unhealthy foods

What foods you should avoid when grocery shopping that can negatively impact your beauty

In this week’s blog we are going to take a look at the foods you should avoid when grocery shopping that can negatively impact your beauty. Unfortunately, the complete list would be too long for a single blog article but we will highlight some of those less obvious foods that we should avoid other than sugar and alcohol which we have already discussed in a previous blogs.

Unfortunately, it will often be an uphill battle the moment you walk into the store to avoid foods than may not be the best for you, particularly if you don’t adhere to a well thought out grocery list. Does this scenario sound familiar? You enter the store and right away you are greeted by flowers and the produce section. Lovely aromas and a multitude of colors. Probably somewhere just past these sections, maybe in the back corner, is the bakery and boy does that refined white flour ever smell good while baking. Now all your senses are in overload. Everything looks and smells so good you start shopping with your stomach. Milk and dairy are probably at the back of the store, followed by the butcher and the fish and seafood area. So you have to walk through a good portion of the store just to get to these areas. While doing so you walk by the end of the aisles with all their wonderful promotions and figure you should go down each aisle as well – the most in-demand products will be located in the middle of the aisle of course and brands will pay top dollar to have their product displayed at eye level. Except for cereals with bright colors and lots of sugar that will appeal to children. They will be displayed at children’s eye level. Before you know it, you have been down every aisle at a comfortable pace, never once feeling hurried, giving you ample time to buy products that were not on your list. Luckily the store generously provides you with a massive shopping cart that is easy to fill, and you now find yourself waiting for the first time during your visit at the cashier. And what do they have there for you to browse? A massive selection of sweets. The whole experience can undermine healthy food purchasing decisions.  Now fortunately the tide is beginning to turn and all these “nudges” are being redirected in a positive way to encourage you to eat in a more healthy manner. But in the meantime, stick to the outer periphery of the store as most of the products stocked in the aisles will not be strong contributors to a healthy diet, bring a list, don’t shop hungry and remember if it is in a package, it probably won’t benefit your health, hair or skin.

So that was a bit of a digression, but a worthy one since we were on the topic of grocery shopping. Now to those specific food items you should avoid while grocery shopping that could negatively impact your beauty (besides sugar and alcohol).

We can begin with foods that have a high glycemic index (GI), a numerical scale which ranks foods containing carbohydrates on their ability to raise your blood sugar levels. Health issues such as type 2 diabetes can develop if you eat to many of these foods over a period of time, but they are also known to promote acne. There are several factors that contribute to the glycemic index value of a food including the cooking method, the amount of fibre, protein, fat and acid contained in the food, and lastly the extent of refinement of the carbohydrate in the food. Foods such as white bread, bagels, white rice, cereals, crackers, rice cakes and instant oats are common examples of high GI foods you may wish to avoid for the benefit of your skin.  Furthermore, high GI foods can also lead to the attachment of sugar molecules to collagen in the skin, causing it to harden and break rather than bend, leading to wrinkles and fine lines.

Dairy milk and milk products may be other foods you might want to be careful with. Cow's milk can increase insulin levels and some brands may even contain growth hormones. Elevated insulin can lead to an increase in sebum production and ultimately acne.

Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni or salami have a high sodium nitrate content as it is used as a preservative. But it can also lead to an increase in skin aging because sodium nitrates slowly damage and break down the elastin and collagen in your skin. And when the collagen and elastin in your skin break down, your skin cells are not bound as tightly and you will observe more sagging, wrinkling and fine lines. Processed meats also typically contain high levels of salt that can also add a dehydrating effect to your skin by knocking our body’s delicate sodium/water ratio out of balance.

Soy and soy-based products are another food you might consider avoiding for your skin’s sake, though that may be easier said than done. Processed soy is easily modified genetically and cheap to make and is thus an often used filler material in both foods and cosmetics. If you read ingredient lists on products, you will find that soy, soybean oil, and soy proteins are contained in all types of products ranging from makeup to protein bars, salad dressings, and many packaged foods. Soy and soy-based products contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds quite similar to estrogen but derived from plants. Phytoestrogens can disrupt the endocrine system, mimicking our natural estrogen and in excess can lead to hormonal acne.

And finally, a word about oils and fats. You have probably heard of saturated and unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are a type of unsaturated fats that are liquid at most temperatures and deficient in hydrogen atoms. It is these missing hydrogen atoms that are at the source of the problem and result in PUFAs being quite unstable and able to oxidize quickly when exposed to oxygen, light, and heat. Most PUFAs come in liquid form and sit in bottles on grocery store shelves where they can oxidize easily and by the time we consume them, they enter the body rancid and cause inflammation and cell aging. The free radicals (remember those!) produced during oxidation react with DNA and protein in cells, altering their structure and function, leading to skin aging or other general health issues. Oils that are categorized as PUFAs include canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, margarine, sesame oil, and our old friend soybean oil. Palm oil is another, which gets a special shout out considering it has been a major contributor to the deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests.

Takeaway message

In this week’s edition of the blog, we discussed what foods you should avoid when grocery shopping that can negatively impact your beauty. We initially got slightly side-tracked by reminding ourselves what a minefield a trip to the grocery store can be when it comes to abiding with purchasing nutritional foods. Eventually, we singled out some of the biggest offenders such as high glycemic index foods, processed meats, dairy products, soy and soy-based products and finally a list of polyunsaturated fats that can wreak havoc with your skin (and general health!).

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