. So maybe you're going to set one for every two, three hours to drink 16, 20 ounces of water. Get a fancy water bottle. There's so many out there. There's some that we were saying have the different cheesy sayings to remind you to drink your water, or they have the time. Figure out a system that works for you. It really is really important. Water is essential for the production of collagen and elastin: those two really important proteins that we talked about earlier.

Keeping your body hydrated can improve its ability to counteract the aging effects of glycation. You want to drink at least eight glasses of filtered water a day. If you can go beyond that, great. Many people drink 9, 10, 11, 12, but at the very least, I challenge you to drink eight glasses every day for three weeks, and then look in the mirror and see what changes you notice.

Recap: what anti-aging steps can you take?


LEAH: Yeah, even just starting with the standard eight, eight-ounce glasses or that 64 ounces of water can make a huge difference in just how you feel and also how that skin looks. So, as we're getting to the back end of our show here, we want to more or less kind of do a quick recap on some of the things that we've talked about over the course of the show, you know, kind of list off kind of in that list form of the things that tend to age us and the things that, some of those simple solutions that we can do to help us look and feel our best. So what can you do to have some of that younger looking skin?

Number one: Monica just mentioned it. Increase your water intake to stay hydrated. And that can be just even starting with 64 ounces of water every day. Ideally, even drinking half of your body weight in ounces is another a little bit more personalized way to go about it.

MONICA: Yeah. Number two: cut back on sugar. Eliminate all foods containing high fructose corn syrup. At least start tracking how, what you're eating, how much sugar you're getting. It can be eye-opening because the American Heart Association recommends that women stay under six teaspoons of added sugar a day and men nine teaspoons. And we were talking that's actually, that's a pretty lofty goal. That can be very hard to do.

LEAH: That bar is set high.

MONICA: Yeah. So the best way: just start tracking it and see where you can make some changes.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm absolutely. Number three, keep the refined oils out of your kitchen. And just as a reminder, those refined oils are things like canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, or if you ever see the term vegetable oils in there. These are the things, especially in our own homes, we have the most control over. So keep those refined oils out of your kitchen.

MONICA: Number four: eat several cups of vegetables daily to load up with antioxidants and try to get a lot of many different colors as possible.

LEAH: Number five: eat 12 ounces of animal protein every day. That amounts to around 84 grams of protein if people are kind of looking for that gram amount. A healing habit is to eat three ounces of protein four times a day. So if you can evenly space that out throughout the day, now you're giving your body those building blocks to have better energy, better moods have fewer aches and pains in general.

MONICA: Number six: add in seven tablespoons of natural fat daily. Again, these natural fats are nut butters, olives, avocados, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil: a lot to choose from and eat a variety.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yes, a lot to choose from. And even if just to keep it simple, maybe you pick your favorite two and just keep those right by, you know, kind of on your counter or in the pantry or whatever the case may be. And you just might alternate between your favorite two. That's a great point. Number seven: sleep at least seven and a half hours most nights; might be easy to say and a little more challenging to do, but those sleep hygiene habits are a great place to start.

MONICA: Number eight: add in liver as the vitamin A source or supplement with two teaspoons of cod liver oil.

LEAH: Yes, yes. We got to get that vitamin A in. Absolutely. So as we're wrapping up our show, just again, think about, we often think that genetics may play a big role in some of our chronic diseases or how we age, but actually it really can be attributed a lot to our lifestyle habits. And that really can include a lot of nutrition types of things that we do have control over. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a wonderful day.

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