The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar each year—18 percent of our calories. You know the health implications of this, from obesity to type II diabetes, but it can also be as much of a wrinkle-causing culprit as sun exposure and smoking. That’s because a process called glycation causes sugars to attach to proteins in collagen and elastin, which can make skin look older. The aging effects of excess sugar consumption become visible around age 35 and accelerate rapidly after that.
Youth boosters: Limit your sugar intake to 6 1⁄4 teaspoons (or 25 grams) a day. Fiber slows sugar absorption, so opt for whole foods like an orange over its juices (OJ has the same sugar content as soda). When a sugar craving hits, it’s often because you’re thirsty, so try having a glass of water or seltzer instead of something sweet. If that doesn’t help, have a piece of dark chocolate or fresh berries.