Monday, November 2, 2015

Sugar Case Studies: Making the connection from break out to sugar

Sugar takes an enormous toll on many people. And it is here in these case studies that I hope to open your eyes and help guide you through the maze of sugar addiction, and then to the freedom of clear and healthy skin. I have written several articles about the effects of sugar on your skin (and body) along with case studies from my client files. Here are two more people and their stories of how sugar is affecting their skin.

Case study: Sue

Sue came in complaining of new breakout (new within the last six weeks), concentrated mostly on her chin and around her nose. She couldn’t think of anything new she had been doing; she had no real changes in her hormones or menstrual cycle, and no unusual stress.

After I got her in the facial chair and looked at the problem at hand, I asked if she had been eating any sugar or more sugary foods than normal. “No. I don’t think so,” she insisted, “except for a new protein shake I’ve been making each morning.” She was putting soy milk, a soy protein powder called *Soy-lycious®, and a banana in her drink. This sounds pretty harmless, doesn’t it? Wrong! Soy milk, some more than others, contains quite a bit of sugar. Plus, anything that tastes ’licious is always suspect to me.
Soy milk is not just soy nuts. It is loaded with sugar!
In order for the manufacturers of these protein powders to make their product palatable, they tend to add quite a bit of sugar. And so was the case with Soy-lycious. In researching this product I found that one serving has 15 grams of sugar, which is close to the “recommended” amount (25g) for an entire day. That is a lot of sugar and too much for a protein drink that you’re drinking on a daily basis. Occasionally you could get away with it, but not every day—not if you are sugar-sensitive.

[*I don’t think this particular protein powder is still on the market. But any soy product, like soy protein powder or soy milk, could possibly have a lot of sugar grams in it. Do your research!]

If you check the labels, you can find a low- to no-sugar protein powder. In my kitchen I currently have a powder that has 8 grams of sugar, which is still high, but just over half the amount of Sue’s protein product. I also have a protein powder that has a sugar content of zero. These lower versions do exist; you just have to read the labels.

I believe the biggest contributing factor to Sue’s skin problems was sugar. Later that day Sue called me after speaking to her gynecologist. Her confirmation was complete: even the doctor, after finding out Sue was drinking soy milk, agreed it contains too much sugar.

Case study: Kim

After spending about 15 minutes on the phone with Kim, who was complaining about having breakout that wouldn’t go away, she finally told me about her huge sugar intake. Every morning she has the equivalent of two cups of coffee with two tablespoons of sugar—not teaspoons (which is bad enough), but tablespoons. That is a lot of sugar! Day in day out, it is bound to eventually cause problems. Do you put sugar in your morning coffee? Do you experience frequent breakouts? Maybe there is a connection here for you too.

Kim said the breakout started about six months ago, yet she had been drinking sugar in her coffee for longer than that—for years. My theory is that about six months ago she crossed the threshold of her body being able to tolerate excess refined sugar. This may not be the sole cause of Kim’s skin problems, but her coffee drink is probably not the sole source of her sugar intake.

This is what I instructed Kim to do—if she was willing. First she needed to understand there is a psychological (as well as physical) addiction to sugar. Kim’s coffee probably won’t taste very good if she goes cold turkey and stops adding sugar to it. So I recommended she be patient with her breakout and to slowly taper off the sugar. I told her that tomorrow she should start to put 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar into her morning coffee. It would only be a 25% reduction and probably wouldn’t affect the taste of the coffee too much. Once she was used to that less-sweet taste, then she should go to one tablespoon. Once she was used to that, cut the amount in half, and then half again. Finally, Kim could try to totally eliminate it from her coffee. In this trial period of sugar reduction, she would probably see a difference in her skin and the breakouts.

What I have found in the past is clients will speed up this elimination process because they see a positive difference in their skin. Knowledge is power, and once you know that sugar is contributing to your problem skin, you can decide to stop eating sugar, or at least you will know why you have breakout.

Note: Kim has read my book and has heard me, through several consultations over the phone, talking about sugar and skin problems for years. She just didn’t make the connection. My guess is she just didn’t want to, so the sugar snuck by her consciousness. That, by the way, is a common occurrence. You love your sugar, and you certainly don’t want me trying to take it away from you! I tell you this so you will look a little deeper at your sugar intake and maybe come up with sugar you were ignoring that is a mainstay in your diet. So be honest. You don’t have to stop eating sugar completely; I just want you to take ultimate responsibility for your clear (or problem) skin!

A sugar alternative for Kim or any of you trying to reduce sugar in your diet (coffee, tea, baking, etc.) is to use stevia, an herbal substitute for sugar. It is available in grocery stores, coffee houses, restaurants, and health food stores in either a powder or liquid form. If you have to have sweet in your coffee (or wherever), give stevia a try.

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