Sugar accelerates the aging process

AGEs: The reason why sugar and high-temperature foods make us age faster

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) as parameters for our biological age or anti-aging through proper nutrition

Sugar is not only bad for the teeth, makes you fat and sick, it also accelerates the aging process. This is not even due to the sugar itself, but to the Advanced Glycation End Products or AGEs for short.

The same applies to highly heated food, i.e. fried and deep-fried foods. Many of these AGEs are also included here.

What are AGEs? Why do they harm health and accelerate aging? How do they come about and what do sugar and highly heated food have to do with them?

That and more in this article.

How old am I? Features of aging - more than number of years of life

Even if it is difficult to precisely define the characteristics of aging, we can all distinguish young people from old people.

Perhaps it is due to the hair that has become lighter and gray, the wrinkled and wrinkled skin, the age spots, the cloudy look, the stooped posture or everything together: we recognize an old person when he comes towards us.

The pace at which these aging processes take place is very different from one individual to the next. There are 65-year-olds who are so mentally and physically fit that they can easily get away with being 10 or 15 years younger, but also those who, at 35, are reminiscent of a 50-year-old.

The fact is: Our chronological age, which we can read from the passport, does not always correspond to our biological age.

And even if we cannot completely escape aging, we can still make a decisive contribution to how quickly this process takes place. One of the factors that has a significant influence on the speed of the aging process and that we have in our own hands is our diet, especially our sugar consumption!

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and the relationship to biological age

Aging researchers have long been looking for a parameter that can be used to read our biological age. There are different opinions about which factors allow the best conclusions.

While some consider cell damage caused by oxidation as a measurement parameter for aging, others are of the opinion that our biological age can be read off particularly well from the length of the telomeres, i.e. the length of the end caps of our chromosomes shorten with each cell division, until division is finally no longer possible. And still others want to read our biological age from the amount of cell debris that is deposited in the tissue.

However, there is agreement that certain phenomena go hand in hand with aging or occur more frequently in old age. This includes not only the formation of wrinkles in the skin and the hair becoming light, the decline in mobility, eyesight or mental performance, but also diseases such as heart disease, strokes, kidney damage, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Impotence, dementia or cancer.

Interestingly, these disorders are particularly common Diabetics observed and can be brought together on a common denominator: the AGEs!

AGEs the enemy of our youth

AG It is the abbreviation for Advanced Glycation End Products and describes a combination of sugar and protein molecules. One also speaks of saccharified proteins or glycation (= saccharification). AGEs are useless waste products that are deposited in tissue or on blood vessels, where they accumulate to form lumps known as plaque, thus promoting the development of arteriosclerosis.

At the same time, these sugar-protein compounds make the skin inelastic by hardening the collagen fibers - a major cause of wrinkles.

When the red blood cells "saccharify", they die earlier and our body is no longer supplied with oxygen as well. As a result, we then feel more easily tired, exhausted and run out of breath more quickly.

This is what AGEs do in our body:

  • AGEs harden the collagen fibers, making the skin inelastic and thus provoking the formation of wrinkles
  • AGEs worsen the oxygen supply and promote fatigue and lack of energy
  • they make the blood vessels inflexible and thereby lead to high blood pressure
  • they cover the eyes like a veil and thus lead to cataracts
  • AGEs disrupt the neural connections in the brain and are therefore considered to be
  • One of the causes of dementia
  • they lead to kidney damage
  • to stiffen and break down joint cartilage
  • and are also deposited in the area of ​​the penile tissue, which is important for erection and thus cause erectile dysfunction (= impotence)

AGEs accumulate in our body in the course of life and lead to damage and the phenomena typical for old age, so they form an obvious explanation for many age-related phenomena.

Sugar as an AGE supplier

But what does sugar have to do with the AGEs? Quite simply: AGEs always arise when we eat something that raises blood sugar levels. Because then the sugar in the blood (the glucose) can combine with protein molecules and thus form saccharified proteins. Experts also speak of Amadori proteins or Schiff's bases.

The higher the blood sugar level, the more AGEs are formed and the faster our aging process takes place.

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And what causes the highest blood sugar spikes? Sweets, cakes, drinks, but also pasta, especially made from white flour, especially wheat products, sweetened with sugar.

The more sugar and pasta we eat, the more AGEs are formed and drive the aging process in our body. So if you want to stay young, crisp and healthy for longer, you should significantly reduce your sugar consumption and consumption of pasta.

Diet as the key to youthfulness and longevity

But not only sugar and pasta affect the blood sugar level, but all foods that contain carbohydrates, including fruit, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, etc.

A good overview of which foods influence blood sugar in which way is provided by tables that assign the individual foods to their glycemic index or, better still, to their glycemic load, such as: B. in this table >>

In addition, animal products naturally contain AGEs, the content of which can increase up to a thousandfold through intense heating such as grilling, roasting or very hot cooking.

Roasted and deep-fried vegetables should also be avoided for the sake of youthfulness, since high temperatures, such as those that are usual for frying or deep-frying, generally lead to the formation of AGEs. The same applies to cured foods.

Attention: Fructose (table sugar consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose and also occurs naturally in fruits (and fruit juices)) and is even more questionable than glucose in terms of exposure to AGEs. Fructose promotes glycation 7-20 times more than glucose!

Galactose (contained in lactose, i.e. milk sugar) increases the formation of AGEs by four to five times compared to glucose!

In plain English this means: if you want to slow down the aging process, you should

  • Avoid sugar and pasta, especially those made from wheat, as far as possible
  • Do not heat animal products to high temperatures
  • avoid fried foods
  • Eat something fried as rarely as possible
  • Prefer carbohydrates with a low glycemic load
  • do not eat isolated fructose (e.g. high corn syrup, frutcose syrup or agave syrup, which consists of between 70 - 90% fructose), avoid consumption of hybrid varieties and pure fruit juices; Fruit made from natural seeds, harvested sun-ripened, is okay in moderation
  • Use dairy products sparingly

Well, if that doesn't give you another boost in motivation to leave your sugar addiction behind.

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More detailed information on AGEs:

This article originally appeared on August 20, 2015 and was last fully edited on July 26, 2020.