Eating Junk, Processed Food Regularly Can Lead To Early Ageing

Updated on April 22nd, 2021
Junk Food And Early Ageing

Let’s admit it- we love soft drinks, pizzas,  fries, and all the decedent and yummy foods. But we avoid incorporating them into our diet regularly. Why do you ask? These processed foods have always been linked with several health-related problems such as heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, etc.

Hence, experts around the globe recommend cutting down on these fatty items for a healthy lifestyle. New research has further found a link between these junk foods and early aging in humans. The findings were published in AJCN (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

The studies, conducted by a team of experts at the University of Navarra(UOH), Pamplona, Spain, stated that excess consumption of fat and sugar-laden ultra-processed foods (more than two to three servings a day) doubles the chance of shortening of telomeres.

Telomeres are a section of the chromosome used as a marker for detecting one’s biological age [1].

The research was conducted on 886 individuals aged between 57 and 91 years. The group of participants included 241 women and 645 men.

They were segregated into 4 equal groups and were provided 4 different servings of ultra-processed food daily: less than 2 servings/day, 2 to 2.5 servings/day, more than 2.5 to 3 servings/day, and more than 3 servings/day.

It was observed that an increase in junk consumption was associated with a higher risk of having shortened telomeres. Those participants with the highest UPF consumption had almost two times the odds of having short telomeres than those with the lowest consumption.

This study was presented at the European and International Conference on Obesity in the initial week of September 2020.

[Also Read: Foods to Keep Young]

Junk Food And Early Ageing

1. French Fries

French fries can hit the sweet spot — both in the AGE production department and the satisfaction department, as they’re salty and fried.

Foods fried in oil at extremely high temperatures release free radicals that can trigger our skin’s cellular damage. Exposure to free radicals speeds up the aging process due to an action known as cross-linking. Cross-linking can weaken the skin’s elasticity and affects DNA molecules.

What’s more, consuming excessive salt can draw water out from the skin and causes dehydration. That can make our skin more vulnerable to wrinkling.

If you want: 

Swap french fries for fried sweet potato or baked sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are high in anti-aging copper, which helps in collagen production [2].

2. White bread

When refined carbs integrate with protein, it leads to the formation of AGEs. AGEs have a direct effect on the aging process as well as chronic diseases.

Foods with a high GI (glycemic index), like white bread, can cause inflammation in the body, which is directly linked to the aging process [3].

If you want: 

Go for an alternative to traditional bread, such as sprouted grain loaves of bread that contain no added sugar. Sprouted loaves of bread also have antioxidants that are beneficial to our skin.

3. White sugar

Sugar is one of the notorious contenders for unwanted skin issues like acne. As mentioned earlier, sugar leads to the formation of collagen-destroying AGEs.

When your sugar levels are elevated, the AGE process is stimulated. It is sped up even more if sunlight is involved. So, instead of having ice cream on the beach, opt for a popsicle with no sugar added or refreshing frozen fruit.

If you want: 

Reach for dark chocolate or fruit when craving something sweet. Blueberries, mainly, prevent loss of collagen (as proven in animal research) [4].

4. Margarine

Take it easy with that butter knife. Earlier studies have proven that those who don’t consume butter or margarine have fewer wrinkles and skin damage than people who do.

And the science checks out: Margarine is terrible than moderate quantities of real butter because it’s high in partially hydrogenated oils. These trans-fatty acids make the skin more prone to ultraviolet radiation, damaging its elasticity and collagen.

If you want:

 Smear avocados, high in anti-aging antioxidants or swap butter for olive oil, on toast instead.

5. Processed meats

Pepperoni, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon, are all examples of processed meats that can be detrimental to the skin.

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These meats are high in sulfite, saturated fats, and sodium, which can weaken collagen and dehydrate the skin by causing inflammation. For affordable protein options, swap processed meats for beans or eggs.

If you want:

Go for leaner meats like chicken and turkey. These meats are packed with amino acids and proteins that are essential in the natural formation of collagen.

[Read: Collagen-Rich Foods to Fight the Aging Process]

6. Feel out dairy

Got a mixed feeling about dairy? Science does, too.

Some have seen positive skin changes from avoiding dairy. Others have seen no remarkable difference at all.

It all depends on the individual. For few, dairy may increase inflammation in the body, which leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of premature aging.

Diets low in dairy products can protect sun-exposed skin from wrinkling.

If you want: 

Dairy is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential to overall skin health. For other sources of calcium, eat beans, seeds, almonds, figs, and leafy greens.

7. Think twice about coffee and soda

What coffee and soda do to your health have more to do with sleep than skin. First, both are high in caffeine, affecting your sleep if you frequently drink throughout the day.

Poor sleep has been associated with increased signs of aging and more dark eye circles, fine lines, and wrinkles.

If you want: 

If you’re bothered about the sugar content, take a look at how much you’re drinking. See if you can make swaps, like having golden milk instead of coffee or decrease the amount. Turmeric, the major ingredient in golden milk, is rich in antioxidants and one of the most potent anti-aging compounds around.

Bottom Line

Aging of the skin is an inevitable process, and after a particular age, we all face several issues like speckles, wrinkles, sagging, and so on. Various factors can contribute to how our skin ages, right from the diet, lifestyle, hereditary, and sun exposure to personal habits. However, at any age, diet plays a critical role in maintaining glowing, healthy skin.

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